Why are our cashmere wraps and scarves so special?

cashmere scarf or wrap? 

Following the success of our silk pillowcases I started looking for a new luxury product to add to the range. After much research, we partnered with the best raw material providers and multi-generational, family-owned manufacturers Johnstons Of Elgin  to bring you a range of the finest cashmere wraps and scarves.

Used as an everyday accessory or saved only for special occasions, a cashmere wrap or scarf can be worn during all seasons. During summer they are ideal for chilly evenings spent outdoors - whether you’re having a casual family barbecue or attending a ballet performance. A cashmere travel wrap is a must when flying, to ward off those sudden drops in cabin temperature. As well as that colder weather once your plane lands back here in the UK. Your wrap can be worn as an extra layer any time you require it, whether that is for reasons of style or warmth.

Whatever your age or style, a cashmere wrap or scarf makes the perfect accessory. It is classic, timeless and ideal for giving as a special gift. You can wear our wraps and scarves when travelling - such as when on safari, cruise or sailing trip as well as when flying. They are often worn for weddings, graduations or christenings, or when attending ladies’ day events.

Take your cashmere wrap out when you go for lunch or dinner, or grab it when you’re feeling cold during a barbecue or even on the school run. A cashmere wrap or scarf also provides instant warmth for pregnant women, nursing mothers, elderly family members or wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

How cashmere is produced?

Cashmere is an entirely natural fabric that comes from goats. These goats live in countries with extremely cold winters, where the temperature often drops to below -30°C. For protection against this sub-zero chill, the goats grow a soft downy coat on their undersides. This is then used to make cashmere yarn. The yarn is then used to make items like a cashmere wrap or cashmere scarf.

The lower the winter temperatures, the better the cashmere harvest, as the goats’ extra insulating layer grows longer. These goats are kept on the grassy plains of Afghanistan, Mongolia and China, and cashmere is the nomadic herders’ main source of income.

When spring arrives, this undercoat naturally begins to shed from the goat, ‘floating’ away from the rest of the coat, as they no longer require this extra layer of insulation. At this point the raw cashmere fibre is collected by combing it out. The results of this combing will include a lot of rougher ‘guard’ hairs, which must be painstakingly removed from the softer strands of cashmere.

As with our silk, Calidad Home have also been very choosy when deciding which cashmere items to stock. Our cashmere wraps and scarves are made from 15 varieties of cashmere, each hand-picked for its unique properties. It comes from only the most experienced suppliers, known for their high quality materials.

image of Mongolian cashmere goats
how quality cashmere is made

The difference in cashmere quality

Cheaper cashmere tends to be mass produced in Chinese or Mongolian factories. A Calidad Home cashmere travel wrap or deluxe cashmere scarf is not made using such materials. Rather, the producers of the cashmere yarns used are trusted suppliers who tend not to work with the mass market. They are craftspeople who prioritise quality over quantity.

Inferior, low cost cashmere may be more coarsely textured than the finer, higher quality yarns. It may also contain dark, thick or short fibres that do not meet our exacting standards. Alternatively, a lightly coloured yarn may be made from darker fibres that have been bleached. This saves money, but causes damage to the delicate strands of cashmere.

If you’re buying cashmere from a shop, then these subtle differences may be undetectable. Softeners may have been added to the fibres, which results in a texture that feels super soft to the touch. Later on, however, the difference will become clear. A cheaper, inferior cashmere shawl wrap or scarf will not last as long, or wear as well, as one crafted from superior yarn.

Cashmere of a lower quality that has been softener treated will lost that soft feeling very quickly. It will also start to pill more easily because it is not as densely woven as the finest cashmere. The latter will soften even more as it ages, making each garment even more beautiful as the years pass by.

Lower quality cashmere has shorter fibres that may be as fine. Our cashmere wraps and scarves are only made using the longer fibres. Just as with our premium quality silk. Long strand cashmere is more expensive, but it produces a far superior garment that will look better and last for much longer.

