The cashmere of cottons has been grown for 300 years in the West Indies. That is of course Sea Island, the cotton with a 50% longer staple length and a finer, more uniform texture and greater overall strength than more common varieties. These days the entire annual harvest of the stuff, representing a small fraction of 1% of the world's production and carefully monitored to insure that is not diluted with lesser fibers, is shipped to Brescia, Italy where it is spun into a very fine, lightweight yarn that is strong, lustrous, and possessed of an exceptionally soft hand.
Sea Island cotton is used much like any other fine cotton, in handkerchiefs, underwear, dress shirts, polos and socks among other things. Its relative rarity commands exceptional prices that are often double the price of good but not great commercial grades, just as the cashmere to which it is often compared commands a substantial premium over wool of comparable quality. But, like a restaurant with three stars in a red Michelin guide, Sea Island cotton offers a far better than ordinary experience. Worth a special journey.