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How can you tell a real Pashmina from a fake?

July 19th, 2022 | 5174 views
How can you tell a real Pashmina from a fake?

Owning a Pashmina is like a dream come true for the patrons of art. After all, Pashmina making is an art form that transforms lumps of raw wool into luxury shawls or scarves. And this has been the case for centuries now. Fine Cashmere acquired manually is processed and embellished manually, and the resulting product is the epitome of class and sophistication. 

In the 18th century, when Pashmina scarves became known all over the world, the Europeans were especially allured by its magical spell. They became all the rage and royals and noblemen from kings' courts. Traders began to sell these shawls to Europeans in bulk, and gradually there were country-wide exports of the same. Fairtrade existed between European nations and Kashmir, which boosted the economy of this quaint valley abundantly. Artisans would be invited to European nations to train locals in this art. 

Birth of Fake Pashmina Shawls

fake cashmere
Fake vs Real cashmere

Unfortunately, fair trade did not last long and unfair means began to develop soon. Greedy frauds became Pashmina shawl dealers and sold fake pieces in the markets openly. Either this Pashmina shawl would be mixed with sheep wool during processing, or it would be a sheep wool shawl treated with a softening chemical, or the shawl would be machine woven. Innocent customers purchased these fake pieces considering them to be pure pieces. But as soon as they began to wear it, they felt a difference. After one wash, these shawls showed true faces. Some got withered while others lost their warmth. A shawl which would remain intact for 30 years even, didn't even last 5 years. Soon Pashmina lost its glory, and women stopped buying it altogether. 

Also read: WHERE DOES CASHMERE COME FROM?

How can you tell a fake pashmina?

Fortunately, some sellers, who had been honest enough in their trade protested, which was mostly in vain. However, they gave customers some important tips to identify if their hard-earned Pashmina scarf is real or fake. Here are some of those valuable tips which you can use to test your Pashmina scarf:

The Burn Test

The Burn test is the most commonly used test when it comes to testing the originality of a Pashmina shawl. To test your Pashmina with the burn test, simply burn a fringe of your shawl. If it gives out the odour of burnt hair, there are high chance that this is a real scarf. After all, Cashmere is natural fibre, and would smell the same when burnt. 

The Appearance Test

Post burning, the fringe of a scarf which is made from Cashmere, should have a matte look and should become powder upon crushing. Original Pashmina will not be shiny and will collapse into a powdery form. 

The Weave Test

uneven diamond weave
Uneven Diamond weave

Did you just notice that your Pashmina shawl or scarf has an uneven weave when you saw it in clear sunlight? Relax, an uneven weave means your scarf is pure, and real Pashmina. It is the machine that would make a regular weave. A hand-made scarf will definitely have an irregular weave as it is made with the skill and patience of a human and not the tidiness of a machine.

The Rubbing Test 

Rub the corner of your scarf against itself. Did it produce a tiny spark? If yes, there is a high chance of it being fake. It is nylon and synthetic products that produce static electricity. Natural fibre-made scarves would not do so. And definitely, a Pashmina scarf or shawl would never produce a spark. 

The Shine Test

A pure, original Pashmina scarf won’t give a shimmery or glittery appearance. Unless of course there is an added silk or nylon fibre to it. Pure Pashmina shawl has a matte look and in fact, all natural fibre made scarves have it. If your scarf is shining and reflecting light, know that you have been cheated.

The Piling Test

Is your scarf Pilling? Well surprisingly, it is a good sign. It is an animal fibre after all and would definitely grow some tiny balls over its surface. But removing those is easy with a number of specialised techniques and tools.

Now we know how to differentiate a fake shawl from an original, pure Pashmina. Fake shawls entered local markets in the early 2000s and never left. Even today, when there are so many techniques to test them, customers do get cheated and receive fake pieces. Hence it is always recommended to purchase Pashmina from authentic sellers, online or offline. 

Always ask your seller for a certificate of authenticity when buying Pashmina. If he is unable to produce the same, consider him unauthentic. Or else, check with the existing customers of the seller if his shawls are pure and original. 

Always be careful while shopping for Pashmina shawls. This is an investment of a lifetime and should never be considered casual shopping. Only a pure, original Pashmina shawl will give the wearer immense warmth and be with them for a lifetime. 

Also read: WHAT SIZE SHOULD A PASHMINA BE?

We, Pashmina.com, are the largest curators of pure and handcrafted Pashmina products in the online space. We are on a mission to revive this dying art by spreading our wings throughout the world by way of our online platform. Our website serves as a window to our range of products that are luxurious and have the highest quality. We offer the widest range, certified quality, luxurious packaging and free shipping to over 150 countries.

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