Mongolia

Cashmere

An exceptional product

In the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, rugged nomads produce the very finest cashmere wools. Rare and precious, cashmere wool is incomparably light and soft. The region is one of the birthplaces of goat-rearing and as has always been the case, wool goats move between their summer and winter pastures where they are still free to roam.

Seasonal temperatures at an altitude of over 4,000 metres on the Tibetan plateau or in the Gobi Desert can range from -40°C to +40°C! The goat has adapted to these conditions and its long coat helps it to withstand the harsh climate.

The cashmere fibre is harvested from the goats’ chests once a year by the nomadic tribes of the region. The harvest is no more than 150 g of fibres per animal.

Today, there are three colours of cashmere goat – black, tan and white – which give dark grey, grey-brown and white wools respectively. The white goats are originally from the Gobi and the mountain shepherds of Arkhangai have to buy goats from their desert counterparts to ensure this prized quality in their own herd.

Tumenjargal and his wife inspect the white cashmere they have just collected. Their yurt is one hour’s journey by motorbike from Shine Jinst village, in one of the most remote regions of the Gobi Desert. The couple own seven hundred white goats, around twice as many as the average for farmers in the region.

Extreme climate conditions

The farmers and their herds live in difficult climate conditions where extreme episodes of bitter cold and heatwave are not infrequent.

Shine Jinst white cashmere goats

Farmers think that the family of white goats specific to the Gobi Desert originates from this region. Shine Jinst is the only place where the whole of the goat population is white.

Gobi Desert wool is one of the most beautiful and sought-after of the many qualities of cashmere wool. The farmers around the village of Shine Jinst are also known throughout the country for the goats specific to this region, whose fibre is the whitest and finest in the world.

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