Pashmina wool is known for its softness, luxuriousness and is also called the best wool in the world. Pashmina shawls are fashioned by a lengthy and labor intensive process in which fine Cashmere wool of a Himalayan goat is ethically acquired and processed for years to furnish the world-famous Kashmiri Pashmina. In addition to the process itself, there are a number of other things that make it special, making it popular amongst celebrities since the fifteenth century.
Pashmina is the art of creating luxury apparel and accessories from the downy undercoat of the Himalayan goat. The knowledge of weaving a Pashmina by hand has been passed down for centuries in Kashmir, India. A Pashmina fabric (especially shawls) has a timeless grace and demands the very best craftsmanship. The finest Kashmiri wool is derived from the Himalaya region where there is a height of 12000-14,000 feet. This wool has been defined as the best wool in the world due to its high thermal conductivity. Here, we get some of the best cashmere wool due to its thickness and very thin inner hair coat. The fiber of pashmina measures 15 to 19 microns thick, and produces 3-8 ounces of pashmina per year.
During the olden days, shawls with EMPERORS, KINGS, PRINCES, RULERS, and NOBLES could be found. The fabric became more precious and a luxury for every king. These royal fabrics are now also called shawls, stoles, scarves, and sweaters. It has become one of the traditional fashions for every family in the olden days and still, it is known for its best trends from generation to generation.
We all love to wrap our Pashmina shawls, but only a few of us are aware of some interesting facts about this favorite clothing option. Lets us explore some of the amazing facts about Pashmina below:
1. The minute Micron count of the fiber
Micron count is a measure of the diameter of a wool thread. The smaller the micron count, the finer the thread and the lighter the fabric made from it. Human hair has an average micron count of 50. Ladakhi Cashmere is four times thinner than human hair. A Kashmiri Pashmina shawl is made of Ladakhi Cashmere, which is finer than Kashmiri Cashmere.
2. Immensely Lightweight and hence easy to carry
Since the count of each fiber is just 12 to 16 microns, it makes a Pashmina shawl extremely lightweight. A full-size women's shawl is around 450 grams in weight. This makes it easy to carry, and the most preferred accessory to be worn in winters. A large shawl can also be tied to a bag if the weather is warm enough to remove it. That is how soft and flimsy the shawl is. For this reason, Pashmina shawls traveled all across the globe, when women learned about a shawl which was warmer than the warmest of shawls, but lightweight like barely there.
3. The warmth of a Pashmina Shawl is exemplary
Pashmina shawls are exceptionally warm and comfortable to wear. One can stay warm with just a Pashmina shawl. Women often claim that a Cashmere shawl is enough to keep them warm and comfortable, and that they don't even need to wear a sweater or jacket. Pashmina shawls are a natural insulator. They trap the heat inside and prevent the cold from reaching the skin. A Pashmina is therefore the safest place to hide during a long winter season or even a sudden dip in temperature.
4. Handmade from acquisition to selling
A Pashmina shawl is handcrafted. Cashmere comes from the Changthangi goat in Ladakh. During the spring season, goats shed their skin, which is collected by their herders. The cashmere fiber is then cleaned and sold.
The spinning process begins with a wooden spinning wheel. These threads are spun by women and transformed into 12-micron threads. Pashmina shawls are woven from these threads by men on handlooms. If handled harshly, the finesse and flimsy base cannot withstand the strain of machine embroidery. As a result, the fineness and flimsy base cannot withstand the strain of machine embroidery, and is easily torn if treated harshly.
5. Shawls that take years to complete
In some cases, it takes years for a Pashmina shawl to be completed. Five to six years are required to complete Jamawar shawls, which have been embroidered by hand all over the base. Fine embroidery patterns take years to complete because artisans can stitch up to an inch a day. Patrons of this fine art patiently wait for the product to come out in the market, which fills them with delight when it becomes the crown of their wardrobes.
6. Less production, more demand
Cashmere production is significantly lower than other types of wool. Considering that Changthangi goats produce only 150 grams of wool per year, 3 or 4 goats are needed to make one large Pashmina shawl that measures 200 cm by 100 cm (L*B).Herders have to wait for the goats to shed their hair, each year, so that they can collect it. Similarly, spinners must wait for herders to clean the wool and send it to them, weavers must wait for spinners to change lumps of wool into fine threads, embroidery artisans must wait for weavers, etc. Ultimately, it is the client who must have patience, and wait for the masterpiece to arrive.
The demand for pashmina has been high for centuries. Pashmina users dislike the fact that less is produced, which is one of the cons of pashmina. However, as admirers of fine art, they never complain, and are always patiently awaiting their prized possession.
7. The Expensive art of Pashmina
Pashmina shawls tend to have a high price because the production is low, the processing is manual and time-consuming, and the demand is high. You can find shawls for as little as a hundred dollars, or for as much as a few thousand dollars. The price of a shawl is determined by a variety of factors, including the technique, the time taken, the embroidery pattern, the weave pattern, and much more. Even though some may complain about the high prices, others take the time to explain why Pashmina shawls are worth every penny.
8. A Lifetime with Pashmina
Pashmina is a lifetime investment. Handmade from the purest Cashmere threads, a Pashmina will last a lifetime. Traditionally, the newlywed bride of ancient Kashmir was presented with her mother's shawl on the day of the wedding. The shawl looks brand new despite its age of 30 years. Some believe these shawls would have acquired an heirloom look, and would have looked more regal and embellished than they would if they were brand new.
Pashmina shawls travel through generations. But it is just pure shawls that do so. A fake or mixed Pashmina shawl won't last for more than 3 or 4 years.
9. Timeless Pashmina shawls
The versatility of the pashmina shawl makes it suitable for women of all generations. Among the elderly women, you will find shawls that have been hand-embroidered and Kani shawls. Among the younger women, you will find prints and patterns that are in style. Therefore, another reason to love Pashmina is its ageless nature and the fact that there is a Pashmina for everyone.
These are some amazing facts that overwhelm one who owns a Pashmina shawl. Many of us who own Pashmina shawl do not do anything more than its warmth. Others who know all do not own one. Hence, as stated earlier, our fashion experts recommend every woman to own at least one Pashmina shawl, or scarf, or wrap, and be the queen of style that she always wanted to be.
10. Softness that is unparalleled
Pashmina shawls are incredibly soft and smooth which makes a full shawl pass through a finger-ring. Sellers use this amazing fact to show the purity of Pashmina shawls. However, passing through a finger ring is just evidence of Pashmina shawls being unimaginably soft, smooth, and fine. It has got nothing to do with the purity or originality of the shawl.
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