First of all, the term « wool » is commonly used to refer to the fibres produced by the different breeds of sheep. It is also used to talk about natural fibres produced by other animal species, but a qualifier is then added to distinguish them:
- Alpaca wool, Alpaca fleece
- mohair wool, fleece of the angora goat
- cashmere wool, cashmere goat fleece
- angora wool, angora rabbit fleece.
In the table below, you will find an approximate classification of the world’s finest fibres.
They are measured in microns; 1 micron = 1/1000 millimeters.
Cash and cash equivalents
Average fibre diameter, in microns :
10 to 12 microns
12 to 22 microns
Cashmere goat cheese
15 to 19 microns
16 to 30 microns
18 to 24 microns
18 to 26 microns
Angora goat cheese
20 to 30 microns (the angora goat produces the mohair fibre)
20 to 40 microns
Alpaca or Cashmere
Let’s start with a little history. Alpaca and the « Kashmir goat » are both domesticated animals, but they do not come from the same place. As for Alpaca, it is a small camelid living mainly in the Andes mountain range of South America. The « Kashmir goat » or at least 90% of its world production comes from Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region located in China, and Mongolia (country).
It should be noted that Alpaca is an eco-responsible animal. It is much more « greener » than cashmere goats. Unlike them, Alpacas do not pull out the root but cut the grass by grazing, thus allowing it to grow back. Unlike goats and sheep, Alpaca does not have pointed hooves but has two claws, which is not damaging its pasture.
It is also important to know that the waste produced by Alpacas can be used as fertilizer without chemical treatment. Alpacas are not very greedy, they can survive for days without water or food, and a little food is enough to make them happy, unlike goats.
The main environmental concern with goats, for example, is the desertification of the land. Indeed, there are more and more goats in wake of Kashmir’s demand but these animals have the particularity of grazing the grass by pulling out the roots, which prevents the land from regenerating itself. In addition, farmers have seen their wages fall sharply because of the increase in wool volumes, and are thus impoverished.
The colours of Alpacas range from black to white, brown, and beige. No need to dye the fibres if you are satisfied with these colours! Alpaca also produces more wool than goats and its of superior quality. Baby Alpaca fibre is renowned for its finesse and softness. Its fibres are less likely to pilling and your Alpaca wool clothes last longer!
Secondly, cashmere is more expensive because it takes many more goats to obtain the same amount of raw material. Indeed, a cashmere goat produces more or less 150 grams of fibre per year while an Alpaca produces 2.5 kg.
The different types of wool
If we compare the diameter, Alpaca fibre is slightly higher than cashmere goat fibre. However, its length represents a significant difference. It makes it possible to make clothes that are more resistant and durable than those made with cashmere goat fibre.
Due to its delicacy, clothing made with Kashmir goatskin fibre wears out quickly. It is, therefore, more prone to pilling due to its structure and tends to stretch easily and is not necessarily resistant, at least not as resistant as Alpaca fibre.
Both fibres (Alpaca+cashmere) are water-resistant compared to other natural fibres.
Alpaca fibre has a natural sheen that surpasses the dull appearance of cashmere fibre. Its qualities allow a greater variety of clothing. Since the price of cashmere fibre is higher, the clothes made from this fibre are always thinner.
Alpaca fibre is easier to maintain and remains clean for longer. Cashmere fibre retains odours and therefore requires frequent dry cleaning. Moths love the fibre of Kashmir goats. An unclean sweater quickly attracts them.
On the other hand, because alpaca fibre does not retain moisture, the thermal insulation characteristics of it are unbeatable. Obviously, a dry garment increases comfort for the wearer. With a moisture absorption rate of 15%, cashmere goat fibre cannot compete with this result.
This is why Alpaca fibre is internationally recognised as one of the finest and most luxurious fibres in the world! Discover our wide range of Alpaca products without delay and indulge yourself, to live an authentic experience guaranteed!