This Week’s Top Story: Nepali Pashmina or Cashmere

By iMartNepal 5 years ago 9962

The softest, highly delicate and fluffy pashmina is considered to be the unique piece of fabric that has been supplied by the dexterity of Nepalese. Nepali Pashmina is a form of handicraft which can be regarded as a high quality handmade woolen product with multipurpose usage. It is characterized by an incredibly soft finish, which is a result of delicate fibers that are almost silky to the touch. Basically, the warmth and the qualities are the main factors on which the pashmina is judged. But not all Pashmina is equally luxe: The texture, color, and length of the fibers all affect manufacturing and pricing.

Pashmina products have found to be the third largest overseas export in the country along with readymade garment and hand knitted woolen carpet. In ancient times “Pashmina” was found in unblended form but these days it can also be found with the combination of silk, cotton and many more. In the long run with the varied experience and Pashmina yarn and silk yarn were combined. This result to produce better durability, fiber-strength, color-pleasantness, and well-finishing touch which become most prevalent all over the world and recognized as “Nepalese Pashmina”.

Pashmina came to be known as ‘cashmere’ in the West because Europeans first encountered this fabric in Kashmir. Being the finest natural insulating fiber it is also recognized as the Diamond fiber. For thousands of years, Cashmere or Pashmina shawls have been manufactured in Nepal. The pashmina’s history was allied with ancient civilization. During those days it was considered as the Fibre for Royals & Emperors only. People living in the high Himalayas discovered the essence and wonder of Pashmina.

What animal is pashmina wool from?

Pashmina is the fiber made up with the extract from the Himalayan goat also recognize as Chyangra which live in the Himalayan belt at the altitude above 14,000 feet above sea level. This unique coat of hair is about 1/6 of the diameter of any other types of hair.

The wool comes from four distinct breeds of the Cashmere goat; namely the Changthangi or Kashmir Pashmina goat from the Changthang Plateau in Kashmir region, the Malra from Kargil area in Kashmir region, the Chegu from Himachal Pradesh in northern India, and Chyangara or Nepalese Pashmina goat from Nepal.

Quality of the Pashmina also depends on the region in which the wool is collected. Up in the Himalayas, goats grow very fine hair to keep them warm during the colder Winters, so this fine hair is much better for producing super soft Pashmina. In Inner Mongolia, for instance, the winters are harsh and the goats have a more meager diet, which produces the finer hair seen in the highest quality garments.

Types of Pashmina

Types of Pasmina vary a huge amount, and it all depends on the environmental factors around the animal it comes from. Under the latest technicalities with new experiments and proper market, this product can be found in more and more sophisticated form providing the new prospect for this Pashmina handicraft Industry.

Furthermore, the most luxurious Pashmina wool comes from the area, where the yarn is noted for its long, smooth straight fibers. As well as the thickness of the hairs, the length of the hair makes a difference in Pashmina quality. The longer each hair, the better the fabric will be in terms of pilling and achieving the fluffy quality that we love so much.

Difference between Pashmina and Cashmere

People often get confused between Cashmere scarf and Pashmina scarf, Cashmere shawl, and Pashmina shawl while there is very little difference.

Cashmere is the westernized word originated from the Kashmir region of India and Pashmina is the local name came from “Pashm” a Persian word which means wool made from a special breed of Persian goats. Traditionally, Pashmina was lighter and softer than Cashmere which is why it was predominantly used for making shawls and scarves.

Why Pashmina is much more expensive than other kinds of wool?

Its costly production process and scarcity. As mention above it comes from the soft undercoat of goats bred to produce the wool. More to this, it takes the entire annual growth of three of these goats to make just one pashmina shawl.

The fibers of the warming undercoat must be separated from a coarser protective top coat during the spring molting season, a labor-intensive process that typically involves combing and sorting the hair by hand. Plus, the fineness of a  Pashmina item comes down to that process, as the spinning and weaving of the fabric affects the look, feel, and the touch of the final product. These factors contribute to the relatively low global production rate of cashmere.

Can Pashmina be blended with other high-quality fibers?

Yes, it can be blended with other high-quality fibers. Pasmina is found to be the most durable and cozy fiber suitable for human skin providing warmth and comfort. It can be blended with conventional sheep’s wool to make a yarn that is more affordable, or with merino wool or silk to create a truly unique and special yarn.

How to tell if your Pashmina is high quality

With proper care, Pashminas can be used lifelong and we have encountered that this has been hand over from generation to generation even in Royal and wealthy families.

Normally, the higher the percentage of Cashmere in a garment, the higher quality that the product will be. Since it can be blended easily with other high-quality fibers then how to know whether the pashmina you are wearing is high quality or not!

The first thing to check whether you’re getting the good stuff or not is by looking for a tightly knitted product. A tighter knit is generally indicative of two-ply yarn. This means two pieces of yarn were twisted together in the manufacturing of the product, which means a stronger and warmer garment which will last much longer.

It’s also important to look out for bright colors – brighter hues mean the Pashmina was very clean to start with and that the dying process was first-class. Touch the product to see if it is soft and light and place it on your neck to test if it is itchy or not.

Often Cashmere is spun with silk to retain its luxurious silky soft quality, without being prone to excess pilling (those small bobbles which form on the fabric’s surface) which can happen with 100% Cashmere garments.

What distinguishes Pashmina clothing?

Material made of high-quality pashmina is wonderfully soft and very lightweight. In addition, pashmina has extraordinary thermal properties, retaining heat much longer than most other materials and for this reason, it is especially well suited for luxurious winter fashion. But during the warmer months, you don’t have to give up the alluring comfort of cashmere, because it can also be processed into a delicate summer yarn.

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How to take care of pashmina?

It is very important to note a few things about proper care and cleaning of Pashmina. A gentle handwash in cold water followed by drying flat will help your garment to retain its shape. It is best to use a special detergent designed exclusively for Pashmina. So that cashmere wool can retain its pleasant feel and outstanding properties

After extended wear, pilling can occasionally occur. In this case, some of the fibers have become knotted, causing small balls of fluff to appear on the surface of the material. But with the help of a wool razor, your favorite piece will look just like new again.


Pashmina is versatile and can be adorned on various occasions. In winters, regardless of how boring your outfit is a Pashmina scarf is a staple fashion accessory for every look you create.  The best part of these natural fibers is that it can be used for much more than just warmth. And when it comes to styling with a Pashmina scarf, nothing can beat the versatility of this fabric.