Pashmina is made from the finest cashmere wool in the world. It is
combed from the underside of the Himalayan Mountain Goat, which are
indigenous to the mountains of Central Asia. Pashmina has been valued
for centuries throughout Asia and the Middle East, and the wonderful
qualities of Pashmina are now making it just as popular in the West.
Please be assured that no animals are harmed during making of pashmina.
Pashmina wool, also known as the softest, most luxurious and the best
pashm wool in the world.
It comes from Himalayan region as finest
Kashmiri wool which is derived at the altitude of 12000 to 14000 ft.
where temperature goes down up to-40 degree centigrade. The THERMO
CONDUCTIVITY OF THE WOOL IS BEST IN THE WORLD as it survives the
animal AT -40 degree centigrade far below ZERO TEMPERATURES in virgin
pollution free climate of the world. Blessed by nature with a unique
very thin short inner coat of hair which is the best insulation in the
world and this inner coat of hair is PASHMINA. The animal is survived
because of this nature gifted hair. Pashmina fiber is less than 15-19
microns in thickness making it very soft (whereas human hair is 75
microns thick) one pashm produces 3 to 8 ounces of Pashmina per year.
Origin of Pashmina dates back to ancient civilization . Earlier in olden
days Pashmina shawls found favour with EMPERORS, KINGS, PRINCES, RULERS
and NOBLES. This precious fabric was known as FIBER FOR KINGS. Now this
royal luxury is being offered in wide variety of shawls, stoles, scarves
and sweaters. These luxurious pashmina shawls are hand woven by
traditional weavers whose families have been in the occupation since
ages and they inherit this art from their ancestors, and tradition of
this art continues from one generation to another generation. Golden
International presents shawls, stoles, scarves, throws and wraps in Pure
pashmina wool and in Silk-pashmina in all possible colors, in plain,
with embroidery work, bead work and in printed. Pure pashmina sweaters
are also available.
History of Pashmina Shawls:
The beautiful vale of Kashmir has always been famed for its craftsmanship. The weaving of
tapestry shawls was first introduced into the valley from Turkistan by
Zain-ul-Abdin, the ruler of Kashmir, in the 15th century. Production
benefited from the patronage of the Mughal rulers like Akbar and his
successors, who wore these shawls, and also because of patronage of
The collapse of the Mughal Empire left many weavers unemployed. The
situation however, was saved by the enormous increase in demand from
Europe, where the shawls became popular in the latter part of the 18th
At the beginning of the 19th century, foreign entrepreneurs started to
commission shawls especially for the French market, adapting the designs
to suit European taste. Indeed Pashmina became the rage in France after
Napoleon presented a rare shawl to Empress Josephine. With the progress
of the century, the adaptation in designs became increasingly complex.
The European market for shawls collapsed in 1870 due to a combination of
factors such as changing tastes and competition from Paisley shawls. The
economic prostration of France when she was defeated by Prussia added to
the declining European market. The Kashmiri weavers either left the
valley for Punjab or started producing embroidered shawls for tourists,
mainly British officers on furlough in colonised India.
Today Kashmiri shawls are embroidered by professional men. Lately, the
American market has opened to Pashmina as Americans discovered its
plush, soft texture. Fashion gurus now pronounce it as essential to the
wardrobe as the ubiquitous little black dress.
Definition of Pashmina:
"Pashmina" is the Persian word for pashm meaning finest wool fibre, the
"soft gold" king of fibers. Every summer, Himalayan farmers climb the
mountains to comb the fine woolen undercoat from the neck and chest of,
himalayan mountain pashm, not to be confused with the endangered Tibetan
antelope that is killed to produce shatoosh shawls. To survive the
freezing 14,000 ft-altitude environment, grows a unique, incredibly soft
pashm, inner coat, six times finer than human hair. Because it is only
14-19 microns in diameter, it cannot be spun by machines, so the downy
wool is hand-woven into shawls for export, predominantly to America and
Europe. Although they have been popular with aristocracy in Southern
Asia since the 15th Century, pashmina sales in the West suddenly took
off in 1998 when designers in London, Paris and New York started to
include them in their fashion collections. Since then the growing demand
has helped push the price down to an affordable level.
Too much confused and afraid of popularity of Pashmina as a thing of
east and bugged by its undying demand some companies to make huge
profits and confining the goods to their own registered CASHMERE as a
trade mark item for their own use and benefits and to make it highly
expensive out of reach of people as copyright and monopoly business
defined their own definition as a thing of west and to restrict the
entry of Pashmina into west by its own definitions to make huge profits
for a 100 USD pashmina shawl to sell at 1000 USD as cashmere without any
Quality of Pashmina:
Most department stores and designers retail scarves woven from 100
percent genuine fiber or blended with silk. But beware of fake "ordinary
wool" garments masquerading as pashmina on sale in less reputable shops.
