When it comes to luxury fabrics, Cashmere and Pashmina are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among consumers. Both Cashmere and Pashmina are known for their exceptional softness and warmth, but they are not exactly the same. In this blog post, we will unravel the differences between Cashmere and Pashmina, shedding light on their origins, production, and qualities.
Cashmere: Cashmere wool comes from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats, primarily found in the mountainous regions of Kashmir, Tibet, Mongolia, and China. These goats have adapted to the harsh climates, developing a fine, insulating fleece to protect them from the extreme cold.
Pashmina: Pashmina wool also comes from the same cashmere goats; however, it specifically refers to the wool sourced from the Changthangi goat breed, native to the high-altitude regions of Ladakh in India and Nepal. The term "Pashmina" itself means "soft gold" in Persian, highlighting its exquisite quality.
Cashmere: Cashmere wool is obtained by combing the undercoat of cashmere goats during the molting season. The fibers are then carefully cleaned, sorted, and spun into yarns, which are used to create various cashmere products such as sweaters, scarves, and blankets.
Pashmina: Pashmina wool, on the other hand, undergoes a more meticulous production process. The fine fibers are hand-spun into yarns using a traditional method known as "Charkha," which involves spinning the fibers on a spinning wheel called a "Yander." The yarns are then woven by skilled artisans on handlooms to create the delicate and luxurious Pashmina shawls.
- Fiber Diameter and Softness:
Cashmere: Cashmere fibers are known for their exceptional fineness, typically ranging from 14 to 19 microns in diameter. The finer the diameter, the softer and more luxurious the cashmere feels against the skin. High-quality cashmere garments provide unparalleled comfort and warmth.
Pashmina: Pashmina fibers are even finer than traditional cashmere fibers, ranging from 12 to 16 microns in diameter. This ultra-fine texture gives Pashmina its unparalleled softness, often described as "heavenly" or "buttery." Pashmina shawls are renowned for their lightweight feel and incredible warmth, making them coveted accessories.
- Rarity and Authenticity:
Cashmere: Cashmere is a term widely used in the textile industry, and not all cashmere products are of the same quality. Due to its popularity, some manufacturers mix cashmere with other fibers to reduce costs. To ensure authenticity and quality, it is important to look for reputable brands and check for certifications, such as the Cashmere Mark issued by the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI).
Pashmina: Pashmina, being a specific type of cashmere, is relatively rarer and more exclusive. Authentic Pashmina shawls are handcrafted by skilled artisans, and the production process requires time, precision, and expertise. Look for the "Pashmina" or "100% Pashmina" label to ensure the authenticity of the product.
Cashmere: Cashmere products vary in price depending on factors such as quality, origin, and brand. High-quality cashmere garments can be quite expensive due to the labor-intensive production process and the limited supply of premium fibers.