When you're buying a cashmere product understanding the ply and gauge of the cashmere will help you determine if the garment is the right one for you. Gauge and ply affect the weight, warmth and durability of an item. They are not directly linked to the quality of the cashmere; however they do affect the performance of the item.
What Does Ply Mean?
Ply is the number of cashmere threads twisted together to make the cashmere yarn.
Two twisted threads are referred to as 2-ply, and three twisted threads are referred to as 3-ply etc. Since cashmere is a fine hair, it benefits from the increased strength in the twisted thread.
Look for items that are 2-ply or higher, as 1-ply cashmere is less durable and is more likely to develop holes. Higher plies such as 4-ply add additional weight and warmth, but do not indicate additional quality.
What Does Gauge Mean?
Gauge refers to the number of stitches or rows per inch and is a measure of how tightly the item is knitted. The higher the gauge number the tighter the knit and the more cashmere yarn that is being used.
Cashmere garments are commonly knitted in 7 gauge (7GG) and 12 gauge (12GG).
7 gauge has 7 stitches or rows of yarn per inch of the knitted cashmere, so the cashmere has a more open or mesh like look and is lighter. 12 gauge has 12 stitches or rows of yarn per inch, so the cashmere is relatively dense.
A lower gauge number will provide a lighter item as less cashmere is being used. If you are looking for a lightweight item, then a lower gauge is best. If your priority is warmth or durability, then a higher gauge will be preferable.
Jet&Bo stocks a range of luxurious cashmere travel accessories: