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Pashmina - Cashmere Handknitted in Nepal
In recent decades, pashmina has gained significant international acclaim for its exceptional balance of warmth and weight. Pashmina is a type of wool, meticulously sourced from the undercoat of the Cashmere goat of various breeds. Often referred to as Capra hircus laniger (the wool-bearing domestic goat), these goat breeds are primarily raised in elevated regions of Central Asia, notably Mongolia. However, due to the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and the decline in goat herds in Ladakh, China has emerged as a dominant force in pashmina production over the past few decades.
The term 'Pashmina' is synonymous with Kashmiri cashmere products, while Cashmere produced in Nepal is known as 'chyangra pashmina,' which translates to 'goat cashmere.' Both 'Pashmina' and 'Cashmere' are internationally recognized terms signifying luxurious, soft, and high-quality fibers. The creation of pashmina involves a meticulous and intricate process, and its price can vary significantly depending on its quality.
Pashmina shawls are traditionally quite large, with the typical full size being 95 x 203 cm (36" x 80"). Surprisingly, even petite Asian women find full-size shawls comfortable to wear. Thanks to the fabric's lightweight nature, it can be easily folded lengthwise and widthwise, ensuring the generous dimensions are never a hindrance. In addition to shawls, a variety of other cashmere items are available in the market, including cashmere sweaters, cashmere scarves, and more. These items can also feature intricate designs like embroidered pashmina.
Pashmina can be produced both by machine and by hand, with the hand-loomed and handmade versions being particularly prized. Interestingly, pashmina becomes even softer with use, a characteristic that not everyone is aware of. To compensate for this, some producers use chemical softeners, while others resort to brushing the pashmina to achieve a fluffier texture. However, it's important to note that excessive brushing can weaken the fabric. Remarkably, even a vintage pashmina from your grandmother's collection will retain its lustrous quality, making it a timeless and cherished possession.
For those seeking the finest pashmina products, it's essential to understand the intricacies of production, quality variations, and the cultural significance of this exquisite wool. Whether you're looking for a luxurious shawl to adorn your shoulders or an elegant scarf to complement your attire, pashmina offers an unparalleled blend of warmth, style, and sophistication.