Where does cashmere come from?

Anyone who has ever worn a quality cashmere pullover knows its finest qualities: softness, suppleness, warmth, fineness, authenticity... But we often know little about the origin of this noble and rare raw material. Where does cashmere come from? How did it conquer Europe, and in particular the greatest haute-couture and high-end ready-to-wear fashion houses?

Where does cashmere come from?

The animal origin of cashmere

Cashmere: a specific type of goat's wool

Where does cashmere come from? And from what animal? Unlike other wools that come from sheep (alpaca, mohair, merino, Shetland), cashmere wool is obtained from a very special breed of small goats.

The source of cashmere is Capra Hircus goats. They are small in size and live mainly in Mongolia. In the wild, they thrive in the Tibetan highlands and the Himalayan region.

And it is thanks to the quality of their wool that these Capra Hircus goats can live in these regions subject to extreme temperatures: up to -50°C in winter and +45°C in summer. To survive these extremes, the goats have developed a particularly fine and thick fleece, which is both insulating and silky, and which protects them from both cold and heat.

Cashmere: a specific type of goat's wool

How is cashmere wool harvested?

The harvesting of cashmere wool is a delicate art in which our teams and techniques excel.

When the first heat of spring arrives, wild goats, which live mainly in the Himalayas, try to shed their hair, which has become superfluous during the summer months. To speed up their moult, they rub themselves against rocks and plants. The tufts that get hooked are gathered by mountain dwellers who can process the collected down.

Domesticated goats, which live mainly in Mongolia in semi-wild conditions, are shorn after their natural moult.

The finest fibres, which make up the particularly soft warm down, are harvested by careful combing.

The hair is sorted, cleaned and woven into ply. The number of plies determine the thickness of a cashmere knitwear: from 2 ply for the thinnest pullovers to 14 ply for the thickest pieces...

The traditional breeding of Capra Hircus goats for the production of cashmere of the exceptional quality required by Maison Eric Bompard contributes to the sustainability of local rural populations and of a traditional savoir-faire that is invaluable to the world's cultural heritage.

How is cashmere wool harvested?

The geographical origin of cashmere

For Europeans, the discovery of the source of cashmere dates back to the 13th century, when Marco Polo set foot on Mongolian soil and discovered images of wild goats domesticated by man in a cave. It is therefore understandable that Mongolian shepherds have been breeding goats for centuries that are capable of producing wool which is warm enough to protect them from the extreme cold of winter.

Europeans had to wait until the beginning of the 19th century, however, when Napoleon imported a cashmere shawl for Josephine. The empress made a major contribution to the promotion of this fabric with its extraordinary qualities.

In 1830, French entrepreneurs were the first to explore Asia to import this noble and precious material into Europe.

Although cashmere quickly won over lovers of exceptional fabrics, it fell out of favour at the end of the 19th century, and for several decades...

It was not until the 1920s and the audacity of Gabrielle Chanel, who was the first to include cashmere knitwear in her collections. At that time, the Scots and Italians were considered the masters of cashmere garments.

Ahead of its time, cashmere's extraordinary reputation took it to the far corners of Europe within a few decades. Among the pioneers and iconic players in the making of exceptional cashmere garments and accessories is Eric Bompard.

It was during a trip to Mongolia that he discovered this wonderful raw material and decided to share it with the French by creating a timeless line of garments... With the greatest respect for this precious fibre, for those who harvest it and for those who make it: the Capra Hircus goats are raised in semi-wild conditions where they can flourish.

Eric Bompard cashmere is sourced locally, and the wool is produced in a small production line in local factories.

Objective: to ensure total traceability of the material in order to guarantee its exceptional quality.

This special wool travelled the silk route and was first woven in the Cashmere region of India. This is how this exceptional raw material came to be known as cashmere.

How did cashmere become a luxury fabric?


Softness, fineness, comfort, lightness, isothermicity, resistance, durability... The list of qualities of cashmere is much longer than for any other natural or synthetic material.

Although very fine ultra-light cashmere fibre offers amazing thermoregulatory qualities and allows the goats to withstand temperatures of up to -50°C in winter. On average, cashmere is three times warmer than wool.

But while this quality is generally well known, what is less well known is that cashmere can also be worn when the temperature rises: cashmere fibres used in our extrafine 2-ply pullovers, for example, absorb moisture and perspiration. Body heat is easily dissipated thanks to this natural material with amazing technical properties that forms a light voile.

Hypoallergenic, cashmere is the preferred material for sensitive skin: unlike sheep's wool, which is itchy and can cause irritation, cashmere wool is gentle on even the most fragile skin, especially that of babies.


Whereas an adult sheep produces up to 5kg of wool each year (of which about 3.5kg is usable), the Capra Hircus goat produces only 200 grams of wool. It is therefore necessary to collect the hair of 4 to 6 goats to make a cashmere pullover.

Cashmere now accounts for only 0.5% of global wool production.

What is the future of cashmere?

Cashmere is a rare and sought-after fabric. It can vary in quality and, in order to produce more cashmere garments, some manufacturers tend to use processes that do not respect the material or use it in proportions that are too low to achieve the full benefits of cashmere.

In contrast to these practices which damage the reputation of this exceptional fabric Maison Eric Bompard has always strived to offer you the best quality cashmere wool available, straight from the source.

We are committed to contributing to the development of cashmere and to preserving the unique environment in which this exquisite natural material was created. And we make sure that every step of our manufacturing process, from the goat to your skin, is ethical and environmentally responsible. Our commitment is genuine for all those who cherish our creations, and also for those who produce them, our partners in France and in Mongolia.

To find out all about cashmere wool, take a look at our guide fully devoted to this exceptional material.

Quel est l’avenir du cachemire ?

Sustainable & Quality cashmere


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