Alpaca

vs

Cashmere

Alpaca chewing grass

Alpaca wool is one of the best wool varieties in the world!

It is called the “fleece of the gods” and is one of the highest quality natural products! 

Cashmere wool consists of very soft and fine fibers obtained from the cashmere goat.

Cashmere products are top-rated, especially sweaters, caps, or scarves. 

Cashmere vs Alpaca

There are no better examples of superior wool materials than the alpaca and cashmere, they’re both in a league of their own. The comfort they offer is second to none. However, there is always the question of which material has the edge. Is it the soft, velvety smooth cashmere sweater or the alpaca sweater – also known as the fleece of the gods? Which of them will reign supreme in your personal wardrobe?

Here are some facts about the two materials that might help you when making that decision:

Cashmere

Unlike cashmere, alpaca is sometimes considered an outsider.

Cashmere has a reputation that is unmatched, with an air of elegance that shines through.

It is quite scarce and difficult to find, which makes it quite expensive and valuable. As can be inferred from the name, the wool is originally from the Kashmir region. Mongolia, Iran, and China are the major producers of this wool.

Cuddly Soft Cashmere Fleece
Cuddly Soft Cashmere Fleece

How to obtain the wool

There is a science to the act of wool extraction, wherein the cashmere goat undercoat is combed out every year at springtime rather than engaging in mechanical shearing. A cashmere goat only produces a mere 150 grams of fine hair, which means very little of this valuable hair is obtainable from the goat.

It is then hand-sorted according to color to prevent the processing of B-goods as valuable sweaters. A machine is used to remove the hair after it has been washed, thereby removing the top hair. After this is done, the fibers are then spun into those fine threads and processed.

Cuddly soft feel-good wool

Apart from being amazingly soft, cashmere wool is also unbelievably cuddly. It is skin-friendly, with a luxurious feel that is unmatched. These fibers have some of the finest properties and you can be sure that they won’t leave your skin feeling itchy. The fibers could have as many as 19 microns when processed further.

This explains the lightness and elasticity of the cashmere wool. You don’t have to worry about damages to the sweater when you’re on a journey as cashmere is quite robust so you can be sure that it is not going to crease when you fold it.

The wool also has a self-cleaning feature that ensures that you look nothing short of your best in a cashmere sweater. With cashmere, you don’t have to worry about bad odors as it can be aired to dry after use.

Cashmere offers a high wearing comfort that makes it also popular during the summer. It also has the perfect amount of heat balance that prevents you from breaking out in sweats during the hot season.

Concerns

Its continuous popularity over the years has resulted in several animal welfare and environmental concerns due to the desertification and overgrazing of the major producers in Central Asia, Mongolia, and China in the face of growing demand.

Apart from the threat to animals, the constant plagiarism of this precious fiber is becoming a cause for concern. Confirming its authenticity requires a long and costly procedure, which can only be done in a laboratory. The implication of this is that an increasing number of manufacturers are now tilting towards other fine threads in place of cashmere.

Pure Cashmere

As mentioned , the best way to recognize real cashmere would be – putting it under a microscope!  There is a  market that is becoming saturated with far too many fakes.

Another way to recognize inferior wools or garments made from blended synthetic fibers is through their inexpensive price. The limited wool used for the production is reflected in the price. Furthermore, pure cashmere is more of matt, unlike the fake ones which are shinny.

 * Disclosure: Links marked with Asterix or some picture links on world’s-finest-wool are affiliate links. 

All our work is reader-supported – when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The decision is yours – whether you decide to buy something is entirely up to you.

Alpaca

When a material has nicknames like “Fleece of the gods” or “Gold of the Andes”, (the first being an Incas name since only royalty were allowed to use the wafer-thin fibers), it is an indication that such material is special.

Alpaca wool is majorly found in South and Central America, especially around Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.

soft colorful alpaca sweaters

Alpaca Sweater vs Cashmere Sweater

Alpaca wool has a very soft texture which accounts for its incredible wearing comfort.

The alpaca wool comes in distinct grades according to the thickness of each fiber. Baby Royal is the wool with the highest level of quality with not up to 20 microns. It is also quite cuddly and soft.

