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Get To Know Pashmina

What elevates a cashmere scarf to the status of pashmina? And why does that matter?

Cashmere wool comes from the undercoat of cashmere goats historically bred in the Kashmir region of India. In the US, we have specific labeling requirements for what one can call cashmere. The diameter of the fibers must fall within a certain size range and must make up a specific percentage of the overall fibers in the piece.

These fibers are harvested during the moulting season of the cashmere goat when the goat begins to shed its double layer fleece coat. The under layer is a very fine, downy fleece; and the outer layer is a longer and coarser hair called guard hair. In some regions, the goat’s coat is combed by hand, pulling the finer underdown out and leaving most of the longer guard hairs. In other regions, goats are shorn much like sheep, and the resultant fleece will have to be mechanically separated from the longer guard hairs in order to yield a higher percentage of cashmere.

So what’s Pashmina and why does it matter? Pashmina fibers are harvested from the changthangi breed of goat, and they are much thinner than regular cashmere fibers, rendering a softer and more luxurious material in the hand. Because of the fineness of the fibers, pashmina must be processed and woven by hand, typically by a highly skilled craftsman. Authentic pashmina is hand-processed in Kashmir and Nepal. The quality and rarity of authentic pashmina is typically reflected in the price.

Our cashmere scarves by Matta are 100% pashmina cashmere, woven by hand and then each individual tassel is sewn on by hand. If you look closely, you can find the small signature of each artisan in one corner of the scarf. Matta also makes cotton and silk blend scarves for warmer months.

We also carry cashmere scarves by Kas, which are not pashmina, but they are certainly the fluffiest and softest pure cashmere scarves in our store. They come in two weights and a rainbow of colors.

Kas and Matta scarves are wonderful pieces for layering all throughout the year and can be dressed up or down. Come on in and feel for yourself the luxury of pure cashmere and pashmina.

We’d love to see you soon (and you must feel these scarves to believe the softness!) but if you can’t make it into the store in person, these pieces are also available online!

 

–Rebecca, Dovecote Stylist