For years it has been used by weavers in Kashmir
(hence "cashmere"), a disputed area between Pakistan and
India. Due to the ongoing war there, much of the production
has been relocated to other parts of India. Wool from the
same goats, but of a higher quality (a couple of microns
thinner, in general) has been used to produce "pashmina"
Shahtoosh, on the other hand, is a fiber
derived from the under coat of an endangered Tibetan antelope,
and is illegal in most Western countries. It is, unbelievably
soft, smooth and warm and are much more expensive than pashmina.
2. Are PashminaStores.Com pashmina
products really as good as the stuff they're selling at
the department stores?
In a word: Yes. Actually pashmina is hand
made products. Therefore the quality of pashmina depends
upon the making process. Hand made pashmina products or
pashmina garments are more finer, tighter, warmer and luxurious
than the machine made pashmina garments or pashmina products.
Since the diameter of the pure pashmina a is 15 to 19 microns
in diameter it is difficult to spun the pashmina wool by
machine. Therefore hand spun is required to make pashmina
wool. Do not be misled by fancy designer labels! Most pashmina
textiles are woven by local craftsmen in Nepal; the big
names are just attached later. Actually, some of the pashmina
shawls or pashmina stoles sold by the biggest importers
are machine-made: that's the only way they can assure themselves
of a reliable supply, not to mention lower cost. However,
there is a difference! Hand-woven pashmina garments or pashmina
products are finer, smoother, warmer, tighter and luxurious
than that of machine made pashmina products or pashmina
garments. To spot a machine-made wrap, look at the fringe
base: machines make an unnaturally straight edge. We www.pashminastores.com
sells only textiles handcrafted by experienced weavers
from Nepal and who have been in this pashmina weaving business
3. I see references to "100% pashmina",
as well as "70% Pashmina and 30% Silk Blended Pashmina"
and "50% Pashmina and 50% Silk Blended Pashmina". What's
that all about? And what's a "ring shawl"?
Actually these are the quality of pashmina
wool. 100% pashmina refers to the pure pashmina wool and
no silk is blended in 100% pashmina. 70% pashmina and 30%
silk blended pashmina refers to pashmina wool that has the
mixture of 70% pure pashmina wool and 30% silk. And the
50% pashmina and 50% silk blended pashmina has a mixture
of 50% pure pashmina and 50% silk. The different quality
of pashmina wool have their own plus and minus aspects.
Some customers prefers 100% pashmina products where some
customers prefers 70% pashmina with 30% silk blended pashmina
products. Some even prefers 50% pashmina with 50% silk blended
pashmina products. The best-selling Pashminas -- sometimes
advertised as "pure" -- are really of 70% wool and 30% silk.
Some marketers try to gain a competitive advantage by claiming
75% Pure Pashmina wool with 25% Silk Blended or 80% Pure
Pashmina wool with 20% Silk Blended Pashmina, but the difference
is unsubstantial. True 100% pure pashmina is obviously softer,
lighter, finer, luxurious and warmer than silk blends. However,
the 100% pashminas or Cashmere are not as strong as the
70% pashmina and 30% silk blend, and any other quality of
pashmina products and they lack the sheen and the elegant
drape of the silk, which some people prefer.
The "ring shawl" is a full-sized 100% pure
pashmina shawl that theoretically is fine enough to pass
through a ring. Longer, finer fibers are better because
they are much softer, that's why a large (82 x 32) shawl
made of finest cashmere fibers can pass through a ring,
this kind of precious Pashmina shawl is known as the ring
shawl because it is so fine that it can easily pass through
a woman's ring. This shawl is so elegant and luxurious you'll
love it at first sight. It conveys not only affluence but
also taste and elegance.
It's stunning over an evening gown for special occasions,
as well as casual wear at home. Ring shawl is practically
weightless (just less than 5 ounces) yet warmer than wool
shawls two or three times the weight, not to mention the
soft touch that you can never find from a wool shawl! Indulge
yourself or someone you love in the ultimate wrap and that will
give a lifetime of pleasure. Let us make sure that ring
shawl mentioned here is not to be misunderstood with the
ring shawl (Shahtoosh) made from endangered Tibetan Antelope
wool which is considered illegal in most western countries.
4. I've seen some pashminas that
are a lot cheaper than the products you offer. What gives?
Well the main answer of this question lies
in the quality of pashmina products we offer. Some of the
shawls and scarves being marketed as pashmina are made in
India and other places, and are likely to be inferior...
not bad, but just not the real stuff. Even in Nepal, shawls,
stoles and scarves in the pashmina style have been made
for years; the cheaper products are made from acrylics,
or from regular wool and cotton. Unfortunately, the word
"pashmina" has acquired a rather broad generic meaning.
In fact, the shawls, stoles, scarves that are most popular
in the West today are woven from a blend of pashmina wool
and silk, yet everyone refers them as "pashmina."
What other factors contribute to the quality
in pashmina or Cashmere shawls?
The main factors, of course, are the specific
fabric blend, and the style of looming ("hand" or "machine").
A relatively minor cost factor is the dye. We use Swiss
dyes to compete the quality.
Somebody got a really fluffy pashmina from
Nepal. How come I don't see pictures of shawls like hers?
Many first-time pashmina/Cashmere buyers
(including quite a few tourists) are attracted by the fuzzy
look and feel of brushed wraps. Brushing, however, weakens
the cloth, induces shedding, and turns your wrap into a
dust mop for lint.
5.What's with the dimensions of
the "full-size" shawls What's up with that?
Conventionally, the full-size is supposed
to measure 82" x 32" or some weavers go for 35" x 78". The
natural un dyed pashminas may correspond to these values,
but the cloth shrinks in length by about 4% (roughly 3")
during the dying process. These days there has been some
attempt to compensate for the shrinkage by increasing the
measurements. At the same time, it is very hard to arrive
at an objective measurement of such an elastic cloth. Remember
that these are supposed to be hand-woven, with some variability
in weaving style, loom tension, and so on: naturally there
is inconsistency in the precise measurements. Some sellers
prefer to advertise the maximum dimensions; others feel
safer advertising minimum measurements. We state dimensions
that are nearer the minimum -- generally the true measurements
are a bit longer. However pashmina shawls or stoles or mufflers
or scarves or blankets can be made in any sizes as per the
order of customers but the minimum requirement i.e. 25 of
each of pashmina products have to be ordered.
6.Somebody says to get a "two-ply"
shawl. I kind of like the "single-ply." What do you think?
"Two-ply" shawls are made by doubling up
the pashmina threads. The result is a thicker cloth, which
might feel more plush: remember, however, that with Pashmina,
lightness is the prime factor. In one ply pashmina the pashmina
shawls and other pashmina products are made in single pashmina
threads. Therefore single ply pashmina products are lighter
and softer than the two ply pashmina products. But the warmth
of the pashmina is not much difference because it is the
the wool of the Chyangra (Capra Hircus) goat which keeps
warm. There is no more differences between the two types
of pashmina products. Both single and two ply pashmina products
have their own plus and minus aspects.