Alpaca fits perfectly for every outdoor activity

A yarn like no other

If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of an itchy or scratchy material, then you know just how uncomfortable that can get. However, you don’t need to worry about that with alpaca wool. It has a low fiber strength that will protect you from that particular uncomfortable feeling.

You can only shear animals from camels once a year. This simple fact has made this material very expensive as can be seen from the price of one kilogram. The fact that it comes in 22 different shades means you don’t have to bother with dying it. Ranging from natural tones like white, brown and dark grey tones.

It has a unique fiber structure that provides it with unique thermal properties that are unmatched in the industry. These fibers have a hollow inner lining that helps to store and evenly release heat in the winter while regulating heat during the summer.

 Alpaca wool also reduces the effects of odor by neutralizing sweat. The wool also contains some protein molecules that decompose bacteria. Apart from its antibacterial effects, the alpaca wool sweater is hardly affected by moisture. It absorbs moisture into its hollow fibers and releases it immediately.

Lastly, there are very few wools with the resistant property of the alpaca wool. This material is extremely durable compared to sheep’s wool and will maintain its shape even in the harshest of conditions. So apart from providing you with a good looking pullover, this fiber also has some amazing inner values.

How to identify an original

There are so many faux alpaca wool sweaters out there masquerading as the real alpaca wool that makes it almost impossible to differentiate the fake from the original. A lot of labels are not averse to defrauding unsuspecting consumers, especially when they’re offering what appears to be unbeatable prices. You can always test the label’s 100% alpaca reference if you have any doubt as to the quality of the material.

For example, alpaca wool is not prone to electrostatic charges. So you can use a balloon to test if its fine threads will stick or not. A simpler method of accomplishing this is by running the sweater across your bare arm. Your hair will stand if the material is not 100% alpaca wool.

This wool is naturally silky and soft on the skin, which can be quite misleading. So, the label and price are still your best indicators: the figures are likely going to be three times higher if you want good quality sweaters.

How to choose between Alpaca sweater vs Cashmere sweater

Both alpaca and cashmere are at the top of the pyramid when it comes to luxury twines. They both offer unmatched comfort which is something they don’t compromise on. They’re both made from incredibly soft, cuddly and fine fabrics that are unmatched amongst their peers.

When it comes to varieties of wool, cashmere is a classic. It is known for its elegance and luxury, which is why it is considered the more versatile of the two materials.

There are few pieces of wool as popular as this, from their oversize sweaters to their classic twinsets, they can be found in different colours, from neon green to pure white.

However, alpaca wool makes a great alternative to cashmere, some might even consider it a better choice for a number of reasons. One is that it is not as matted as cashmere, and pilling is not really an issue with Alpaca. Last but not least the ethical issues as discussed above.

 

As a responsible purchaser for value, you must also put factors like environmental and animal protection into consideration. Alpaca wool clearly has an edge in this instant as the incidence of fraudulent labeling is higher in cashmere wool.

With the high rate of over-breeding, it becomes almost impossible to ignore the abysmal living conditions of cashmere goats and how their grazing areas are sometimes destroyed to accommodate the increasing number of herds.

Alpaca sweater vs Cashmere sweater: The purchase decision

Cashmere or alpaca, alpaca sweater vs cashmere sweater – both types of wool are among the most exquisite and valuable yarns in the world. Whether made of alpaca wool or cashmere, it does not detract from wearing comfort. The fibers of both types of wool are incredibly fine and soft. Soft and cuddly moments are guaranteed.

Cashmere is the classic among wool types. It is synonymous with luxury and elegance. For this reason, cashmere may be more versatile than alpaca wool.

From the classic twinset to the oversize pullover, cashmere is a popular choice and is available in various colors from pure white to neon green.

Otherwise, however, alpaca wool is an excellent alternative. Perhaps it is even the better choice. On the one hand, because it is less matted than cashmere and the so-called pilling is less a problem, on the other hand, also because of the ethical aspect, which has already been mentioned.

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Thank you for reading – what do you prefer Alpaca or Cashmere. 

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