Pashmina

pashmina weaving

What is pashmina

What is pashmina a not easy answer to give, because pashmina is not defined by an international label, and that is our main mission.
This lack of a "Pashmina Wool" label prevents any precise, recognized and accepted definition. For some, pashmina would define a very fine shawl of Persian origin, for others it would define the original wool.
Nevertheless, we will define what pashmina is to us as we wish to define it in the label "Pashmina wool" as defined by cashmere or merino wool.

Pashmina is simply a particularly noble cashmere since it is supposed to come from the animal's chest, where the hair is softest, thinnest and longest (and therefore most beautiful).

However, in the people's mind, a Pashmina is above all a stole made of a fine, even very openwork weave: there is an amalgam between the accessory (the stole) and the material (the Pashmina). Moreover,
Pashmina wool, also called "the gold of fibers", or "the gold of wool" is the most beautiful of the wools that exists by being the finest, softest and lightest by being the most beautiful quality of cashmere wool. By way of comparison, a cashmere fiber has a diameter of less than 19 microns, while pashmina is less than 15 microns.
"Pashmina" is not a recognized designation in Europe (unlike the word cashmere), which means that there are stoles marked "Pashmina" which are made of both wool and polyester...
Pashminas wool is made from a small goat from the Himalayan highlands, Capra Hircus, also called Tchang-ra or Chyangra.
This pashmina goat lives in extreme conditions, at altitude (over 14,000 feet) and very cold, this goat has developed a particularly effective fleece to fight against the cold.
This fleece is made up of very dense, very thin down, creating a real thermal insulation barrier.
It is this under-duvet mainly from the neck and under-chest that will be harvested to produce Pashmina.
pashmina wool
Naturally, these goats in spring rub against rocks, bushes, branches in order to get rid of excess wool, and especially down, for summer. It is by observing that this process, and the softness of this exceptionally fine and soft hair, that the Himalayan breeders had the idea of reproducing the phenomenon humanely in order to harvest a wool of a very high quality.
Pashmina is also called "fiber gold", a sign of its rarity and exclusivity. Pashmina shawls have the particularity of being finished with very fine fringes, the end of which is tied by hand, which represents a considerable amount of work.
It was in the late 1990s - early 2000s that Hollywood stars, from Nicole Kidman to Angelina Jolie, were seen wearing Pashmina shawls, launching this fashion, first in the United States and then in Europe.
By extension, the word "Pashmina" has become synonymous with a thin fringed shawl.
However, since this name is neither registered nor recognized by the customs nomenclature, there are now "100% Pashmina" label shawls made of viscose, wool and cotton, etc... etc....
So you should take care, because 100% pashmina mean nothing. Authentic Pashmina, if tradition is respected, is made on handlooms.
It should be noted that pashmina is obtained by harvesting and not by shearing, that these wool fibers are collected by combing or cut by hand. The objective being for the breeders to rid the goats of the small white or beige down hidden under the long hairs of the coat when temperatures increase and thus harvested the most beautiful of the wools by a craft process.
Once collected, these hairs are woven by master weavers by hand and in a traditional way into shawls of exceptional quality. This long process is done by hand because this wool fiber is too fine to be woven by machines.

pashmina cashmere Making a pashmina shawl requires a lot of time and know-how passed down from generation to generation, which has become an art, and which only Himalayan craftsmen master.

Moreover, in addition to the time required to make a pashmina, whether for harvesting or weaving, which explains its price, it should be noted that this fiber is rare since a goat will only produce an average of 150gr.

How and where is produce pashmina

The production of a pashmina shawl requires a combination of time and know-how.
Skills that are mastered by craftsmen and breeders from the Himalayan region, who pass on their art from generation to generation.

The production steps of a pashmina are

  1. goat breeding
  2. wool harvesting
  3. spinning
  4. weaving
  5. dyeing
  6. embroidery

Where pashmina is produced

Wool, and pashmina shawls are native and produced throughout the Himalayan region. The authentic and craft Pashmina Shawl is obtained in Himalaya area, made from the hair of wool from Goat called Capra hircus changthangi and breed in Ladakh and then hand woven in Srinagar, but we also find high quality pashmina in Nepal so we could say pashmina come from Himalaya. Nevertheless, two regions are particularly well known for the quality of their wool and the mastery of shawl making techniques. This region is Ladakh for the breeding and production of wool in particular by the nomadic shepherds Chang-Pa, and Srinagar in Kashmir for the making of clothes from the stages of spinning to embroidery.

