The word Pashmina is derived from the word Persian. Under the rough outer coat of the goat is the soft pashmina. This is the wool clipped from the underbelly of goats native to the high, remote, and frigid regions of the Himalayas in Tibet, Nepal, and Central Asia. Pashminas are generally made in black, grey, white, or cream colors depending on the color of the goat's hair they are made from.
The process of which Pashminas are made is quite extensive as they are all made by hand. The goat's hair is collected to make the scarves. The people who shear the goats make sure to turn the goats on their back because the hair on their stomach is softer and the hair that lies under is also softer.
One scarf requires about three coats from the goats. The hair is then spun on a hand spinning wheel which is a time-consuming job. For the job to be done correctly, it requires experienced spinners. Each spring, farmers climb the Himalayas to find the softest hairs on the mountain goats. For the goats to survive the high altitudes on the mountains, they grow inner hairs underneath the thick coat. These smaller hairs are the ones that are generally chosen to be woven into the scarves.
The yarn from the goat hair is too fragile for the power weavers which is why it needs to be done by hand, especially if a person wants to buy a genuine, 100% Pashmina Scarf.
The art and skill of weaving have been passed down by generations and is still being passed down today. The fringes one sees on each scarf takes hours to make. Not only on the scarves, but the fringe found on other Pashmina Items. It is said that the weavers who have passed the trade down have possibly known the trade since the Moghul Empire.
The dyeing process is also done by experienced people and has been passed down through generations. The particular process requires patience, and if it is rushed, then it shows on the scarf that is being dyed and is considered inadequate. The people who make them only use natural dyes to ensure the natural process of how the whole scarf is made.
The whole process includes collecting the fibers, spinning the fibers, weaving in handlooms, mending the white pieces, washing the white pieces to remove the spots, dying, adding the fringe, embroidery, ironing, and packaging.
Looking at the meticulous process of just making one scarf, buyers wonder why they can be expensive. However, the price is worth it considering the materials and processes are all eco-friendly and some of the unique fashion accessories anyone could have. For those who buy embroidered pieces, that is also another lengthy step in the making of the scarves. The embroidery is all done by hand which makes it imperfectly perfect. Each person who buys a genuine Pashmina Scarf will know that it is not like any other in the world.