For centuries, this remarkable BOVIDAE herbivore has thrived in conditions of extreme harshness and deprivation and provided livelihood for numerous tribes & sheperds living in Central Asia, Tibet & the Himalayas.
With the ever growing interest outside its natural habitat and high quality research, Yak wool is slowly but surely being recognised for its unmatched warmth and performance. In recent times, high performance athletic, adventure & outdoor clothing companies have also started incorporating YAK wool into their manufacturing process.
During our research, we ended up questioning the authenticity of the majority of products found online and probably more than 90% are not genuine.
Above all, Yak wool products can be found in two forms:
- Yak wool blend i.e. mainly sheep, as soft wool like cashmere and yak down become more durable when mixed with quality sheep wool
- 100% Yak wool, which is expensive and not easily available as it is found only in high altitude areas
So why is it highly valued?
It is warmer than merino, as soft as cashmere and as strong as camel, which is why it is making inroads in the international market dominated by cashmere in terms of luxury fibres. The softness along with the durability of the wool is what makes it so distinctive and sought after. Yak wool products are waterproof and may be dyed if required. In comparison to the globally recognised & trusted merino, yak wool is:
- More soft & comfortable
- Stronger & warmer, more sheep wool is required to match the warmth
- More breathable hence probably the best at regulating body temperature
- Yak wool fibres absorb huge amounts of moisture, which evaporates into the air, keeping the skin fresher and drier for longer.
- Does not smell, amazing hypoallergenic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
- No static electrical discharge,meaning will not spark or stick to the body
- Most animals used for wool are found at an altitude of around 1000m whereas yaks are found at approximately 2500m - 5000m above sea level. A point to be noted is that sheep & yak wool from the Himalayas are tougher,warmer and more skin friendly, as the conditions on the roof of the world are not for the faint hearted whether it be humans or animals.
We are proud to say that our exclusive handloom Yak wool scarves, blanket scarves & shawls are unique and an occasional find in today’s market full of cheap imitations. Predominantly, we use YAK wool blend for added durability of our items with only the colourful patterns being cashmilon to ensure the patterns don’t fade with time. As we are based in Himachal Pradesh, India, at an altitude of over 2000m above sea level, pure raw Himalayan YAK & sheep wool is accessible to us in close proximity.
Below is an image of our hand spun yak wool yarn.
Things to look out for about YAK wool products
- When you burn the fluff it will smell like human hair and turn to ash, whereas artificial materials smell like rubber and the ends turn hard & black in colour.
- Naturally yak wool is brown to black in colour
- More lustrous i.e. shiny
- It is very warm and soft to touch due to its fineness
- Yak wool down fibres are very fine, 15 -20 microns in diameter which is very similar to cashmere. Low production of this fibre means it is expensive to source.
- Yak wool items should be dry cleaned or hand washed delicately with cold water.
- Authentic & organic Yak wool products are hard to find outside Central Asia,Tibet and the Himalayan region and are never low-priced.
Through this article we intend to advocate the need for authenticity in the global yak wool trade to promote truthful businesses and provide reliable information & guidance against rogue traders misleading the wool lovers around the world.
We hope you have discovered some useful tips, ideas and benefits about yak wool. Please leave your comments below to add more suggestions as we seek to rear even more wool products. Alternatively, you can send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
We look forward to hearing your feedback.
Thank you for reading and until next time,
MARICHI “The Himalayan Shoppe”