The finest Scottish cashmere

The key to producing the finest cashmere is about handling this naturally soft fabric with extreme care. Caution must be taken to avoid damaging the delicate fibres, so the use of harsh chemicals is avoided. Our cashmere items are made in Scotland, where the subtle alkalinity and natural softness of the water is perfect for cashmere manufacture. These are the same properties that make Scottish water ideal for whisky production. A gentle rinsing in this Highland water makes the cashmere incredibly soft.

This soft, slightly alkaline water means that cashmere production in Scotland is gentler to the fabric. Combined with the use of as few chemical as possible, this results in the finest cashmere that is made to last. Unlike with cheaper cashmere, this means your lightweight cashmere wrap or scarf will actually improve in appearance over time. It becomes even softer with wear. This is because the fibres have not suffered the type of damage caused by bleaching or the use of chemicals.

The best water for making cashmere
How our cashmere scarves & wraps are made

Cashmere Production

While fast production processes are highly efficient, their use results in weaker cashmere that has suffered more damage. This inferior cashmere will have a shorter lifespan, and will display signs of wear far sooner. As only the finest raw cashmere is used for our cashmere scarves and wraps, we ensure it is handled very gently indeed.

Old-fashioned carding machines comb the fibres carefully to ensure all the strands are aligned. The manufacturing process combines modern technology with antique equipment. At all stages, only essential procedures are carried out. This applies during dyeing, spinning, carding, weaving and finishing.

The Scottish team who produce our cashmere goods have over 150 years of experience in handling the finest cashmere. All parts of production are under their complete control, and over 100 of the staff involved have experience spanning 20 years or more. This expert team know every stage in minute detail, and pride themselves on achieving the perfect finish on every single garment.

A highly skilled team

Much of the work is in fact carried out by hand. Over a dozen pairs of hands will work on every garment, and every one of these people is dedicated to crafting only the most beautiful items of the finest quality. The care taken by these skilled craftspeople shows in the smallest details, from the soft finish of a brushed cashmere scarf to the evenly twisted fringe of a wrap.

While these skills are passed down from one generation to the next, training is still heavily invested in. This is to ensure that every subsequent generation is even more accomplished than the one before. Apprenticeships and continuous professional development are the means to achieving this, so that every craftsperson is as proficient - and valued - as they can possibly be.

A craftsman making cashmere
the finest Scottish cashmere

As with the 22 momme mulberry silk used in our range, we were very keen to source only the finest cashmere in the world. Research showed that the best cashmere was produced right here in the British Isles - in Elgin, Moray. This part of Northern Scotland is home to a long established cashmere production facility dating back to the mid nineteenth century. You can find out more about this long-established producer below.

Our cashmere scarves and wraps are carefully crafted from only the finest Scottish cashmere. They exude subtle style as well as warmth. The fabric is designed for longevity, and will actually become softer as it ages. The reasons for this are also detailed further down this page.

Why Calidad cashmere is the best

Quite simply, we have taken great care to source only the finest cashmere in the world. Just as we do with our silk. It is ultra soft yet surprisingly durable, and every item is a work of art. Our cashmere wraps and scarves are truly special, yet they are incredibly practical too. The very best cashmere is ultra lightweight yet extremely warm to wear. This makes for highly versatile items that are comfortable and stylish enough to be worn for any occasion. They will also last for many years. Our Scottish cashmere is the genuine article: the finest cashmere you’ll find anywhere on the planet.

Cashmere care

Cashmere is an extremely luxurious material, carefully crafted from the most delicate, long strand yarn. As it is worn, it will actually become softer over time. To keep your Calidad Home cashmere wrap or scarf looking its best, you can choose between hand washing and professional dry cleaning. If you’re hand washing your garment at home, then stick to water that is heated to no higher than 30°C. Squeeze very gently to release excess water, and never wring out or rub the garment. Re-shape if required, before laying out flat to dry naturally.

