Luxury Wool And Cashmere
November 17th, 2011
The Merino is the most economically influential breed of sheep in the world, prized for its wool. Superfine Merinos are regarded as having the finest and softest wool of any sheep.
Merino sheep produce a clean, white fleece ideal for dying to clear, fresh colours, while the long, fine fibres can be spun to the finest count, woven into the finest fabric and tailored into the finest suits.
The wool has characteristic crimp and elasticity, creating unparalleled style, drape, comfort and performance for the wearer. The handle and lustre is of exceptional softness and kindness to the touch, unlike any other fibre.
For hundreds of years, Merino flocks were the exclusive property of the Spanish Crown and wealthy nobles. King Alfonso of Spain forbade the export of Merino from the 14th Century for over 400 years because of the wool’s value to the Spanish economy. In the 18th Century, the King of Spain gave the finest of these coveted flocks to the powerful rulers in Saxony, France and Great Britain. This gift of Kings was eventually shipped to the farthest reaches of the world, including South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia, where the treasured Merino sheep flourished.
The refined, unique Merino fleece is shorn once a year and is analyzed for micron, colour and brightness, comfort, fibre length and strength amongst other measures of quality. The fineness of Merino wool is measured by its micron value: the lower the number, the finer and better the quality.
The Cashmere goat is to be found principally on the cold and dry highlands of Central Asia at 3,000 to 5,000metres above sea level. From here the wool travels across India and past the Himalayan Mountains, to China, where it is distributed to mills throughout the western world.
Cashmere was first discovered by the nobility of Victorian England and subsequently became one of the most prestigious fibres of the noble fibre family. The low bulk, high loft fibres combine to make the warmest, most comfortable garments money can buy. In softness, warmth and fineness of fibre cashmere is comparable to Vicuna. Cashmere is appropriate for all climates as the high moisture absorbency rate allows the fibres to maintain their insulation properties in varying conditions of relative humidity. The finest fibres are gathered from the saddle of the Cashmere goat and are harvested by carefully combing the goat’s fleece during the spring months. Cashmere cloths are luxurious with a soft and seductive handle, beautiful drape and timeless appeal.
Source : Holland and Sherry