Difference between Cashmere and pashmina

Difference between Cashmere and Pashmina

The difference between Cashmere and Pashmina has always been a long debate. Cashmere is a term that is usually used in Europe and describes a soft clothing material that has origins in the Himalayan region in South East Asia while pashmina is a term used by the local people originated from the word pashm, which means the wool obtained from the inner hair of specific goats. In the Nepali Language word “Pashmina” mean Cashmere

There are different breeds of Himalayan goats like Chegu goat of Himachal Pradesh (India), and Chyangara from Nepal, and also subspecies of the goat in Tibet, China, and Magnolia, which are found more than 4000 meters above sea level.

The unique factor of this woolen industry in the Himalayan region of South Asia is that instead of sheep wool, the craftsmen collect the fiber from goats found in the Himalayan valley. When the European first experienced this material in Kashmir, they coined the word Cashmere from there only. The Pashmina shawls reached Europe by the 18th century and had taken the European markets and French fashion industry by a riot and started infiltrating the markets by the end of the 18th century. The high-quality Pashmina shawls were imported from South East Asia to Europe. Pashmina was widely known as Cashmere after it reached Europe.

Cashmere vs Pashmina

Cashmere is a wide term that defines all the wool from the Himalayan Goat and Pashmina is the wool of Himalayan goats exclusively to a specific breed called Capra Hircus. Pashmina fiber is thinner which is 10-15 microns and the basic Cashmere fabric has a 15-19 microns diameter. The fibers from premium sheep’s wool such as Merino extra fine, are 23 microns thick. Thus pashmina is exceptionally light, soft, and warm and feels luxurious against the ski Due to the thin texture of the Pashmina, it is necessary to hand-spun the wool and manually weave them to make beautiful shawls, scarves, throws, and wraps with utmost care.

On the other hand, wool from other Himalayan Cashmere is easier to spin. The wool is harvested from these goats during the spring when these animals shed their soft undercoat. These hairs are collected, separated, cleaned, combed, and spun to prepare them for final use. 

The main difficulty lies in the fact that, unlike Kashmir, pashmina fiber has never been protected by a brand. Bought by a large company, the brand PASHMINA uses labels that do not indicate the composition of the material.

From a legal standpoint, the pashmina is not recognized material. The name 100% Pashmina on labels masks synthetic fibers such as viscose fabric or polyester.

However, with a rich tradition and a quality reputation that is centuries old, the term “pashmina” in the minds of consumers leaves a lot of confusion which unscrupulous traders can easily take advantage of.

The word Pashmina is so widely used – and legally – to designate a simple fabric with fringes, here are the different materials that you might encounter :

Viscose: The most frequent imitation. Soft fabric, smooth to the touch, and slightly shiny. It wrinkles easily. 

Acrylic: soft synthetic fabric that tends to wrinkle, pill, and accumulate static.

Cashmere Silk: tightly woven, soft, and slightly shiny, complete with braided fringes. It is a natural and pleasant material but less expensive than pure Pashmina. 

Wool: sheep wool can be woven into diamond patterns and chemically made ​​softer. It is the imitation that is most difficult to tell apart from real pashmina. However, the fiber is less soft, less light, and less hot. And cheaper! But it is still a natural fiber.

Machine woven cashmere: It is not a pashmina strictly speaking since it is not woven by hand but woven industrially with Mongolian cashmere which has been added a nylon thread to make it more resistant to the tension of the machine. This nylon thread is then dissolved in a chemical bath. Its appearance and touch are almost identical to that of a pashmina: only a very trained eye manages to recognize it.

At Alchemy Story all our cashmere is pashmina grade authentic hand-woven and hand-loomed in Nepal is soft, light, crease-resistant, and immediately warm to wear. There might be slight weaving t irregularities mostly due to the handloom nature.

We can say that Pashmina is the finer version of Cashmere. No matter, whether you have a Pashmina or Cashmere shawl; it is your duty to keep the product safe as both of them have some exceptional qualities for which these are considered among the most luxurious fabrics in this world. You have to follow some basic guidelines for its care to enjoy this exclusive woolen material for years and years.

For more information click here for Cashmere Care Guide.

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