How to wear a cashmere wrap

Whether you’re investing in one for yourself or buying as a gift, a cashmere wrap is a very versatile accessory. It’s smart enough to wear for a wedding, for example, while being comfortable enough to wear at home when you want to feel warm and cosy. The simplest way to wear it is to put it on from the back, draping the ends over the front. You can also don it in any asymmetrical style, so a large section covers the shoulder and chest completely. One end drapes over the shoulder towards the back, while the other is draped down the front.

a woman wearing a cashmere wrap
different ways of wearing a cashmere scarf

How to wear a cashmere scarf

A cashmere scarf can be worn in the same way as any other type. The classic style is to place it centrally before looping around the neck once. Another way to wear your cashmere scarf is to make a loop from one end before inserting both ends to create a neater effect. During cold weather, you may also wish to make a snood from it by wrapping around twice before tucking each end inside. It can of course also be worn long and loose - this flowing look is ideal when you want to keep it handy for when the temperature might drop. Or drape one end down the front while wearing one over your shoulder if you like - it’s all about versatility and wearing it your way.

Are cashmere scarves worth it?

As we’ve hopefully made clear, not all cashmere products are made equal. So why is a superior cashmere scarf worth the extra cost? Well a top quality cashmere scarf is made only using the finest, lightest and longest strands of cashmere. These are then treated with great care during the processes involved in turning them into the finest cashmere yarn. This is then woven into supremely soft garments that are made to last. Our cashmere scarves have not been treated with harsh chemicals, and have been handled only with the utmost care throughout. This results in a versatile, reliable, long-lasting garment that makes a great addition to any wardrobe. A high quality cashmere scarf is also a great gift idea.

How can you tell if a cashmere scarf is real?

So how can you tell real cashmere? Genuine cashmere is far softer than other fabrics. It’s not quite as straightforward as this, however. Inferior cashmere can feel just as soft to the touch as better quality cashmere, because it may have been treated with softener. This will give the illusion of quality. Once this softener wears off, however, the cashmere’s surface will feel more coarse. This is due to the looser weave used when making cheaper cashmere scarves. These products may also contain thicker, shorter or darker strands of material, whose presence will be seen and felt over time. By contrast, a cashmere scarf of the highest quality will improve in texture over time.

Are cashmere scarves expensive?

The price of a cashmere scarf will vary enormously. As with many things - if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. It’s difficult for the authorities to control all product descriptions to ensure that all goods sold are really what they claim to be. An inferior cashmere scarf might well contain cashmere - but in what proportion, and of what quality? The best cashmere scarves have a higher price tag for a reason. They are made for longevity as well as warmth and style, and will actually become softer as the fabric ages.

What's the difference between Pashmina and Cashmere?

The species of goat is what determines whether a fabric is cashmere or pashmina. Pashmina is only made from a specific mountain goat breed known as Capra Hircus. In a way, pashmina is thus simply one type of cashmere. Pashmina fibres are thinner than strands of cashmere, and it is therefore not as robust. Hand spinning is the only way to make pashmina fabric, which makes the products very costly to produce. As cashmere is easier to weave and the strands are thicker, it is both warmer and more affordable than pashmina.

What is the difference between a shawl and a wrap?

While the terms can be used interchangeably to some degree, there is a subtle difference between a shawl and a wrap. A shawl is a more casual accessory - the sort of garment that is sometimes associated with story book peasants, for example. Wraps are more refined, and usually made with finer, softer fabrics. Such as cashmere. A typical shawl might not be regarded by some as sufficiently smart to wear for a formal occasion, such as a wedding, whereas a cashmere wrap would fit the bill perfectly. This makes a cashmere wrap more versatile, as well as being more elegant and comfortable to wear.

How do you wear a cashmere wrap?

There are two aspects to this question, the first being what sort of occasion can you wear a cashmere wrap for? Well the answer is - just about anything, as long as it’s not likely to damage the delicate fabric. You might not want to wear it when going blackberry picking, for instance, as the thorns could catch and tear it. For just about anything else, however, it’s ideal. Whether your day involves work or leisure, travelling, a formal occasion or family time at home, a cashmere wrap is the perfect accessory for adding glamour as well as warmth. You can drape it over you shoulders from behind, with the ends flowing down the front. Or you could wear most of it at the front, with one end to the back and the other to one side at the front.

Why not take a look at our range of top quality cashmere wraps and scarves today?