Sunday 31 May 2009

Nepal Pashmina

You know you're getting quality pashmina when you see a tag
that says "Made in Nepal." Pashmina that comes from Nepal and
Tibet are several microns thinner than the ones from some parts
in Kashmir in India. Therefore, the pashmina is softer and
lighter and more comfortable.

Pashmina is the name of the luxurious, beautiful fabric that is
made from the wool of the Chyangra goat or the Capra Hircus.
These goats live in the cold, temperate, mountainous regions of
Central Asia, particularly in the central plains of Mongolia and
the Himalayas. Because this rare of breed of goats lives around
12,000 to 14,500 feet above sea level, they have developed
short, thin and shiny inner coats to insulate themselves from
the cold. Weavers collect the hair these goats shred during
spring to produce the pashmina. In fact, the word pashmina
itself comes from the ancient Persian word "pashm" which means
wool and which refers to the inner coat of the capra hircus.

For many years, pashmina has been used by weavers in Kashmir,
from which the name cashmere is derived. Kashmir is a disputed
area that lies between Pakistan and India. Due to the ongoing
civil war, much of the production has been transferred to other
parts of India and Nepal.

The raw materials, such as the wool and the fleece, are
carefully hand-spun and then dyed using environment-friendly
dyes such as Swiss Sandoz dyes. Some manufacturers even employ
authentic Tibetan artists in Nepal especially for the dyeing
process, as dyeing involves a more delicate, intricate
procedure. One mistake by a less skilled artisan can spell the
difference between a quality pashmina and a bad one. The
pashmina that comes from Nepal are treated with dyes that are of
higher quality than the dyes coming from India. Dyeing, then, is
done faster and the colors last longer.

Pashmina from Nepal, which is thinner, softer and lighter than
pashmina from other parts of the world, is combined with silk,
which adds durability and luster to the fabric. This is then
hand-woven into the shawls, stoles and scarves which are shipped
all over the world and which you see in your favorite clothing
store. Pashmina makers from Nepal also take pride in the fact
that the pashmina from their country are handmade. Some are
machine made, and although they are less expensive, they are
also relatively harsher and rougher to the touch. Handweaving
allows the pashmina to be densely woven yet still lightweight
and much more comfortable.

The incredibly high demand for pashmina all over the world has
resulted not only in making women more stylish and fashionable,
it has also kept the tradition of hand weaving in Nepal alive.
Pashmina-making is an old tradition that has been passed down
from generation to generation. This also provides valuable
income for the artisans and their families.

There are many ways of wearing pashmina, from the belt style,
to the old Hollywood style, to the full wrap and the full shawl
wrap. You can even wear a pashmina a la Grace Kelly, the famous
Hollywood actress who popularized wearing the scarf over the

About The Author: I'm not talented at anything that most people
would call art. I work for a few fashion firms, including a
great pashmina shawl outfit.

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