What is Pashmina
The word Pashmina comes from the Persian word pashm meaning wool. Hence it refers to fine cashmere wool and the textiles made from it. This wool primarily comes from the pashmina goat, a special breed of goat which is found primarily in higher altitudes of the Himalayas in the Indian sub continent. The thread for the Pashmina shawls are spun by hand, the weaving done on handlooms and even the embroidery done by hand and it primarily comes from Kashmir using the fine fabric.
The pashmina shawls became famous due to their softness and warmth. Cashmere used for pashmina shawls was taken to be of a better quality compared to other wools, which primarily would be considered true due to the extra shine and softness that the fabric that came due to blending of silk. These were sold to the end customers as cashmere wool and silk blended pashimna shawls. Infact even today some people are sold wool shawls as pashmina owing to lack of knowledge of pashmina shawl.
Pashmina wool is considered by some to be incomparable to any other fibers found on the face of the planet. It has been revered and treasured through generations in Asia and the Middle East, leading to the craze for the product in the west too. Besides being warm, its dazzling array of colors make a pashmina stol or shawl extremely versatile and classy at the same time. Its other qualities are that inspite of being very strong it tends to be very flexible and light along with being soft. It can be worn comfortably with the native clothing while being equally matching with the modern or western form of the clothing. It can be worn with the morning or the evening dress too.
The price of Pashmina products vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars, depending upon the fineness of the product and the craftsmanship. The availability of rare fiber and time involved in its creation are other important parameters. Generally a lot of care goes into making of the end product and since its done with hand, the time consumption is high for a single product thus increasing the value of the final product.
When choosing pashmina one needs to know if the piece is 100 percent pashmina or if it has silk blended. The ideal one is 100% pashmina but 20-30% silk addition is tolerable in the product. A 2-ply pashmina is suitable for temperatures that go down to 2-3 degree. Below freezing temperatures, a 4 ply pashmina should be used. IT also comes as pashmina stoles, pashmina mufflers, pashmina scarves, sweaters and blankets.