Pashmina is a form of Cashmere wool. The word Pashmina is derived from "Pashm," an ancient Persian word that refers to anything that can be weaved. It is extracted from the undercoat of the Cashmere goat, native to the Northwest India and Nepal. The animals are usually found at an altitude of 12,000 to 14,000 feet above the sea level.
Depending on the species, the skin of the goat may be gray, white, black or cream.
Pashmina extraction and making is a complicated process. The wool is collected in spring every year. Each animal produces only 3 ounces or about 80 grams of the wool. A single shawl or scarf will require wool from up to three different goats. The yarn is spun by hand on a spinning wheel. The highly skilled weavers spend several hours to spin a few yards of yarn. The wool is extremely fragile and should be handled carefully. Pure Pashmina cannot sustain the movements of a power loom. Dyeing is also done by hand. It is a skill that has been passed down through generations.
All Pashmina scarves come with beautiful fringes and designs. It is a painstakingly difficult process that takes the weavers and artists several hours to accomplish. The completely hand-made products are of high-quality. They cannot be mass produced. All these factors contribute to the high cost of pure Pashmina products in the Western markets.
A Pashmina scarf can add a lot of charm to your dress. They gel well with casual and formal outfits. The versatile accessory can become your style statement. You should, however, consider several factors before investing in a Pashmina scarf. Remember that a pure Pashmina scarf can cost several hundred dollars. The quality of the wool essentially determines the price. The color and the intricate design also add value to the piece. The more reasonably priced scarves have a blend of Pashmina and silk. You should be aware of the materials in your scarf before paying for it.
Pashmina weavers and manufacturers are small craftsmen. They are often unorganized. They are not guided and supervised by authorities in the local areas. Hence, the labeling of the scarves does not follow a standard procedure. If you feel suspicious about the price or the dealer, avoid buying the product. Remember that some weavers also call a blend of Cashmere and silk as pure Pashmina. You should also do your research about the dealer or store in the United States, especially if you plan to buy it from a relatively unknown company online. Read customer reviews and talk to family and friends before buying an expensive scarf. Check their return policy as well. Do not forget to ask questions about their weavers and original manufacturers before buying the product.
Pashmina scarves have always been popular. European colonizers in India and Nepal got these beautiful pieces of fabric for the royal women of the British Empire. In modern times, the fabric has become more accessible. However, pure Pashmina remains a symbol of exquisite style and status within the society.