Production of a Pashmina

The first step in the production of a pashmina is the production of wool. This is carried out by the goats which are brought to high altitude from the Himalayan plateau and the tibet, particularly in Ladakh.
So if you asked yourself to know if pashmina come from goat or sheep let's remember, material is pashmina made of Goat wool.
The breeders therefore carry out several transhumance with their Changra goats throughout the seasons. In spring, the farmers harvest the wool by combing it in order to extract the wool in the gentlest way and in particular the under duvet which will constitute the raw material for the pashmina. This allows the animal to be rid of this fleece, which would be too hot for summer. The harvest is carried out in a gentle way, respecting the animal. At this time the wool is white and unbleached. Pashm", a kind of hyper cashmere with an extreme fineness of less than 15 microns, is harvested in very small quantities, i.e. about 150Gr per goat.

PASHMINA ROAD from Errol Rainey.

Then the wool is exported raw, to spinning craftsmen who will transform the hair into yarn. These steps are most often carried out in Nepal or Kashmir, more precisely in Srinagar. A region that masters a know-how handed down from father to son to the son of the times. The Pashm, then passes from the state of hair to threads using wooden wheels. This is a delicate job, done by women.

The next step is weaving. Step performed by men, by hand on wooden looms. During this stage the yarn will be transformed into a fabric whose weft will be recognized, most often it will be the diamond weft. Note that weaving a pashmina shawl will take 2 days of work to the fastest craftsmen and for a standard size.

Then comes an optional step, that of dyeing. Indeed you will have understood at that moment, the shawl obtained is the color of the pashmina yarn, or the raw color of the wool, therefore, white or ecru. Depending on the orders, and the inspiration of the craftsmen, the shawl can be dyed. These dyes are made using natural and organic ancestral recipes made from plants. This is why the color variations on a stole are not due to a low-end item, but the reflection of a non-industrial craft work.

El viaje de un chal from Kashmir Shawl Atelier.

Finally comes the embroidery stage. Indeed, some pashmina are embroidered, embroidery only made by hand. Work requiring extreme patience and attention to detail since embroidery time is counted during the week and months. The most exceptional pieces can require up to one work from an embroiderer. The most common patterns found are stripes, squares or kashmir arabesques. Let's discover a little more about pashmina Scarf

How to recognize pashmina

You have been seduced by pashmina and would like to offer yourself one of these luxurious shawls. So you wonder how to choose and recognize a real pashmina. The major problem as we said is that to date there is no label, it is impossible to recognize a shawl by its label. Some dishonest producers affixing or sticking labels on vulgar synthetic scarves. You will therefore need some techniques to differentiate a real pashmina from a fake one.

shawl pashmina
  1. Prices

    First of all, price is a means of selection. Pashmina is a luxury item, like gold, diamond, or caviar, and you won't believe in caviar at €5. The same is true for pashmina. It is a luxurious fabric, rare, which requires time and know-how, so run away from products labeled and sold for 5/10$ on Amazon or the markets. Of course, this is only an index of unscrupulous sellers selling synthetic products at gold prices.

  2. Thickness

    One of the particularities is the finesse of the Pashminas, and there is the legend of the ring test.
    This ring test for pashmina shawl consists in passing the shawl through a ring of the alliance type, and which would like that if it is too much to pass through it is that it is not a pashmina. But this is not true. Many hand woven pashmina of our finest artisan members producing shawls by hand, in the purest tradition from generation to generation, do not pass the test.
    Moreover, this test was originally valid for Shatoosh (wool shawl made in the Himalayas, based on wild antelope wool, now banned). Nevertheless, the wool of pashmina remains the finest in the world. So if you take a fiber from your stole and it is thicker or equivalent to a hair, it is not pashmina.

  3. Weaving

    These shawls remain handmade and their weaving says a lot. Too regular weaving into an index that you are probably in the presence of an industrial product.

  4. Electrostatic control

    Some sellers sell shawls made partly or totally of synthetic fiber such as viscose or acrylic. To detect it, rub the stole on itself or your hair, if you see small sparks, or electrostatism in your hair it is because there is synthetic.

