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Camel

Pronunciation: (kam-uhl)

The two-humped Bactrian camel is native to Eastern and Central Asia.  The camel's fine, inner down is combed away and collected during the 6-8 week moulting season. An adult camel yields about 17 pounds of fleece per year.

The fine down fiber of the camel averages around 20 microns in diameter and varies in length from 2.5 to 12.5 cm. Baby camel hair, which can measure as little as 16 microns (on a par with fine cashmere), is the softest and most prized.

 

Camel yarns are used for the production of a wide range of garments including  gloves, caps and scarves. Because it is a premium fiber, camel hair is usually blended with wool to make it price competitive. Camel and cashmere blends are very expensive and targeted to the luxury market. From a price versus usability perspective, camel yarn, while natural, makes little economic sense and is more of a fashion statement.

Due to its quality and scarcity, camel hair is primarily used in luxury textiles. In Mongolia, it is used by nomadic herders to make yurts, winter clothing and carpets. The best camel yarn is produced by these nomadic households in Mongolia where women spin the collected hair on drop spindles. However, due to the lack of infrastructure and manual processing methods, only very limited quantities of camel hair reach international markets. Which makes it a rare and expensive fiber.