Owning a cashmere scarf has always been considered a matter of pride. Especially since it was first patronized by the European nobility. The opulence, luxury, and quality of a women's Cashmere scarf are unmatched, and undeniably so. They’ve balanced comfort and warmth with decadence and style. As they say, you can never go wrong with a Cashmere scarf; it is truly a timeless piece that has a rich legacy of over 500 years.
Despite much having been written about this ultimate luxury accessory, there are certain facts that are still unheard of. Or there have been many misconceptions surrounding the ever-loved Cashmere. Let’s take a look
1. Napoleon was the first to introduce Women's Cashmere to Europe
Here’s a slice of history surrounding a Cashmere scarf. It is believed that women's Cashmere was first used in parts of Tibet, Nepal, and Persia. Here local tribes would harvest the wool of mountain goats to shield themselves from the biting cold. These mountain goats were valued for their thick coats, which was a result of the sub-zero temperatures. In fact, collecting this underbelly fur of these goats was an important ritual for the locals, especially in remote areas.
For centuries, Cashmere was known as ‘Pashmina', derived from the Persian word ‘Pashm' meaning wool. Its origin dates to the 3rd century BC. It was only in the 15th century that Zayn-ul-Abidin, then leader of the Kashmiri region, introduced weavers from Central Asia.
The term ‘Cashmere' came about sometime in the 16th century when it was colloquially used to refer to the shawls spun by Kashmiri craftsmen on the Silk Route. But Cashmere’s popularity amongst the European upper classes came to the forefront, thanks to Empress Josephine, wife to Napoleon Bonaparte. It soon became the most coveted status symbol of the day and has arguably maintained its reputation ever since.
2. One Women's Cashmere scarf= Fleece from 2-3 Goats
Another reason why cashmere wrap is so special is because of the nature of its fibre. It is said that the diameter of a piece of Cashmere yarn is under 19 microns, which is interesting 1/10th the diameter of human hair. Since Cashmere is of the finest grade, it is only about 12-14 microns thick
One can’t even visualize the volume of yarn that goes into making a scarf or a shawl and how labor-intensive it is. As unbelievable as it may sound, it takes the wool of 2-3 Capra hircus goats to make a single scarf. Let’s say, if you were to comb off the wool of one Cashmere goat, it would take several years to collect enough hair for a single product.
However, once this ultra-fine yarn is woven, the product is a class apart that exudes warmth like no other. Here’s an interesting fact: The Cashmere fibre is eight times warmer than sheep wool.
Also read: Types of Wool | Know what you are wearing
3. The Prized Goats of Kashmir
The Changthangi goats from which the soft undercoats are procured are no ordinary goats. They have long curling horns and grow shaggy coats of hair. In the chilly winters, it is replaced by a fine, dense, downy undercoat that also acts as a protective layer. During spring, their undercoat is combed by herders or either these goats themselves shed it. There is a misconception that this coat grows only in their underbelly, which isn’t the case. It grows all over their body.
Interestingly, these goats that live in the highest altitudes of the Himalayas in Ladakh can survive in the harshest of winters, hottest of summers, and spells of drought. They can get by with little water and live on the coarsest of grass.
4. No Itchiness, No Allergy
Though much like sheep’s wool, the Cashmere fibre is much warmer and does not cause any itching on your body. This is because there’s no lanolin, which lends it a hypoallergenic character and allows it to be processed without the need for extremely high temperatures. This also makes it a preferred product for babies, since it makes the child comfortable just like he/she was in the mother’s womb.
Besides, Cashmere absorbs and releases water vapor with humidity, which is why it works well as a natural insulator. Plus, as we discussed earlier, it keeps you eight times warmer than ordinary wool.
Also read: Why do babies love Cashmere blankets?
5. Not all Women's Cashmere is equal
Have you come across a situation, where you’ve bought a Cashmere wrap and seen it pill the very next day? Unfortunately, this is more of a trap. Since fashion racks are flooded with fake and blended Cashmere wraps, it comes as no surprise that fast fashion comes down before sustainability.
When you are paying for 100% cashmere wrap, it is only right that you get 100% cashmere. And if it’s pure, it can’t be cheap.
More than 95% of the world's apparel and accessories are made with Mongolian Cashmere. While what we at Pashmina.com use is the finest cashmere from Capra Hircus species found in the Himalayas that accounts for less than 1% of world usage of cashmere because of its rarity and short supply. Each of our products goes through stringent testing by the Crafts Development Institute, which comes under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. These pieces are then individually certified as a mark of quality assurance and authenticity.
What’s more? We are patrons of sustainable luxury and stock products in our portfolio that take several years to create. After all, we’d like to offer you a masterpiece for the price you pay and the comfort you deserve. That’s the reason we go by the saying ‘Less is More.'
Now that you know many of these facts, what’s kept you waiting? Explore our collection of shawls, scarves, and wraps to make a lasting impression. That’s not all, don’t hesitate to express your affection for a loved one with our customized and personalized gifts, which come with a monogram and luxurious packaging.