  5. Flame

    This is what we call the flame test. Pashmina, like all wools, does not catch fire, does not melt, and does not stick. To do this, take some fiber that you will burn with a flame. If you smell a smell of burnt hair, and a slight ash, you are probably in the presence of a pure product. If you smell burning paper, the shawl probably contains cotton or other vegetable fiber. If there is an acrid smell, black smoke, and sticky residue, you are in the presence of synthetic fiber.

pashmina weavers In summary, Pashmina is:

Where buy Pashmina

The ideal when you want to buy a pashmina is to buy it directly from a producer in Srinagar, or Ladakh. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to be able to make a trip to Jammu and Kashmir or even to northern India. Therefore the best solution is most often to find a city shop or on the internet offering authentic pashmina.

However, it is all the more difficult when you do not have the opportunity to touch the pashmina in these hands to buy an authentic pashmina. Here are some tips that should help you buy a real pashmina.

The first thing is the price, indeed pashmina as well as cashmere are natural, noble, rare materials and their price are accordingly. Indeed, a pashmina like a cashmere scarf will always be expensive. It is impossible, even if you went directly to a pashmina producer to buy 20Dollars, it is higher than its production cost.

Pay particular attention to the material, indeed a pashmina will never be mixed with silk, and even less a synthetic material. However, when buying online it can be difficult to be sure of the composition. Pay particular attention to the photos, they should not shine. This is the case when silk or polyester is added.

Choose a specialist shop, pashmina is a matter of love of the product, tradition and are only sold by specialists like https://www.pashminacachemire.com/ which is a shop specializing in the sale of pashmina, and cashmere scarf exclusively distributed online. Indeed, producing or marketing pashmina shawls requires a lot of time, which is why sellers only specialize in pashmina and eventually cashmere or some other artisanal product from Kashmir. So in no way seek to buy a shawl in large distribution chains or on the Internet.


FAQ

What's the definition of pashm

We will help you by define pashm here, even you could find different definition through the Web, this is our definition. «Pashm» is the underfur fiber of Capra Hircus goat who coming from Himalaya. Those wool fiber are the finest one and very soft.

What's the definition of pashmina

To define pashmina we could say this term is a little confusing as we could read many defintions. Any way let's say, Pashmina is not labeled as Cashmere and could also be a kind of wool or define scarves, and "Pashmina" is meaning Shawl and "Pashm" meaning Wool in ancien Persian.
Today Pashmina are shawl made from the finest Himalayan wool,

What's the difference between cashmere and pashmina

If Cashmere and Pashmina are two kind of goat wool from Kashmir, India and Nepal,the difference between Pashmina and Cashmere is the fiber diameter. Pashm is the finest on from 12 to 15 Microns and Cashmere is between 15 to 19 microns, so obtain a yarn pashm by spin hair is fair more difficult. And if pashmina goat and cashmere goat are both coming from Himalaya, we could now raise cashmere goat all over the world (mainly Inner Mongolia, a Mongolic autonomous region in Northern China). So that's for all those point cashmere is is more expensive than pashmina.

What is pashmina

Pashmina are artisanal shawl produce in Himalaya mainly in Kashmir, India, Nepal and Ladakh, from Capra Hircus goat wool

What is pashmina fabric

Pashmina Fabric is fabric hand-woven mainly in Kashmir made from the hair of changthangi goat from the finest kashimr.

What is pashmina made from

Pashmina are made from pashm, the wool under-duvet of changthangi goats from Ladakh, in Kashmir, which is hand-woven, mainly in Kashmir in city of Srinagar

What is pashtush

Some of our visitor was asking about Pashtush, and wanted to know if it was a kind of scarves, shawl or pashmina as Shatoosh, but is not, Pashtush is only a pashmina brand.

What is shahtoosh

You maybe heard about Shatoosh and which to know what is it, and the difference with pashmina, we will give you the shahtoosh definition.
Shahtoosh also named as Shatush are shawl as pashmina coming also from Himalaya and mainly from Kashmir, but the main difference is Shahtoosh are banned and Shatoosh trade are illegal in most country in the world, as the animal which those shawl are made of, are protected as endangered specie. Shahtoosh shawl is made from the hair of Chiru, wich is a Tibetan antelope
Those antelope live over 5000 meters and got the finest hair know (7 to 10 Microns). Shahtoosh was so thin that we can pass them through a Ring know as the ring test.

Why are pashmina shawls famous in Ladakh?

This is because is in this area the nomadic shepherds Chang-Pa breed changthangi goats which give the pashmina Wool