Searching for that ideal cashmere pashmina?
The beauty of cashmere pashmina shawl rests in their soft and luxurious quality, adhered by their elegant nature living up to its name of the Himalaya’s ‘’fabric of royal’’. Coming from the bellies of the finest of goats of Chyangra variety, this wool is one of a kind, and incomparable in terms of its nature.
However, much misinterpretation has been made in regards to this fibre, and it is time to clarify specific details associated with this wool. Given the rage for online buying of products, it is imperative on part of customers to be aware of the details to avert any chances of fraudulent measures!
History associated with cashmere pashmina fabric
The original problem started up with the differentiation of words as ‘cashmere’ and ‘pashmina’. The Anglicisation of words has resulted in a major confusion whose advantage is being taken by traders for selling off their fraudulent products.
‘Pashmina’ is derived from the Urdu word ‘Pashm’ that implies soft wool that is specifically found in the Chyangra breed of goat, mostly found in the region of Nepal. Courtesy to the presence of this hair, it sheds every spring, people are fortunate to lay their hands on this hair. The end results; Chyangra pashmina cashmere.
Found in other regions including the Kashmir region of Pakistan, this wool is processed by crafted hands and takes up a period of 180 hours for generation of an ideal piece. With its transportation to the western countries, especially United States of America, it turned into ‘cashmere’ pashmina wool and feeds on the demand of the wedding industry for the wedding pashmina and the bridal shawl, as well as everyday accessorising.
The dominance of cashmere pashmina industry found its origin in the hands of 15th century Kashmiri ruler, Zayn-ul-Abidin, from where it began to be traded to various countries of the western world. Thus, a specific wool fibre of Indian domain, found its wide acceptance in the world market courtesy to its soft, silky nature. Touted as one of the most expensive fibres in present times, with its variety of colours and unique patterns, this pashmina shawl is surely a classic piece.
Going the scientific way
Given the increasing fraudulence in this sale and purchase of cashmere pashmina shawls, it is important to check out those standards that are acceptable on global terms for an ideal pashmina product. As per data provided by Cashmere and Camel Hair Institute, that fibre that is obtained from undercoat of the location specific Capra hircus laniger goat is taken to be an ideal cashmere wool. Adding to that, it is to be noted that their diameter should be within 19 microns, and the area above 30 microns should be within 3% of the fabric.
Another very important fact to note is that, pashmina fabric is extremely soft and silky in nature, but lacks the gloss that is found in case of other fibres. Rather, when this fibre is mixed with silk, does this matte look get covered and sheen is developed. So, one should be extremely specific in regards to get a cashmere pashmina shawl and check whether the standards match up or not. Only when a minimum of 70% of a product is made of specific cashmere type pashmina, it can be considered ideal.
How to ensure quality of this product
In most cases, it has been found that a number of sellers have fooled customers by selling off acrylic or rayon based products as pashminas, at a much lower price. However, a true cashmere pashmina has its unique quality that can be used to determine its actual stance.
Get a fringe of a declared pashmina fibre and light it up, waiting for it to burn. Since, pashmina is pure hair, hence, the smell will be of that of a burning hair, rather than some plastic content. This material retains its prior matte condition. However, there are other ‘tests’ as well to determine quality of this product, that are increasingly being used by traders originating in the Nepal region.
Today, cashmere pashminas can be found in a range of colours including the black pashmina and white pashmina but what doesn’t change is the style – a true cashmere pashmina will always be a simple, plain elegant wrap to subtly compliment the outfit it is matching.