Cashmere is regarded as a soft, luxurious and expensive fabric. It is a type of wool that is obtained from a special breed of goat, which you will find in the Middle East and the Himalayan region of Asia. Pashmina, on the other hand, is a type of cashmere wool. They are both super quality wools that are in high demand because of their superior quality, exclusivity and the comfort they offer. Both cashmere and pashmina will keep you warm and protect you from the elements of a harsh winter. There are many ways to wear an item of clothing made with these wools as well.
There are, however some differences between the two and most people are not able to differentiate between the two. The term Cashmere is more familiar in the West, while the locals use Pashmina more.
They will both keep you warm and cozy during the winter, and they both look very attractive. But there are still some differences, nonetheless. Interestingly, the differences between the two used to be more before, but not that much anymore. Let us now take a deep look into them to understand the differences so we can know both pashmina and cashmere better. But before that, let’s take a closer look at both cashmere and pashmina.
“Pashm” is the wool that is collected by the goat herders in the Kashmir valley. Pashmina is actually a local name of this fine wool once it is combed, cleaned and spun into yarn. In the Kashmiri language, the word literally means “soft gold”. Now, of course, the wool is also obtained from goats in Pakistan and Nepal, and also from the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. The word cashmere was first coined by the Europeans, as it came from Kashmir originally, but there are some differences between the two that I will discuss a little later.
The warm and soft yarn of pashmina is prized around the world, especially when it is woven into shawls. The history of these woven shawls in India goes back a long time, to the Indus Valley Civilization. Now, of course, there is much more variety.
But remember, clothing that is marketed and labeled as pashmina can be 100% pashmina wool, or it can be a blend with another fiber like silk.
Cashmere, on the other hand, is the softest wool you can find. We get the wool from goats that roam the high altitudes, especially India, Mongolia, Iran, China, Afghanistan, and some other countries. The diameter of cashmere fibers to be of the best quality must measure cashmere fibers or less. Only about 3% can be 30 microns or more.
Cashmere is extremely silky, soft, and lightweight. But the material is still very durable as it lasts for several years with just basic care. It is very comfortable to wear and keeps you feeling warm and cozy. But make sure that you always wear 100% pure cashmere, and not some blend.
The Quality of Fabric and How It Has Changed:
Like I have mentioned, the name Pashmina came from the word “Pashm”, which is a sub classification of cashmere wool. Earlier people used to say that the quality or the fineness of pashmina was better than cashmere, and so, pashmina wool was used for make shawls, scarves and others. But now, the quality of them both is the same. With time the stitching procedure or the threads used for making cashmere garments has turned them better.
The Difference in Undercoat:
Pashmina wool comes from the undercoats of Changthangi goats that are found in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas, above 4000 meters. On the other hand, we get cashmere wool from the undercoats of goat species that are found at a much lower altitude. The cashmere goat is found in the Nepal, Tibet, and Indian Himalayas. So the wool’s origin is different. And that’s a huge difference.
There is a difference between the diameter of cashmere and pashmina as well. With cashmere, the diameter varies between 10 e 16 micron, while the diameter of pashmina is between a micron of 16 e 19.
I did mention at the beginning of the article that the quality of both cashmere and pashmina are quite alike these days. But despite the improvements in standard of cashmere, it is still thicker than pashmina. So it can be said that pashmina is softer and thinner than cashmere wool.
Difference in Spinning:
Because of its additional thickness, it is often easier to spin cashmere. But, there can be problems in spinning pashmina. Those who are working with this wool need to be specially trained and must also have the right equipment. Experience counts too.
Pashmina and cashmere are both amazing. They are both soft, giving you a feeling of luxury and opulence. You can use them both for your coats, cardigans, scarves, and other items of clothing. The premium price you pay for it is certainly worth it. It’s great to have at least one item of clothing of either cashmere or pashmina in your wardrobe.
Other Uses of Cashmere and Pashmina
Pashmina is mostly used for making shawls or scarves, but you will find cashmere sweaters, jackets, coats, and cardigans. However, there are some other uses as well. For instance, scarves made from cashmere are so soft that the material is often used to make baby blankets. Pashmina is also used to improve room décor. A neutral color can accent the colors of a room and look good over coffee tables. They can also be used for wrapping gifts.