Fabric Discovery4 February 2023

Fabric: All About Giza. The Finest Cotton in the World

The term "Giza" is derived from the Arabic word for "cotton", and it's no surprise that this incredibly soft and luxurious fabric is revered by menswear enthusiasts around the World. In this blog post, we'll be discussing the history of Giza cotton and you will understand why it's so coveted by those in the know.

The origin of this exceptional cotton can be traced back to 1819, when a French textile engineer named Louis Alexis Jumel discovered in Cairo at the private garden of a retired Turkish-Egyptian high official a new cotton variety which he thoughts it could revolutionize the whole agricultural output of the country.
In agreement with Muhammad Ali Pasha, Louis Alexis Jumel purchased the first cotton seeds from Cairo to bring to Egypt and began growing it on a small scale.

During the year the quality and technical characteristics were improved by crossing this cotton with other local and imported varieties.

It is through these continuous experiments of crossing different cotton seeds that we have come to have all the different versions of Giza Cotton.
See the image below to have a clear outlook over all the crossings needed to reach the quality standards of the famous Giza 45.

The turning point was reached when one of the variant created crossing the original  cotton seed taken from Cairo with other species when they crossed with American Sea Island cotton seed.

The new seeds generated by crossing these two cottons combined with the region’s already favorable climatic and soil conditions to create ideal conditions for growing high-quality cotton. The resulting cotton fibers were finer and of more consistent length than previous crops, which helped establish Egyptian cotton’s reputation as one of the world’s finest cottons.

With the climate providing a hot and humid atmosphere, the generous flooding of the river nurturing its soil, this area has been a staple in the production of high-end cotton for centuries. Rich in minerals, its soil provides diverse elements that result in extraordinary crops every year. 

There are several varieties of Giza cotton, each with its own unique characteristics. Giza cottons differenziate themselves from being long staple cottons to extra-long staple cottons.

Long Staple: Giza 86, Giza 89, Giza 90
Extra Long Staple: Giza 45, Giza 70, Giza 87, Giza 88, Giza 93

Long staple cottons has a fiber length around 33 mm and goes from 4.3 to 4.9 micronaire. With these characteristics yarns can be produced up to Ne 50/1 and 70/1.
Extra Long staple, instead, has a fiber length that can exceed 36mm , are extremely fine (2.95micronaire) and they has a superbe grade if uniformity.

Nowadays Egyptian Extra Fine & Extra Long Staple Cotton, the finest in the world, including Cotton varieties like Giza 45, Giza 87 and Giza 93, represents less than one percent of the total local production, being absolutely a state-of-the-art product, extremely rich in tradition.

These Giza cottons are also hand-picked by 3-4 phases to ensure only fully mature bolls are picked. This manual approach also minimizes stress on the fibers, eliminating the need for chemical defoliants and reducing exposure to chemical products that typically accompany mechanical harvesting.

Over the years, all the variants of Giza created through artificial or natural crosses have been categorized according to technical criteria that we will not discuss in detail in this article. The different versions of Giza cotton are thus the result of continuous efforts to improve the quality and texture of this luxurious fiber. Albini Group-one of our fabric suppliers-is one of the few fabric mills that controls the entire supply chain ensuring that each and every staple meets the highest quality standards. Albini produces two types of Giza in Egypt, Giza 45 and Giza 87. Let’s see what the characteristics of these two types of extra-long fibers are.

Giza 45 & Giza 87

Giza 45 produced by Albini made from a mixture of pure cotton (no blend) with an extremely rare availability, as only less than 100 bales are produced. It is characterized by its extra-long staple, exceptional fineness, and excellent strength with a fiber length of over 35mm, Micronaire of 2.8/2.9 and a strength HVI of +42.

Instead Giza 87 produced by Albini is made from pure cotton (no blend) in only 500 cotton bales. It is known for its extra-long staple, exceptional brilliance, and excellent strength with a fiber length of over 35mm, Micronaire of 3.0/3.1, and a strength HVI of +44.

*Micronaire is a unit of measurement used to determine the fineness or coarseness of cotton fibers. It is determined by measuring the air permeability of a sample of cotton fibers and is expressed in units of micrograms per inch. A lower Micronaire value indicates finer fibers, while a higher value indicates coarser fibers.

*HVI (High Volume Instrument) is a machine that measures fiber properties of cotton such as length, strength, uniformity, and micronaire. The HVI measures these properties objectively, consistently, and accurately to help cotton buyers and sellers assess the quality of the cotton. The HVI value for strength is expressed in grams per tex, with a higher value indicating stronger fibers.

In conclusion, the topic covered in this article provides valuable insights into the history of Giza cotton and specific techniques that will be explored in further articles. Whether it is the unique characteristics of an extra-long staple Giza, the significance of Micronaire and HVI measurements, or the impact of hand picking and roller ginning on cotton fiber quality, this information has the potential to educate and inform those interested in the topic. We hope this article has provided a comprehensive overview of the topic and encouraged readers to continue their exploration and learning.

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