Strong chilly winds blowing on a cold winter evening, if I say you are sure to stay warm just by wrapping a delicate Pashmina around your body would you believe me? You would, after you discover about this finest cashmere wool.
The word “Cashmere” comes from Kashmir, the mountainous region of northern India. "Pashmina" comes from the Persian word “Pashm or Pashmineh” meaning wool. Pashmina is made with the finest cashmere wool, combed from the undercoat of a native Himalayan mountain goat called Chyangra or Pashmina goat found in the hilly side of Himalayas in India and Nepal. The Chyagra are said to possess the finest, lightest and the warmest variety of cashmere wool fibres. With Pashmina on their underbellies, if these goats can live at an altitude of 12 000 ft to 14 000 ft and sub-zero temperatures, so can you!
Known for its extreme softness, warmth and sophistication, Pashmina has voyaged over centuries and countries. The woollen shawls made from wool in Kashmir find its mention on paper in Indian texts between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, the founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, together with weavers from Central Asia. Kashmir, the place of origin of Pashmina has always been renowned for its artistry. For centuries, Kashmir was the only place the fibre could be woven into cashmere shawls. The pashmina cottage industry also benefited from the patronage of the Mughal rulers like Akbar and his successors, and the support of the local government.
Pashmina fabrics are legendary for their extreme smoothness, lightweight and warmth. The quality of pashmina depends upon the making process. To produce a pashmina, the goats are brushed to extract the longest and most silky hairs. The fibres are then sorted out and washed by hand. The fine hairs are then spun with hands and weaved on a wooden spun following the ancestral practice. The material acquired is of the colour of the goat, which is white. In big buckets of water with natural colouring agents the workers then tint the white cloth. The magic these weavers create with their hands gives Pashmina the exceptional quality of highlighting the beauty of any outfit which is worn with it.
Although, Pashmina is a thin fabric, it can give tremendous warmth to the body. This is primarily because the fine fabric allows trifling or no passage of external air when wrapped around the body and comforts in keeping the body safe and warm irrespective of the outside cold weather conditions. Handmade pashmina products or pashmina garments are tighter, finer, warmer and luxurious as compared to other fabrics. The diameter of the pure pashmina is 12 to 13.5 microns in diameter. Pashmina is a delicate material and hence should treat it carefully. The best way to keep your pashmina clean is to hand wash it or if possible give it for dry-cleaning. For machine wash it is recommended you run on a delicate wash cycle in cold water.
Pashmina shawls and stoles are much adored. Often blended with silk, Pashmina stoles, shawls, scarves and outfits make classy statements. It's stunning over an evening dress for special occasions, as well as any casual wear. Pashmina shawl is known as the “Ring shawl” because it is so fine that it can glide through a woman's ring butter-softly! It is also termed as “Soft Gold” for its lightness and luxury. Pashmina shawls are so elegant and luxurious with a range of intricate weave in an array of colours, you'll love it at first sight. Your gentle skin will absolutely love the touch of the finest cashmere wool. See it, enjoy it, it’s a pride to own it!!