If you’re a fan of soft, luxurious fibers, chances are you’ve heard of both Angora wool and cashmere. These two natural fibers are known for their exceptional warmth, softness, and lightweight properties, making them highly sought after in the world of fashion and textiles.

However, while they may seem similar at first glance, Angora Wool and Cashmere have distinct characteristics that set them apart.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of these two luxurious fibers and provide an in-depth comparison of their origins, production, properties, and uses, ultimately helping you decide which fiber reigns supreme.


1) Origins

Angora Wool:

Angora wool is harvested from the Angora rabbit, a breed native to Ankara, Turkey. Angora rabbits have been bred for their soft, silky wool for centuries, and their popularity has spread worldwide.

There are several Angora rabbit breeds, including the English, French, Giant, and Satin, each of which has its own unique characteristics.

Angora-rabbit close up

Cashmere:

Cashmere, on the other hand, comes from the soft undercoat of the Cashmere goat. These goats are native to the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, and Mongolia.

The name “cashmere” is derived from the Kashmir region in India, where the fiber was first woven into shawls and other textiles.

Herd of Cashmere goats in Changthang
Herd of Cashmere goats in Changthang

2) Production Process

Angora Wool:

Angora rabbits are sheared or plucked every three to four months for their wool. Plucking is the process of gently removing the loose wool by hand, while shearing involves trimming the rabbit’s coat with scissors or electric clippers.

Plucking is considered more humane and less stressful for the rabbits, as it does not harm their skin or cause discomfort.

Cashmere:

Cashmere goats grow their soft undercoat during the cold winter months and naturally shed it in the spring. The fibers are collected through combing or shearing the goats during the molting season.

This process ensures that only the finest undercoat fibers are collected, leaving the coarser outer guard hairs behind.


3) Fiber Characteristics

Angora Wool:

Angora fibers are characterized by their extraordinary softness, which is attributed to the low micron count (the diameter of the individual fibers). Angora fibers typically measure between 10 and 16 microns, making them even finer than cashmere.

The fibers are also hollow, which provides excellent insulation properties, making Angora wool garments incredibly warm.

fluffy-white-Angora-Wool
Fluffy White Angora Wool

Cashmere:

Cashmere fibers are known for their softness and warmth as well, but they are slightly heavier and denser than Angora fibers, measuring between 14 and 19 microns.

The crimp in cashmere fibers gives the material its characteristic loft and elasticity, contributing to its luxurious feel.

Raw Cashmere Wool in Basket
Raw Cashmere Wool in Basket

4) Environmental Impact

Angora Wool:

The production of Angora wool has faced criticism in recent years due to animal welfare concerns. However, responsible breeders and manufacturers adhere to strict guidelines to ensure the rabbits’ wellbeing.

Additionally, since Angora rabbits are small, they have a lower environmental impact than larger livestock.

Cashmere:

Cashmere production has been linked to overgrazing and desertification in some regions, as an increasing number of goats are raised to meet the demand for cashmere.

However, sustainable cashmere production initiatives are emerging, focusing on ethical and environmentally friendly practices.

cheap cashmere buy
Cashmere Goats in Mongolia

5) Uses and Applications

Angora Wool:

Angora wool is typically used in lightweight, warm garments such as sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves. The fiber’s exceptional softness and insulation properties make it ideal for baby clothing and blankets as well.

Cashmere:

range of garments and accessories, including sweaters, shawls, scarves, gloves, hats, and socks. It is also a popular choice for luxury bedding, such as blankets and throws.

Due to its natural elasticity and softness, cashmere is often blended with other fibers like silk, cotton, or wool to create a more versatile and durable fabric.


6) Price

Angora Wool:

Angora wool is generally more affordable than cashmere, but it is still considered a luxury fiber due to its softness and warmth.

The price can vary depending on the quality of the fiber, the breed of the rabbit, and the production method.

Cashmere:

Cashmere is considered one of the most luxurious and expensive natural fibers in the world. The price is attributed to the scarcity of the fiber, the labor-intensive production process, and the high demand for its softness and warmth.

High-quality cashmere garments can fetch a premium price, but there are more affordable options available when blended with other fibers.


7) Care and Maintenance

Angora Wool:

Angora wool garments require special care to maintain their softness and appearance. Hand washing in cold water with a gentle detergent is recommended, followed by laying flat to dry.

Frequent brushing can help prevent matting and pilling, and using a fabric conditioner can enhance the fiber’s softness.

Cashmere:

Cashmere garments also require gentle care to preserve their softness and shape. Hand washing or using the delicate cycle on a washing machine with cold water and a gentle detergent is recommended.

Like Angora wool, cashmere should be laid flat to dry, and it can be gently steamed to remove wrinkles.


Summary

When it comes to Angora wool and cashmere, it is difficult to declare a clear winner, as both fibers possess exceptional warmth, softness, and luxury.

Angora wool offers a lighter, fluffier texture, while cashmere provides a denser, more elastic feel. Ultimately, the choice between Angora and cashmere will depend on personal preferences, budget, and the intended use of the garment or accessory.

By understanding the differences between these two fibers and their respective origins, production processes, and characteristics, you can make a more informed decision when investing in luxury textiles.

Regardless of which fiber you choose, both Angora wool and cashmere are sure to bring an unparalleled level of comfort and warmth to your wardrobe or home.

Related Topics:

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The Heavenly Comfort of Angora Wool: The Benefits for Your Little Ones

Hypoallergenic Angora Wool Baby Clothing

Cruelty-Free Angora Wool Alternatives you need to know!

Top Angora Wool Yarn Brands for You as a Knitting Enthusiast

Angora Rabbit Wool: A Sustainable and Ethical Journey


Marco Heitner

Marco is the author and creator of the World’s-Finest-Wool.com and holds the "Wool Fibre Science" certification. He founded this website because of his love for nature, tradition and exquisite all-natural fibers like merino wool, cashmere, and alpaca. The way local communities interact with their environment and produce valuable, irreplaceable natural resources such as wool is inspiring.

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