Soft and resistant, Egyptian cotton is among the most precious and sought after yarns in the world. Particular both in its cultivation and in its processing, it manages to combine an extreme fineness of the fibers with a high uniformity of the thread.
The history of Egyptian cotton
The history of Egyptian cotton has its roots in the seeds of Sea Island cotton, among the oldest and most valuable in the world, still cultivated today in Jamaica and Barbados. In 1821, Muhammad ʿAli Pasha, the founder of modern Egypt, imported Sea Island cotton seeds from abroad, attracted by the extraordinary quality of this yarn. He decided to plant these seeds along the fertile banks of the Nile, where they encountered the ideal conditions of humid climate and fertile soil, ideal for creating uniform and regular fibers . The resulting cotton took the name of Giza, in honor of the city of the same name.
The Cotton Arbitration and Testing General Organization (CATGO) was born in 1965 and is still responsible for supervising the quality of cotton in all its phases and ensuring the purity of the different varieties. The CATGO also dealt with the classification of varieties into two different categories:
- extra long fiber over 35 mm (Giza 45, 87, 88, 92 and 93);
- fiber long from 29 to 34.9 mm (Giza 86, 94, 90 and 95).
For this division, not only the length is taken into consideration, but also the other qualities of cotton such as fineness, uniformity and resistance.
Cultivation, harvesting and processing
Giza cotton is grown exclusively in a small area east of the Nile Delta. No herbicides or other chemicals are used and the harvest takes place
manually in different phases, to allow the collection of only the flakes at the right level of ripeness.
Over the years, the size of the cultivation area has changed several times, reaching 65 thousand square meters in 1966 and dropping to just 4 thousand hectares in the 1990s. To date, cultivation takes place only upon demand, due to its low crop yield.
It is during processing that the cotton is refined until it obtains the fineness that characterizes it, guaranteeing an ultra-fine yarn (350 Ne) which is the highest thread count ever achieved.
The peculiarities of Egyptian cotton
Giza 45 cotton stands out for the extraordinary fineness of its fibers, with an average micronaire of 2.95, the best among Extra Long Staple cottons.
To recognize products made from real Giza 45 cotton you can look for the CEA (Cotton Egyptian Association) guarantee mark.
The garments made from Giza 45 cotton are characterized by incredible resistance despite the fineness of the fabric, by a pure white given solely by the intrinsic properties of the plant without chemical aid from man and by a uniform structure guaranteed by a weave made with long fiber cotton thread. By purchasing a product in Giza 45 you are guaranteed a pure cotton sheet or shirt that resists over time without losing its softness and does not create those unsightly dots that are usually found on other less valuable cotton clothing.