It's getting colder and it's the right time for pashmina shawls. They are always in fashion, they are warm and soft and there is such a big variety of different colours, ornamentation, blends and sizes to satisfy any taste.
So, what exactly is pashmina? Pashmina is a word derived from Persian "Pashm" which means "finest wool fiber". Pashmina is made from the wool of the Himalayan Mountain goat, locally known as Chyangra ( Capra Hircus). This goat is generally found between altitudes of twelve thousand to fourteen thousand feet above sea level, in the mountains of Nepal, India and Pakistan. These goats develop a thin inner coat in winter which they shed during spring. Each hair is twelve to fourteen microns thick which is about one-sixth of the human hair. This unique inner coat of hair serves as material for pashmina.
From a distance a shawl made of pashmina looks like any ordinary shawl made of fine wool. But in touch it has exquisite fine texture and is almost weightless. The warmth it provides can hardly be compared with any other type of wool fabric.
Most of the available pashmina in Nepal is woven by hand in local hand-looms Here you can find shawls of 100% pashmina wool or 80/20 and 70/30 blends of pashmina wool and silk. The difference between pure pashmina and blends is the lustrous sheen obvious in the silk/pashmina blend and of course, pure pashmina is much warmer than the blends.
There are different ways of wearing pashmina shawl: drape it across your shoulders, knot it in the front or pin it with a brooch to hold it in place or create your own unique style.