Differences Between Cashmere And Pashmina


Many people don’t know much the difference between Cashmere and pashmina. They are important for people to wear or decorate with their clothing. And the prices for them are not too cheap, so it is necessary for us to know more about the difference between them when we buy a cashmere or pashmina.


We travel through the Indian Himalayan Mountains where we buy Cashmere Shawls and Pashminas.


We work with a family that for 4 generations has dedicated all there soul and heart to the craft of these sublime textiles. Samir, the eldest Son, welcome us with a typical Kashmiri tea, sweet and with spices and our conversation flows through the afternoon. Here, business is done in a different way with no rush and with the attention to detail that this exquisitive shawls deserve.


Beside this Family, we also work with a women’s cooperative in a Himalayan region where Pashmina weaving was not a tradition. The Shawls and Throws that we buy here are very different! They are woven with thicker threads and only in Pashm natural colours that vary from shades of ivory white to fawn or brown.


Pashmina and Cashmere origins


Even though cashmere wool has borough its name from the Himalayan region of Cashmere, it was not exclusively harvested and produced in that area. Originally the goats were widespread through out all the high Himalayan range and the wool took over this name only because, Cashmere was the solo place where there were artisans and craftsmen capable of spinning and weaving this thin fibre.


Cashmereis harvested from different subspecies of Goats that live in herds through out the High Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese Himalayas. More recently and due to the increasing world demand for this exquisitive wool, goat’s populations have been introduced to Mongolian and Chinese regions that have the same characteristics of there original habitat.


Within the Cashmere wool classification there is a very interesting sub classification, the Pashm wool. This Persian/Farsi word designates a kind of wool produced by the Changthangi or Tibetan goat during the winter and when they inhabit mountains of more than 4000 meters high. Pashmina is the name given to the shawl or textile produced from the Pashm wool.


The scarce food and low temperatures found at these altitudes, induce the goats to produce a very thin undercoat on the belly region and throat to protect them from the freezing wind gusts and to prevent heat escaping from there body.


Differences between Cashmere and Pashm wool


Pashm Wool

Cashmere wool

·     It is the undercoat of the Changthangi goats that live at altitudes above 4000 metres high.

·     It is thinner and softer than Cashmere.

·    Very hard to spin as it is very thin.

·    Its diameter varies between 10 e 16 mícron.

·    As it is only harvested from this specific goat and as they only produce between 80 to 170g per year it is very hard to find.

·    It is the undercoat of different species of goats that don’t need to live at such high altitudes to produce this fleece.

·    It is thicker and harsher than Pashm wool.

·    As it is thicker it is much easier to spin

·    Its diameter varies between 16 e 19 mícron.

·    As it is harvested from different sub species of goats that produce this fleece in more quantity, it is easier to find.



Care instructions


To maintain your Cashmere or Pashmina shawl as beautiful as when you bought it, you should hand wash or dry clean it. Never use a washing machine!


If hand washing it, use only cold water and do not soak it. Use baby shampoo well diluted in the water (Ex: Johnson baby shampoo) as it has in its constitution proteins that will make your Cashmere or Pashmina stronger. Never use normal clothes’ detergents or softeners.


You can start by filling up a tub with cold water and soaking your shawl or scarf for a couple of minutes. After, get it out and add to the water a drop of Shampoo, mix it well and place your Cashmere or Pashmina back inside. The Shawls or Scarves should be handle with care not to loose its original shape. Do not scrub it and only make sure the water as passed through every part of your Shawl. Rinse it very well.


If your Shawl has a stain, it is better to dry clean it.


To dry up your Shawls you can start by taking out the excess water rolling it up on a clean cotton towel. After, hang it on a place where it is not exposed to direct Sun and preferably with a clean towel in between the Shawl and the hanging wire so that the Cashmere or Pashmina doesn’t get damaged. Never leave it shrunk while wet.



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