By
with contributions from Munkhbat Batbekh
 on April 5, 2017

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia — A cashmere scarf from Hermès — with its colorful dyed yarn and intricate patterning — can go for over $1,000. Shang Xia, a Chinese high-end lifestyle boutique backed by Hermès, showcases cashmere felt robes that retail at around the same price point. Yet the fiber that is painstakingly crafted into these one-of-a-kind pieces has a more humble origin — the cashmere goats of Mongolia.

With more than 25 million goats grazing on the country’s steppes, Mongolia commands the second-largest cashmere stock worldwide, accounting for about a third of the global supply. Last year, according to the Mongolia Wool and Cashmere Association, the country produced 8,500 tons of raw cashmere fiber, and it is expecting that amount to climb above 9,000 tons in 2017.

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