Cashmere and Pashmina

Cashmere and Pashmina are products we sell proudly through our store, so we thought of posting this information about the real deal.

Cashmere

Making of Cashmere:

The story of the cashmere scarves starts in the Himalayan mountain range in India. The softest of cashmeres in the world are made by the wool of a local Himalayan goat, Chyangra (Capra Hircus). Every spring, the wool is collected from this goat.  The wool collected comes in varying softnesses. The soft fine cashmere is then separated from the thick coarser hair. Both the soft cashmere and the thicker hair are taken for further processing.

Chyangra goat

Chyangra goat

Spinning
The cashmere wool is basically spun by hand. The yarn is spun on a spinning wheel, “Charkha”. Prior to spinning, the raw material is treated by stretching and cleaning it to remove any dirt, and soaked for a few days in a mixture of rice and water to make it softer. Hand spinning is an extremely labor-intensive process. It requires immense patience, dexterity and dedication.

Weaving
The cashmere yarn is too fragile for the vibration caused by power-looms. The weaving of the traditional 100% cashmere shawls is, therefore, done on the hand-looms. It is essential for the weaver to have a uniform hand for par excellence fabric. Weaving is done here with a shuttle carrying the soft cashmere yarn through the cashmere warp. The weaving process is in itself an art, which has been passed down over generations, to give you the fabulous shawls, we offer. It takes over four days to weave a single cashmere shawl. The weaving of cashmere products differ according to the nature of cashmere products. Different looms are required to weave different cashmere products.
The cashmere shawls, cashmere stoles, mufflers, scarves, blankets and sweaters are all woven on different looms, and each takes a different amount of cashmere fibers, and time accordingly.

cashmere weaving

cashmere weaving

5. Dyeing
Dyeing is also done by hand, and each piece is dyed individually. Dyers with immense patience and generations of experience are the one who dye the cashmere shawls, scarves, and other cashmere products. Even the smallest negligence would reflect on the quality of the product, therefore this too is the work of experts. Only metal-free and azo free dyes are used. Dyeing is done at a temperature just below boiling point for nearly an hour. Cashmere wool is exceptionally absorbent, and dyes easily and deeply.
In this way a fabulous cashmere shawl, cashmere scarf, and other cashmere products are made. Pashmina, which is a very famous name in the woollen shawls category, is basically the finest and softest form of this very fine fabric.


The making of cashmere products is labor intensive, artistic and time consuming process. And so the prices are higher than any other similar product of different material. However, the beauty and quality of a cashmere scarf or a stole justify all the work that goes into it, and all the prices one has to pay to own it.
A word of caution here is necessary for all the cashmere lovers. Do not be fooled by the low priced Pashminas and cashmeres that flood the market. It is impossible to get a cashmere or Pashmina wrap for less than $30. A lot of times, these fakes are actually polyester or viscose fabric, and do not really resemble cashmere in look, or feel, or quality.

Pashmina

All fine wool is no longer Pashmina.  Only yarn and products made from the Pashmina goat (the Chyangra goat) and made in the Kashmir valley can now lay claim to the name.
The Geographical Indication Registry of India granted the Geographical Indication (GI) status to Pashmina yarn on 12 September, 2008, under the Geographical Indications Act.
A GI Status, the same that is given to Scotch whisky, Dargeeling tea and Champagne, ensures that a name can only be used by produce from a particular georaphy.
Since products such as Darjeeling tea, Champagne and Pashmina have a global market, a GI status ensures that the imitators from other geographies cannot use the name.
Pashmina, a kind of cashmere, comes from the Pashmina goat in Kashmir. Pashmina shawls and stoles are popular across the world, and bring in revenue of $ 70 – 140 million for Kashmiri artisans.
Pakistan had filed an objection to India’s award of GI status to Pashmina, claiming that the fine wool is produced in various parts of that country.
Every country has its own GI registry. Before it awards a GI status, it calls for and reviews objections from other countries. It then decides to award or not to award  GI status. Once the GI status is awarded by a national registry, it is recognized around the world.
“A consultative committee set up for this purpose rejected the objections made by Pakistan,” said an Indian government official.
The GI status is valid for ten years and can be renewed after this.
“It will be for  the better of the region and people and Pashmina, as there are thousands of fakes in the market. Now there is exclusivity attached to them,” said Dahlia Sen Oberoi, an Intellectual Property lawyer.
The holders of GI are now preparing to make the most of it.
“Just like the Burgundy wine, each product will have a serial number to ensure authorization. We do expect certified products to command a much higher price,”said Aniruddh Mookerjee, a senior director, Wildlife Trust of India.
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