We’ve all heard about them, but only a small number of us can tell the difference between pashmina and cashmere.
In this article, we will analyze the difference and point out the characteristics of these two types of fabrics.
Before we start sharing the details, let’s say that the difference between these materials was greater in the past.
Today, they are more similar.
Namely, cashmere is a term which is usually used in the Western world.
It describes a soft clothing material that has origins in the Kashmir region situated in India and Pakistan.
On the other hand, pashmina is a term used by the locals.
It comes from the word pashm, which represents the wool obtained from the inner hair of specific goats.
This wool is turned into pashmina when it is carefully cleaned, combed and spun/prepared for use.
Generally speaking, pashmina is considered to be the finer wool, wool with premium quality.
This wool was usually used for shawls and scarves because it was softer and lighter compared to cashmere.
It’s good to know that although cashmere wool got its name from the specific region of Kashmir/Cashmere, this wool was produced (and still is) in different areas.
These goats are found all over the Himalayan range.
So, cashmere is actually obtained from a wide range of subspecies of goats that live in Nepal, Tibet, and Kashmir.
There are goats like this in Mongolia and China too. When it comes to pashm wool, this wool is harvested from the Tibetan goat during the winter period.
This is the time when these goats are found at an altitude of 4000 meters. The final products from this wool are known as pashmina.
The low temperature makes goats produce extremely thin, but strong undercoat between the throat and belly.
Pashmina vs Cashmere: Differences explained
So, the first difference is the goats that produce this wool. In the case of pashm wool, only Tibetan goats found during the winter period at altitudes above 4000 meters can produce this wool.
On the other hand, just like pashm wool, cashmere wool is produced from the undercoat of goats, but this time the manufacturers use different subspecies of goats that live in a wider area.
Next, when we compare these two types of wool, we will notice that cashmere is a little bit coarser and thicker compared to pashm wool.
Experienced people can notice the softer touch of pashm wool.
In addition, treating pashm wool is much more difficult because it is difficult to spin it since it is extremely thin.
Obviously, cashmere wool is simpler to spin.
Furthermore, even though the diameter is not clearly visible, studies have shown that pashm wool has a diameter between 10 and 16 microns while cashmere has a diameter between 16 and 19 microns.
Finally, due to the fact that pashm wool is obtained during a specific period of the year and from specific goats, and the fact that they produce between 80 and 170 grams every year, this wool is difficult to find.
It is much simpler to find cashmere wool. There are more than 400 million cashmere goats in the world.
Regardless of the wool, you select and the product you will use, it is very important to keep the cashmere/pashmina product safe and protect and to maintain it in the right way.
For instance, you should never place the products in a washing machine.
Pashmina is the most refined version of cashmere products.
However, both versions have exceptional qualities and they are considered to be one of the most luxurious fabrics in the world today.
Further Reading: Cashmere or Alpaca for the coming winter?
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