There are many types of wool in the world. Each kind of wool has its own unique properties that make it valuable. In this article, we will discuss the characteristics of each type of wool and what is the most expensive wool in the world. Stay tuned to learn more.What is Ethical Wool?While researching this article, we discovered that certain types of wool are not always produced in an ethical or sustainable manner.In particular, angora wool is sheared or plucked from angora rabbits, mainly in China which does not have any industry welfare standards in place. There are a small number of angora producers worldwide who guarantee cruelty-free angora wool.Mohair wool comes from the angora goat and is mainly produced in South Africa. Some of these producers have been criticized for mishandling angora goats and as a result many clothing manufacturers have stopped using mohair.Ethical wool is wool that is produced in a way that does not harm the animals or the environment. One of the most important aspects of ethical wool production is ensuring that the animals are well-cared for.This includes providing them with spacious and clean living conditions, as well as access to food and water. It also means ensuring that they are not subjected to painful procedures, such as mulesing.In addition to animal welfare, ethical wool producers also take care to minimize their impact on the environment. This includes using sustainable grazing practices and minimizing the use of pesticides and other chemicals.Wool itself is biodegradable and has natural fibers. Having said that, sheep wool contains lanolin, a grease that has to be removed by chemical treatment. Look for wool clothing that adheres to one of the following standards:Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)The Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA)You could also consider buying alternatives to wool such as bamboo, hemp or Tencel or using recycled wool.Ethically produced merino wool skeinsThe Most Expensive Wool TypesThe most expensive kinds of wool are those that are the most rare and difficult to produce. The finest wool comes from rare animals that are found only in certain parts of the world.The resulting wools are incredibly soft and lightweight, making them perfect for high-end clothing. Ultimately, the price of wool depends on a number of factors, including its rarity, quality, and where it comes from.5. Alpaca WoolAs you’ve probably guessed, alpaca wool comes from alpacas. These camelid mammals were originally found in the Andean mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. However, these days alpacas are also bred in countries such as the USA, New Zealand and the UK.The fourth most expensive wool, it is renowned for its softness, warmth, and durability. Alpaca fibers are also hypoallergenic. This makes the wool perfect for people with sensitive skin who dislike the scratchiness often associated with sheep’s wool.Alpaca wool is used to make clothing, blankets, and other products. It generally sells for $2.00 to $3.00 per ounce.Traditional weaving of alpaca wool in Peru4. Cashmere WoolCashmere is the third most expensive wool. It comes from the undercoat of the Kashmir goat. These goats are found in India, Nepal, Tibet, Afghanistan, China, Mongolia, and Iran. Look for cashmere that has The Good Cashmere Standard®(GCS) label to ensure that both the cashmere goats and the cashmere farmers are treated well.Cashmere is used to make clothing, blankets, and other products. This fine wool is prized for its softness and warmth, making it ideal for winter clothing items.Cashmere is also very durable, meaning it will last for many years with proper care. The downside to this luxurious fabric is that it can be quite expensive. There are three cashmere grades, with the finest being Grade A (13 microns).Cashmere yarn costs approximately $250 per 4 ounce skein. A cashmere sweater can cost as much as $2,500, depending on the quality.The texture of cashmere wool3. Merino WoolMerino wool is the second most expensive wool and comes from the merino sheep. The merino breed originated in Spain, but today most merino sheep are found in New Zealand.The climate in is ideal for merino sheep, and the animals are able to thrive on the native grasses. The country has detailed standards for animal welfare and a strict production process for merino wool.Merino wool is sought after for its quality. This expensive animal fiber is soft, strong, and durable. Merino wool is also moisture-wicking.For these reasons, merino wool is often used in sportswear and activewear. It is a popular choice for base layers, as it will keep the body warm even when wet.Superfine merino wool can cost up to $10.50 per ounce, with a whole ball of merino yarn costing as much as $40.Merino sheep eating ruzi grass leaves2. Guanaco WoolThe guanaco is a South American camelid that is a close relative of the llama, alpaca, and vicuna. Guanacos are found in the wild in the Andes mountains, and they have also been imported to countries such as the UK and USA.The wool of the guanaco is highly prized for its softness and warmth. This precious wool is also very elastic, and therefore ideal for use in garments such as sweaters and socks. Guanaco fiber has a micron count of 14-18 in diameter, making it similar to cashmere in quality.Guanaco wool is also sometimes blended with other fibers, such as merino wool, to create a more durable fabric. As demand for guanaco wool has increased, the price of the fiber has also risen.However, the environmental impact of the guanaco wool industry is relatively low, as this protected species requires very little water and can graze on native plants. For these reasons, guanaco wool is an increasingly popular choice for eco-conscious consumers.An ounce of guanaco yarn costs around $155, while guanaco fiber can be as much as $400 to $600 per kilo.The guanaco has a reddish-brown color1. Vicuna WoolThe most expensive wool in the world is vicuna, which is the finest and rarest wool. It is also the softest wool and has the finest fiber at 8 to 13 microns in diameter.The vicuna is a small, wild camelid that lives in the high Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Now a protected species, it was previously heavily hunted.The Peruvian government brought in the Endangered Species Act to help protect vicunas and other camelids. The vicuna population worldwide has increased from around 6,000 in 1974 to roughly 350,000 today.Vicunas are traditionally sheared once every two years and immediately released back into the wild. Each individual vicuna produces just 200 grams of fiber. As a result, vicuna wool is very rare and is used to produce extremely expensive fabric.Vicuña wool is the most expensive wool in the world. Vicuña yarn is incredibly soft and lightweight, making it perfect for high-end clothing items.Vicuña costs from $400 to $600 per kilo of unprocessed vicuna fiber, with coats made from vicuna wool can cost more than $20,000.A group of vicunas from the highlands of EcuadorFinal Thoughts: The Most Expensive Wool in the WorldAs you can see, there are a number of factors that go into the pricing of wool, and many of them are unique to each type of wool. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious fiber to create a one-of-a-kind garment or simply need some high quality wool for your latest knitting project, it’s important to understand what makes different types of wool so expensive.Be sure to check out our other style articles for more tips and advice on all things fashion related.Read next: Natural vs Cultured PearlsSharing is caring!