Pashmina refers to a type of fine
cashmere wooland the textilesmade from it.cite book |last= Franck|first= Robert R.|title=Silk, Mohair, Cashmere and Other Luxury Fibres |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=M-om7HI3rwcC&pg=PA142&vq=pashmina&dq=cashmere+pashmina&lr=&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&source=gbs_search_s&sig=ACfU3U3kA5WpJP7CKvHEXVHVm2bu22iDhw |accessdate= 2008-07-08|year=2001 |month= October |publisher= Woodhead Publishing|isbn= 1855735407|pages=p.142 ] The name comes from "Pashmineh", made from Persian "pashm" (= "wool")."Pashmina." "The Oxford English Dictionary". 2nd ed. 1989.] This wool comes from changthangior pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goatindigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas. The wool has been used for thousands of years to make high-quality shawls that also bear the same name.
Pashmina is an Urdu and Persian word which only became popular after the so-named shawls, woven in Kashmir, started being popular in the west. Pashmina shawls were originally shawls hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fiber.cite book |last= Morse|first= Linda|coauthors= Lidia Karabinech, Lina Perl, Colby Brin|title=Luxury Knitting: The Ultimate Guide to Exquisite Yarns |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=r2N05Gz_FUsC&pg=PA12&dq=cashmere+pashmina&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U3oMlvpaskBe5tS3laCsAGGcNlpsA#PPA12,M1|accessdate= 2008-07-08|year=2005 |month= October |publisher= Sterling Publishing|isbn= 1931543860|pages=p.12 ]
The fiber is also known as "pashm" or "pashmina" for its use in the handmade shawls of Kashmir,
India. [Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "cashmere".] The woolen shawls made from wool in Kashmirregion of India find written mention between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "kashmir shawl".] However, the founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, "Zayn-ul-Abidin", who introduced weavers from Central Asia. Cashmereshawls have been manufactured in Kashmirand Nepalfor thousands of years. The test for a quality pashmina is warmth and feel.
The goat sheds its winter coat every spring. One goat sheds approximately 3-8 ounces of the
To meet the demands of cashmere lovers, the goats are now commercially reared in the
GobiDesert area in Inner and Outer Mongolia. The region has identical harsh weather conditions to those of the Himalayan region, and is thereby apt for the goats to grow this inner wool, but also has acres of grazing ground to produce cashmere economically and commercially. During spring (the molting season) the goats shed this inner wool, which regrows in winter. The inner wool is collected and spun to produce cashmere. The quality of the cashmere produced in the Gobi Desert is just as high as that produced in the Himalayas, while the costs are less.
Pashmina accessories are available in a range of sizes, from "scarf" (12" x 60") to "
wrap" or " stole" (28" x 80") to full sized shawl (36" x 80"). Pure pashmina is a rather gauzy, open weave, as the fiber cannot tolerate high tension. The most popular pashmina fabric is a 70% pashmina/30% silkblend, but 50/50 is also common. The 70/30 is tightly woven, has an elegant sheen and drapes nicely, but is still quite soft and light-weight.
shawlcan range in cost from as little as about $35US for a pure pashmina scarfor up to thousands of $US for a super high-quality pure pashmina shawl. They are known for their softness and warmth. A craze for pashminas in the mid-1990s resulted in high demand for pashminas, so demand exceeded supply.
When pashmina shawls rose into fashion prominence during the mid-'90s, they were marketed dubiously. Cashmere used for pashmina shawls was claimed to be of a superior quality, which was really due to the enhanced sheen and softness that the fabric (cashmere blended with silk) had. In the consuming markets, pashmina shawls were redefined as a shawl/wrap with cashmere and silk, notwithstanding the actual meaning of pashmina. Some shawls marketed as pashmina shawls contain wool, while other unscrupulous companies marketed the man-made fabric
viscoseas "pashmina" with deceptive marketing statements as "authentic viscose pashmina".
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