|A revelation. Rich and
captivating in feel. Kashmir's warmth trapped and harnessed by master weavers. An
aesthetic treat for your eyes.
Pashmina - the Tibetan name for cashmere, is
the soft underbelly fur of mountain goats which live in the foothills of the Himalayas and
on the high Tibetan Plateau. Every summer, herders pluck the under fur from the goats and
after cleaning and spinning, a fine cashmere yarn is produced.
Pashmina is famous for its luxurious softness and lustre. For centuries, craftsmen and
women in India,Tibet and the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal have woven it into beautiful
There are many inaccuracies in the press about Pashmina and where it comes from and who
uses it. Our information comes from our vast experience of generations about the rare and
beautiful fiber. We've done our best to sort out fact from fiction but those who really
know still have a natural reluctance to tell the whole truth while those who don't spin
tales to any ready ear.
Pashmina is the best cashmere wool in the world. It only comes from Kashmir and Tibet. It
comes from Capra Hircus, the same goat cashmere comes from. Only this one lives way up in
the Himalayas. At heights of 12,000 to 14,000 feet or more where there is little
vegetation and extremely cold winters. The hardy little goats which live up there have
little extra protein and nutrition to grow thick coats of hair. Nature blessed them with a
very thin, short inner coat of hair which is the best natural insulation in the world.
This inner coat of hair is Pashmina. In fact the word "pashm" means inside.
Pashmina is only 12-14 microns thick. A human hair is 75 microns thick.
About 200 years ago Europeans discovered the woolen shawls of Kashmir, fabric so fine it
could pass through a ring, and with a tender cloud like embrace provide the warmth of a
woolen coat. The Kashmiris, proud of their skills were not about to give away the secrets
of Pashmina. They knew no one in the world possessed their skill in working with these
delicate fibers, but they also knew they couldn't resist for long the demands for their
prized Pashmina. So rare and exotic it is that even the coarsest Pashmina wool was enough
to satisfy the foreigners and it's this wool that taken back to Europe became known as
cashmere. Found in abundance in other areas of the Himalayas, primarily China and Mongolia
it was easily woven into thick yarns for sweaters and coats. All the while the real
secret, the wispy delicate wool that floated in a breeze, remained locked away in the
Even when foreigners were able to obtain the real Pashmina, they didn't possess the skill
to clean and process it. The best machines were no match for the nimble,experienced
fingers of Kashmiri women who patiently pick out every course hair and then hand spin it
into yarn which is almost transparent. Western fashion enamored with the softness of thick
cashmere sweaters and coats ignored the wonderful delicate hand of real pashmina - Until
Ignited by the craze, Indian Pashmina is gaining in recognition and demand. Those who
experience the gossamer lightness, softness and warmth of a Pashmina wrap hardly look
twice at plain old cashmere.