What is a pashmina?
Pashmina is the precious soft inner fleece of the Himalayan goat called the chyangra. It is also the name given to the finished product – woven or knitted and of various sizes. The goat lives some 5000 metres up in the arid and fiercely cold mountains of Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. This super light and soft fleece is combed off each Spring to be spun into pashmina yarn. The chyangra is NEVER killed for its fleece.
What is cashmere?
Cashmere is the homonym of ‘Kashmir’. Historically, it had the same origin as the pashmina, as the fleece was traded across the Silk Route in Central Asia. It was in Kashmir that a shawl was woven and given to Napolean Bonaparte in the 19th Century, who then presented it to his fiance, Josephine de Beauharnais, in Paris. It then quickly gained a reputation in Europe as ‘cashmere’ that lasts to this day. However, due to the dearth of pashmina yarn in Kashmir, most of the ‘cashmere’ shawls coming out of India are now made of blended yarns, including sheep wool, lamb wool, rabbit hair (angora) and the Persian goat fleece.
“However, pashmina as it has always been known in Nepal through the ages, continues to be made there from the chyangra fleece which is much softer than all the other wools used in India” (Susi Dunsmore, Nepalese Textiles, British Museum Press, 1993).
What is a ring shawl?
One often hears that a good pashmina must be able to pass through a ring. Forget this myth! This is not necessarily the mark of a good pashmina. It all depends on how fine the yarn is, the ply, the weave and the size of the pashmina. For example, a winter piece is necessarily thicker because of multiple plying, and hence would not be able to pass through a ring. Similarly, a fake pashmina made of polyester, especially if small in size, can easily go through a ring.
What is a shahtoosh?
Shahtoosh is the shawl made from the fleece of the chiru, a Tibetan antelope. The making of the shahtoosh involves the killing of the wild and fleet-footed chirus, even pregnant ones. Poachers continue to kill the animals and also the rangers who protect them, leaving many families in Tibet without a father or son. The chiru is now protected by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Trading in shahtooshes is illegal and carries heavy penalties.
What is a toosha, shamina and a patoosh?
Toosha, shamina, and patoosh are terms previously coined by marketers to deceive the buyers further as they are nothing but poor imitations of pashminas, and made from blended yarns. Some merchants further mislead people by saying that their pieces are made from the first shearing of a lamb, or that they come from the chin or even the eyebrows of the goat!
From which part of the body does the fleece come from?
From the innercoat all over the body, not the chin nor the eyebrow! The quality of the fleece depends on the living condition and diet of the chyangra.
AA Pashmina works with traditional weavers in Nepal who use only handlooms. They have acquired their skills through the generations. We have combined their excellent craftsmanship with contemporary techniques and designs to suit the modern clientele.
This stylised Tibetan Lotus represents the heart of our endeavour - that glorious beauty can arise from harsh mud.
Our brand 'AA' - Angels Anonymous - originated spontaneously from this idea of glory and perfection.
You are an angel and you bear the mark of this Lotus whenever you support us.
We have a wide range of scarves, shawls, throws, blankets, and knitwear. For men, women, children, home, travel and events.
Contact us for more information:
(65) 9824 4432 (By SMS)