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Fiber for kings

Cashmere is one of the most exclusive types of wool, fibers in general. This down wool has a layer of history and has been popular in Europe since the 18th century, especially in pashmina scarves. Napoleon Bonaparte gave Joséphine de Beauharnais several pashmina shawls throughout their relationship.

The unique warmth and insulation cashmere provides, makes the down wool everyone who experiences winter their best friend. Cashmere is an investment that is worth every penny.

There are good reasons why this beautiful wool costs as much as it does.

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7 things to know about cashmere

  1. The Kashmir goat originally comes from the geographical area of Kashmir in the Himalayas.

  2. The undercoat is brushed - not cut - out of the cashmere goat once a year, in the spring before being put out for summer grazing.

  3. Cashmere wool is up to 3 times more insulating than sheep wool, and the fibers are lighter and softer than sheep wool

  4. Cashmere wool used for clothing can be as thin as 14 microns (0.014mm), by comparison, human hair is 50-90 microns thick.

  5. A goat gives around 200g of wool (a sheep gives a minimum of 3kg a year), and this weight can be halved after removing oils, dirt, and thicker hair

  6. Cashmere accounts for 0.5% of wool production worldwide today. China and Mongolia account for the largest share, with 19,200 and 8,900 tonnes respectively.

  7. The dyeing and spinning process must be done carefully. The wool is delicate, and chemicals and excess can damage the fibers.

These 7 things are what make cashmere wool so expensive and in demand.

What is pashmina

Pashmina from Persian / Urdu means "wool", "of wool" or "scarf of wool" depending on the context. Today, the latest translation is used the most. Pashmina is a short and well-hand-woven scarf and shawl made from either the thinnest wool fibers from Changthangi goats, a sub-breed of cashmere goats. [1] Some pashmina scarves are made from the neck hairs of other goat breeds.

Genuine Pashmina shawls are either 100% cashmere wool or are cashmere wool mixed with silk. Pashmina is not a copyright word in Europe, so if you are looking for real pashmina and not just a thin shawl, make sure it contains cashmere wool.

What to look for

There are many tests you can do to find out if what you have bought is real cashmere. Cashmere Mania has a detailed list of 17 tests you can do to see if it is authentic cashmere. [2] The vast majority of these tests can only be done after you have paid for the item. But here are the tests you can do in-store.

What does the label say? Is it made of wool? According to the Wool Products Labeling Act, all wool must be labeled with content. Most people have seen this type of brand on clothes they have bought before. It is most often on the same note as the washing instructions and country of production.

  • It does not hold that it says "contains cashmere" or "feels like cashmere". If it says "100% pashmina", put it back and walk away from the place. This also applies if there is no label.

  • If, on the other hand, it says "5% cashmere", "50% cashmere", "100% cashmere" or "pure cashmere", it is more credible.

It should also come from a store you trust.

Is the price too good to be true? Scammers exist and they lie, often. It is easy to make a label that reads 100% cashmere and sew it on something that does not contain cashmere. In Italy, rat hair was found in "cashmere sweaters". Let me write it again, sweaters made of rat hair were sold as cashmere [3] 🤢

A cashmere sweater that costs less than NOK 1,000 (~100 EUR) is not credible as the manufacturers would lose money.

Is it hot to touch? Cashmere is warm and cream soft to the touch. If the garment is cold or itchy to hold in your hand, it is not cashmere.

Is it matte or shiny? Cashmere itself is matte. Gloss comes from other fibers such as silk, viscose, polyester, and nylon.

Can you see through the weaving pattern? Cashmere is woven or knitted tightly together, out of necessity. If you can see through the threads, there is most likely minimal or no cashmere wool in the item.

The vast majority of pashmina scarves and shawls are woven in a diamond pattern

while viscose shawl/scarf is woven in either twill or plain pattern

Wool compairison
Download PDF • 6.78MB

[1] Skarratt, Ben (August 2018). "From India to Europe: The Production of the Kashmir Shawl and the Spread of the Paisley Motif". Global History of Capitalism Project.

[2] "17 Tests to Identify 100% Pure Cashmere" Guest post by Jean from Le Meilleur Avis, Cashmere Mania

[3] "Italy: 'Cashmere' clothes found to contain rat fur" (5 February 2014) BBC NEWS

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