The pashmina or Cashmere
The pashmina or Cashmere,is also known as ” the Queen of fibres” because of its unique qualities-light, soft and warm. Pashmina has been valued for centuries throughout Asia and the Middle East and the wonderful qualities of pashmina are now making it just as popular in the West.
Initially in the olden days dating back to the time of Mughal empires, cashmere was used for manufacturing shawls and stoles only and was only used by the Royal families because of its unaffordable price due to time consuming manufacturing process.
However in the mid 1990s with modern technology, the selecting of the fibers in an easy and fast way has made this wonderful fiber within the reach of everyone and hence started gaining its popularity and awareness throughout the world and soon entered the world of vast volume of knitwear section. Today cashmere has reached every corners of the world’s high end fashion world.
The word Pashmina came from the Persian word Pashm meaning soft wool and the word Cashmere was derived from the old spelling of Kashmir –“ Kashmere” a northern Indian state where this wool was brought in from Ladakh-an Indian state in the extreme North sharing boarder with Tibet and is woven into shawls and stoles.
This wool Pashmina/cashmere comes from a special breed of mountain goat called Capra Hicus or Changra, indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayans in Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan and Northern India. At height of 12000 to 14000 feet above sea level, this mountain goat can survive the extreme cold weather of minus 40 degree Celsius during the winter season only because of this wool- Cashmere. Astonishingly, this wool has a fiber thickness of less than 15 -19 Microns only or equivalent to 1/6th of our human hair which makes it such a soft and light.
During spring (the moulting season) the goats sheds their inner wool from the chest, neck and the under belly and is collected and spun to produce Cashmere.
There is no doubt that cashmere is the Queen of all fabrics, prized by rulers and royals for hundreds of years, since it provides unique qualities such as: softness, warmth, lightweight and lasting. These qualities ultimately offer the wearer of cashmere an extraordinary feeling of quality, comfort, beauty, elegance and luxury.