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Q. What exactly is Pashmina?
In despite of all the fancy stories, let us see the explanation from the official organization for wildlife: FWS (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service): "Pashmina is the local name in India for the cashmere goat. Recently, this name is attributed to not only the source animal, but to the fiber and the actual shawl itself. Pashmina shawl has become extremely popular in the fashion world since publicity about the illegality of shahtoosh ended most overt shahtoosh sales."
Q. What's the difference between shahtoosh, shamina, pashmina (cashmere), merino wool, alpaca, and mohair?
Let us compare these woolen products from their sources and fiber diameters:
- Shahtoosh: downy undercoat from Tibetan antelope (or chiru) (Pantholops hodgsonii); between 10 and 12 microns
- Cashmere: downy undercoat from goats (Capra hircus); between 12 and 21 microns
- Shamina: finer and softer cashmere fibers; may be less than 14 microns
- Merino wool: fleece from a breed of sheep (Ovis aries); between 18 and 24 microns
- Alpaca: hair from llama; between 17 and 28 microns
- Mohair: fleece from Angora goat; kid fleece is 22 to 27 microns; adults, over 40 microns.
Q. What is cashmere, is it kind of tiny wool?
Cashmere is not just a kind of tiny wool, it is not wool at all. Cashmere comes from goats living in the high and dry plateaus surrounding the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and China. Exposed to the most extreme environmental elements of altitude and cold, the goats grow a downy undercoat of soft hair beneath their coarse exterior coat, those hairs are extremely sleek, soft, warm and silky, they are called Cashmere.
Q. Why is cashmere usually so expensive?
A. Cashmere, the very word evokes images of luxury, warmth and softness. The ultra-fine fiber from the undercoat of the Cashmere (or Kashmir) goat, is indeed a premium fiber - one that generally costs a good deal more than mere sheep's wool.
Cashmere is the highest class of all natural fiber, warmer, softer, and lighter than all the rest. A goat only produces about 1.76 oz (50 grams) of washed cashmere each year. A woman's sweater usually weighs 5.29 to 10.58 oz (150 to 300 grams). That's the cashmere from 3 to 6 goats! Furthermore, garment production requires more than 20 separate processes, special equipment, and a lot of labor.
Q. I saw Pashmina shawls sold just for $9.9 by some individual sellers elsewhere, and the seller claims that it is 100% cashmere, could this be true?
A. Currently there are a lot FAKE Pashmina shawls are sold as real Pashmina shawls over Internet. The current prices for those fake Pashmina shawls are from $9 to $49.
Those fake Pashmina shawls are usually made of 100% mercerized wool, some of them are made of acrylic (a kind of synthetic fiber), that is why they could make it so cheap (this price can not even cover the cost for a real cashmere shawl).
Be a smarter cashmere shopper! Those fake Pashmina shawls are actually sold just for $1 or $2 in the market of Asian countries. Do not be fooled! Do not pay for those worthless fake things, do not encourage the liars by doing business with them!
We assure you of 100% pure Pashmina shawls, so pay no heed to cheaters!
Q. Where can I get the information for cashmere from a non-commercial source?
A. Fortunately there are many non-profit organizations working to promote the use of genuine cashmere products and to protect the interests of manufacturers, retailers and consumers of these products. Please check Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI).
Q. What is Shahtoosh? Do you sell Shahtoosh?
A. Shahtoosh (aka Shah tush) is the shawl made from the hair of the Tibetan antelope, which is a kind of endangered species. We do not carry any Shahtoosh. It is illegal to import, sell, or buy Shahtoosh in U.S. and other 150 countries which signed CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Treaty.
However we do carry something looks and feels like a shahtoosh but, happily, does not require the killing of up to five chirus to make one. It is made of 100% finest cashmere, very soft with the natural shine of fine cashmere. It also features a Shahtoosh type fringe. Our Pashmina shawls are available in over 100 colors for you to choose.
Q. How to store Pashmina / Silk Pashmina shawls etc.?
Before storing your precious cashmere garments in basements or attics, check carefully for leaks, dampness and sunlight.
Fold clothes or pack them neatly in tissue paper or plastic bag and store them in closet away from light, dust and dampness.
Cleaning before storage is recommended, as fresh stains that may not yet be visible will oxidize and become fixed during storage, they may also be the food for moths. Moths have a discerning palate, they feast only on natural fabrics. Mothballs (naphthalene) and cedar chips are standard protection from moth infestation of woolens.
To store a pure cashmere sweater during summer, the most important thing is to keep moisture away, so please do not store cashmere in a damp place. A well-sealed plastic storage box (available in most stores) is good enough (a see-through one is better as you can notice that if there is any moisture inside). Make sure the box is dry before you put sweaters in.
To keep the moth away, the first important thing is to make sure that the sweater is clean before long-time storage. Pay close attention to any food stains as moths are particularly attracted to our normal food proteins and cooking oils. Those mothproofing products are helpful, or simply spray some perfume on a piece of paper and put the paper next to your sweater inside the box.