Handmade Pashmina shawl is a 100% pure product. It is finer, tighter, warmer, and more luxurious than the machine-made Pashmina. Since the diameter of pure Cashmere fibre is 12- 16 microns, it is difficult to spin it by machine. The handmade pashmina products that we, at Pashmina.com, source are woven in the diamond-weave technique. This is similar to weaving a European tapestry. The wefts (horizontals), which form the pattern, do not run right across the fabric. Instead, they are woven back and forth around the warp (vertical) threads. You can spot a machine-made shawl by looking at the fringe base. Owing to its making-in the machine, fake Pashmina has unnaturally straight edges. Hence it becomes a pre requisite to know the difference. Real vs fake Pashmina - how to differentiate.
Woven with the finest, softest goat fleece, a pure Pashmina is a thing of beauty. The best fleece is of a natural cream colour.
Looms of Pashmina
In the real vs. fake Pashmina competition, its all in the way Pashmina is processed. If Pashmina is processed manually, the resulting piece is original and pure. However, if machine is put to work instead of an artisans hands, the result is fake or impure/mixed.
Traditionally, Pashmina is a hand-made product. Its weaving is an art that our artisans have learned through generations. Their precision, attention to detail, and overall layout of designs is a matchless talent that deserves admiration. Clearly, the production of hand-embroidered pure Pashmina shawls and wraps is a slow process. Therefore they're available within a limit, and as a result, handmade pashmina products are comparatively pricy.
Traditional Loom - Handmade Pashmina
Loom weaving is an intrinsic part of Kashmir culture. It requires great skill and knowledge to weave intricate patterns on the original Pashmina. Children of traditional loom weavers start learning this art around reaching the age of six or seven years. There is evidence in Indian history implying weaving has held great importance for a substantial amount of time. Weaving is primarily the interlacing of two sets of yarn– warp (length) & weft (width). The equipment that facilitates this interlacing is the loom. Handwoven fabric yields a softer, more comfortable, and durable product because of the human handling of the yarn in the weaving process.
A handmade solid Pashmina shawl takes about 3-4 days to complete. A weaver has to spend at least 8-10 hours on the loom and work continuously to prepare a solid Pashmina wrap. It takes expert skill and utmost meticulous efforts and concentration to develop a pure Pashmina on a handloom. Weavers who work on manual handloom have been doing so for decades. Some weavers have spent 50 years and moreover, the handloom attained masterly skills and have now become experts of the same. It is this craftsmanship and dedication and love of these artisans for the craft of handmade Pashmina that makes these pieces the most sought-after accessories.
Also read: Kashmiri Artisans | Hands Behind the Craft
Power Loom - Machine Made Pashmina
Made on a similar structure, it stands to destroy the very basic art that a traditional loom brings forward. It is a mechanical loom powered by a line shaft that produces fake Pashmina shawls and wraps. It takes some 1-2 minutes to complete one solid Pashmina wrap when made overpower loom. Even Though the power looms have increased the production of Pashmina shawls manifold, the genuineness and superiority of the product have been greatly compromised. With the mushrooming of fake products, there is a serious threat to the existence of original Pashmina shawls in Kashmir. It is just handloom which produces Pashmina that are real vs. fake Pashminas produced by power looms.
Real Vs. Fake Pashmina
While every seller claims to sell original, authentic Pashmina, identifying real vs fake Pashmina becomes a challenge. For this reason, we recommend buying from authentic sellers and checking the stamp of authenticity before buying a new Pashmina shawl. If however, you already own a Pashmina shawl, there are several tests to identify if they are pure, or not.
Also read: 7 Tests to Identify Genuine Pashmina
Pashmina.com is against machine-made merchandise which is slowly killing the market in the beautiful Kashmir valley. Our endeavor revolves around making the lives of Pashmina artisans better. We are in the industry to endorse their skills, stand for their rights and the art that they create through handlooms.