“Pashmina” – The Diamond Fibre
“Pashmina” is growing in global popularity by the day as a versatile accessory that can add style to almost any outfit.
“Pashmina” is the softest, exotically delicate, weightless and the finest, natural insulation fibre in the world. Pashmina is hand made from the wool sheared from the underbelly of mountain goats called “Chyangra” ( capra hircus laniger) that are found in the most remote and frigid Himalayan mountains of Nepal. These Himalayan goats live at a height of approximately 10,000 – 15,000 feet above sea level, (where temperature goes down to – 40 degree centigrade.) These goats grow a special thin, inner coat of hair that insulates them during the long, harsh Himalayan winters. Such wonderful and gossamer properties of “Pashmina” have popularized it as the “Diamond Fibre”. The outer layer hair of the “Chyangra” is discarded as it is comparatively thicker and coarser. It is this unique inner coat of hair that is used to produce Pashmina products. The hair which is less than 17.5 microns in diameter is specified as “Pashmina”, ( a human hair is 75 microns thick ). It is surprisingly durable while being stunningly soft and comforting to human skin. It takes an entire annual growth of three Chyangra goats’ fibres to create just one Pashmina shawl.
The Pashmina fibres are combed from the soft underbelly of the Chyangra goats every spring without harming them. These extraordinary qualities of Pashmina fibres have encouraged weavers to produce various types of wraps for warmth and fashion accessories for luxury and richness.
Pashmina fibres thus obtained are spun into thin yarn which is woven or knitted to make different types of Pashmina products like blankets, throws, shawls, stoles, scarves as well as pullovers, cardigans, ponchos, caps, gloves, socks etc.,. This exquisite craftsmanship of the Nepalese weavers has established Nepal’s “Pashmina” as the most precious possession worldwide.
Although Pashmina is also called Cashmere, the exclusivity of “Pashmina” over Cashmere is that, it is much finer i.e., less than 17.5 microns in diameter whereas Cashmere fibres are 19 microns.
In the past, high quality Pashmina was synonymous with Nepal. But this has changed in the last few years and the word ‘Pashmina’ is now often associated with low value shawls woven out of cheap materials, usually made in China and sold in markets for less than a couple of dollars.
To realize the value of this industry, there are a number of challenges which need to be overcome. The Chyangra Pashmina Logo aims to help us overcome the negative brand reputation for ‘Pashmina’ amongst luxury consumers and to provide it with a platform on which to base a cohesive marketing strategy for the industry.