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To ensure the high quality and value of cashmere, the fibres need to be measured in terms of scale density and thickness, pigmentation, diameter and other characteristics.

SGS has the experience and expertise to conduct the two commercially viable methods of cashmere microscope testing and measurement currently available: scanning electron microscope (SEM) and optical microscope.

Cashmere identification using optical microscope method

Compared to SEM, the primary advantage of the optical cashmere microscopic test is that the operative can see the internal structure (or pigments) of the fibre. These features can help to differentiate the cashmere from any lower value substitute fibres (e.g. wool, yak) that a third party may have introduced at some point along the processing chain.

The optical method relies on operatives identifying magnified fibres from their scale structure and other features. We follow the relevant methodologies set out by:

  • American Standard Testing Methods (ASTM-D629: Standard Test Methods for Quantitative Analysis of Textiles) 
  • American Association of Textile Chemists and Colourists (AATCC-20A: Fibre Analysis: Quantitative)
  • International standard (ISO 17751: Quantitative analysis of animal fibres by microscopy - cashmere, wool, speciality fibres and their blends)

Consistent, accurate measurements

Given that there are overlaps in the characteristics of cashmere and other wool fibres, using an optical microscope to measure such materials is a somewhat subjective process. To maintain consistency and accuracy in our cashmere microscopic analysis, we only use industry-accepted methods and provide our operatives with standardised training, based on our traceable animal fibres library.

We have also centralised the operation of our speciality animal fibres testing services in the UK. Approved by the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI), this facility is constantly involved in the development of:

  • Standardised technical procedures
  • Traceable electronic and physical fibre samples
  • Computerised training for fibre identification
  • Processes for the continuous monitoring of operatives

Get in touch with SGS now to find out how our fibre testing by optical microscope test can help maintain the high quality and value of your fibre shipments.