Handcrafted pashmina shawl according to tradition in Srinagar in Kashmir. Our collections offer these cashmere shawls and scarves of exceptional finesse, softness and warmth. Whose prestige has never wavered over the centuries. Whether it is soberly natural, adorned with subtle shimmering reflections. Or adorned with rich hand-made embroidery, you will forge a unique bond with your pashmina
WHAT IS PASHMINA?
Harvested at high altitude, pashmina is the noblest variety of cashmere, the oldest and most luxurious. It comes from the winter down of the Changra goat, where it is the finest and the softest: at the level of the neck. And the belly. This “pashm” down is a kind of hyper cashmere that the goat only produces in extreme conditions. Ie above 4500 m altitude. It is therefore only harvested in the foothills of the Himalayas, particularly in Ladakh. A goat produces around 100g of pashmina per year. In the spring when it loses its winter down, it is combed so as to collect the silkiest. Finest and longest hairs, a guarantee of quality. While a cashmere fiber has a diameter of less than 19 microns, the pashmina is thinner: less than 15 microns.
MAKING A PASHMINA SHAWL
Princesse Moghole is proud to reveal to you the secrets of making an authentic Fair Trade 100% cashmere Pashmina. Filmed in 2015, this video of our craftsmen has gone around the world to. The point of becoming a reference in the field.
LADAKH: The pashmina harvest
To withstand the freezing temperatures of the Himalayan winter which can reach -50°C, Changra pashmina goats develop an internal fleece in the form of a fine and thick down that doubles their usual coat. It is harvested in the spring by combing the animal so as to collect the silkiest and longest hairs, the finest quality being between the lower part of the neck and the belly.
This pashmina down is the main source of income for the nomadic Chang-Pa shepherds who perpetuate the traditional way of life at the rhythm of seasonal transhumance at an altitude of 4600m on the Ladakhi highlands of Changthang on the borders of Tibet.
To protect them, the price was set by the Indian state, Rp 3700 for 2 kg. The fibers are then washed and sorted, then the “pashm” down is transported to Srinagar in Kashmir, the only region in the world to master the delicate art of its weaving.
Traditional and still artisanal , this production of “historic” cashmere, respectful of the environment and ethically responsible, now only represents 0.5% of world production , compared to 90% for so-called “Mongolian” cashmere which actually comes 80% from China.
KASHMIR: Making the pashmina
The Indian Kashmir region has acquired for centuries an unequaled know-how in the weaving of pashmina. However, due to its political instability, disorganized production and sometimes dubious commercial practices, this region has been robbed of its supremacy in terms of production by neighboring Nepal which, although not possessing the same know-how, represents a more stable and reliable economic partner.
The Spinning Of The Pashmina
The down is traditionally spun by hand using a spinning wheel, a delicate task reserved for women. However, this manual step is gradually being replaced by machine spinning, which is less expensive. Currently, only 10 to 20% of pashmina production is still manually spun and an official label has been created to certify it: the GI Pashmina.
The Weaving Of The Pashmina
The yarn thus obtained will then be woven by hand on traditional wooden looms using ancestral techniques. One of the most popular patterns and which makes it possible to make the finest shawls is the bird’s eye (Bulbul) or diamond pattern weaving. The wool used is then natural brown or cream, which will allow subsequent dyeing.
Embroidery Of A Pashmina
The shawl is then dyed, then can be embroidered, a long, meticulous and almost mystical work, exclusively made by men to the rhythm of Sufi songs. A shawl can also be woven with colored threads, in patterns of stripes, squares or arabesques directly inserted into the weft.
The Different Imitations Of PASHMINA
The term Pashmina is therefore commonly used – and legally – to designate a simple stole with fringes, here are the different materials with which you can deal:
Viscose: the most common imitation. Soft fabric, cool to the touch that shines slightly. It wrinkles easily.
Acrylic: soft, wrinkle-resistant synthetic fabric that tends to pill and accumulate static electricity.
Cashmere/Silk: tightly woven fabric, soft and slightly shiny, finished with braided fringes. It is a natural and pleasant material, however less expensive than pure Pashmina.
Wool: Sheep’s wool can be woven in a diamond pattern and made chemically softer. It is one of the most difficult pashmina imitations to detect. However, the fiber is less soft, less light and less warm. And cheaper! But still remains a natural fiber.
Machine-woven cashmere. It is not a pashmina strictly speaking since it is not woven by hand with cashmere down from Ladakh. But woven industrially with cashmere from Mongolia to which a yarn of nylon. To make it more resistant to machine tension. This nylon thread is then dissolved in a chemical bath.
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