"A pashmina is worn close to the face and the color must suit each
persons skin tone". The colors that are particularly fashionable this
season are shades of purple; from pale lilac to a deep violet shade of
prune. Pashmina trends this year are slightly ethnic embroidery and
pleats. Due to the timeless and season less versatility of the pashmina,
many women opt for a classic color that can be worn season after season,
perennial favorites include pink-pale shades through to bright
fuchsia-butter yellow, white and, of course, jet black.
It takes the wool from four and over 200 man-hours (spinning, weaving,
dying and decorating,) to make just one pashmina shawl. Hand-spinning
the wool for a single pashmina takes 15 days, so naturally the
labor-intensive production is reflected in the price.
The price of a Pashmina may range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to
several thousands of dollars, depending upon the craftsmanship and time
factor involved in its creation. Pure Pashmina is a luxury even in India
so local weavers combine the 12-14 micron thick Pashmina fiber with silk
or angora to impart durability and luster to the material. Although this
dilutes the purity of the fabric but pure Pashmina is coarse and too
delicate to wear.
Choosing Pashmina Shawls:
When choosing a pashmina it is important to check whether the piece is
100 percent pashmina or if it has been blended with silk. We recommend
either 100 percent or a 70/30 percent silk blend. "I find that a 90/10
percent blend fuzzes too much, as does the 80/20 percent. And anything
less that 70 percent pashmina tends to be too shiny." A 100 percent
pashmina shouldn't fluff or pill and should be colorfast. An occasional
dry clean should keep it in good condition, and it can be spot-treated
with baby shampoo and cold water and dried flat.
Kashmiri Embroidery on
Kashmiri embroidery, called kasida, is varied,
rich in color and elaborate in details and exquisite in execution. The
finest Kasida work in shawls has no 'wrong' side. Connoisseurs set great
value to the embroidery that displays similar fineness of work on both
sides of the shawl. The kasida pattern are drawn freely by the naqqash
(the designer) mostly from memory. These are inspired by the sparkling
lakes, the broad curves of the Jhelum, the breath- taking colors of the
skies at sunrise and sunset over the mountains. The naqqash also draws
upon poetic fancies and religious or philosophical themes, portraying
them in the designs. The common motifs include floral borders, paisley,
chinar leaves and buta cones.
The softer-than-Cashmere texture, the wool which grows soft with use,
the countless hours of painstaking work that go into making each shawl,
make the fabric very special. The Pashmina has a superbly textural feel,
drapes beautifully, feels soft, warm and light to the touch and will
serve a user well for years. Its timeless patterns remain eternally in
vogue. In the Indian sub- continent, Pashmina are passed down from one
generation to another.
To the credit of the traditional shawl-makers of Kashmir, the fine
Pashmina has not been made successfully elsewhere although attempts have
been made by other countries to replicate this craft, developed into an
art form by the Kashmiris. The wool offers light weight insulation
without bulk. The fibers are highly adaptable and appropriate for all
climates. A high moisture content allows insulation to change with the
relative humidity of atmosphere.
Pashmina Shawls, Stoles and Scarves:
As winter approaches, we all dig into our closet for the tired old coats
and mufflers we've worn for the past years, when what we should really
be doing is rushing out to buy this year's most fashionable accessory,
the pashmina. This luxuriously soft, warm shawl, which comes in a
rainbow of colors, can be embroidered, beaded or pleated and worn as a
simple muffler or wrapped elaborately around the body in place of a coat
or cardigan - depending on the size of course.
Since America has discovered Pashmina, it is being promoted as a stable
of the wardrobe. Although anything but cheap, Pashmina is breaking out
of its image of a status symbol meant for the elite. American designers
like Caroline Herrera and Donaletta Versarc have incorporated and
experimented with this material. The basic colors that Pashmina comes
in are grey, brown and white. However, the fabric adapts itself
beautifully to coloring. It is now available in approximately four
hundred colors and the "graduated" color scheme is definitely 'in'.
American women are also going in for shawls with bead work and
Terrorism in Kashmir has resulted in the weavers' migration to other
parts of India as they find it more and more difficult to practice the
traditional craft of their fore-fathers in an atmosphere that pervades
with the fear of death. Still, the craft survives and the Kashmiri
weavers struggle on.
You can buy Pashmina Shawls online. Click here to
buy pashmina shawls