Difference between Cashmere and Pashmina

Difference between Cashmere and Pashmina

The luxury fiber industry showcases humanity's fascination with exquisite materials and craftsmanship. Within this realm, two names stand out: cashmere and pashmina. While they are often perceived as distinct entities, it's important to note that Pashmina is, in fact, a type of Cashmere, representing the finest quality of cashmere produced in the world.

For centuries, luxury fibers have graced the wardrobes of royalty, aristocrats, and fashion enthusiasts. Derived from nature's most precious resources, these fibers captivate not only for their beauty but also for their rarity and exceptional properties.

Introduction to Cashmere and Pashmina

Cashmere and pashmina emerge as shining stars in the luxury fiber constellation. Cashmere, renowned for its unparalleled softness and warmth, has been cherished for centuries in regions like Mongolia, China, and parts of Central Asia. Pashmina, often referred to as the "diamond fiber" or "soft gold," represents the finest type of cashmere derived from a special breed of goat indigenous to the Himalayan region, particularly in Kashmir.

Both cashmere and pashmina hold a revered status in the world of fashion and textiles, coveted for their luxurious feel and timeless elegance. However, while they share similarities, pashmina represents the pinnacle of cashmere quality, known for its exceptional fineness and softness.


Importance of Understanding the Difference Between Cashmere and Pashmina

In a marketplace saturated with luxury products, understanding the nuances between cashmere and pashmina becomes crucial for consumers and enthusiasts alike. While they are both types of cashmere, recognizing the distinction allows for informed choices and a deeper appreciation of their unique qualities.

Understanding the unique origins, production methods, and qualities of cashmere and pashmina empowers consumers to make informed choices. Whether selecting a shawl, scarf, sweater, or other garments, knowing the difference ensures that one receives the desired level of quality, comfort, and authenticity.

Furthermore, delving into the distinctions between these fibers enriches our appreciation for the cultural heritage and artisanal craftsmanship behind each product. By unraveling the intricacies of cashmere and pashmina, we embark on a journey of discovery, deepening our connection to the rich tapestry of the luxury fiber industry.

What is Cashmere?

Cashmere, often referred to as the "fiber of kings," is a luxurious natural fiber renowned for its exceptional softness, warmth, and lightness. It derives its name from the Kashmir region in South Asia, where it was first woven into shawls centuries ago. However, the term "cashmere" has since become synonymous with the fine undercoat fibers of certain goat breeds rather than a specific geographic location.

The origins of cashmere can be traced back to the harsh climates of Mongolia, China, Iran, and other parts of Central Asia, where goats adapted to survive extreme cold by growing a downy undercoat during the winter months. This downy undercoat, known as cashmere fiber, is collected through a delicate process of combing or shearing the goats, typically in spring when they naturally shed their winter coat.

Characteristics of Cashmere Fiber

Cashmere fiber is highly prized for its remarkable softness, unmatched by any other natural fiber. It boasts a luxurious tactile sensation that is both comforting and indulgent, making it a favorite among those with discerning tastes. Additionally, cashmere possesses excellent insulating properties, providing exceptional warmth without adding bulk or weight to garments.

One of the distinguishing features of cashmere is its fine diameter, which sets it apart from coarser wool fibers. Cashmere fibers typically range from 14 to 19 microns in diameter, with the finest fibers measuring below 14 microns. This fine diameter contributes to cashmere's exquisite softness and smooth texture, making it a delight to wear against the skin.

In addition to its softness and warmth, cashmere is also known for its durability and longevity when cared for properly. High-quality cashmere garments can last for many years, retaining their luxurious feel and appearance with proper maintenance.

Production Process

The production of cashmere involves several meticulous steps to transform raw fibers into luxurious textiles and garments. After the cashmere fiber is collected from the goats through combing or shearing, it undergoes a process of sorting and grading to separate the finer undercoat fibers from coarser guard hairs.

Once sorted, the cashmere fibers are cleaned to remove any impurities or debris before being spun into yarn. The spinning process can be done using traditional methods, such as hand spinning or spinning with a spinning wheel, or modern techniques, such as machine spinning.

After spinning, the cashmere yarn is ready to be woven or knitted into various textile products, including scarves, shawls, sweaters, and blankets. Skilled artisans use their expertise to create intricate patterns and designs, showcasing the beauty and versatility of cashmere.

Global Production Hubs

While cashmere-producing goats can be found in various regions around the world, the majority of cashmere production is concentrated in Mongolia, China, and parts of Central Asia. These regions are known for their harsh climates, which are conducive to the growth of fine cashmere undercoat fibers in goats.

Mongolia, in particular, is renowned for its high-quality cashmere, prized for its softness, warmth, and purity. The Gobi Desert region of Mongolia is home to some of the finest cashmere-producing goats, where nomadic herders have practiced cashmere production for generations.

China also plays a significant role in the global cashmere industry, with Inner Mongolia being one of the leading cashmere-producing regions in the world. Chinese cashmere is valued for its consistent quality and large-scale production capabilities, supplying cashmere fibers to markets worldwide.

Other notable cashmere-producing countries include Iran, Afghanistan, and parts of Central Asia, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the global cashmere industry. Despite its global reach, cashmere remains a rare and precious fiber, cherished by connoisseurs for its unparalleled luxury and timeless appeal.

What is Pashmina?

Pashmina, often referred to as the "soft gold" or "diamond fiber," represents the finest type of cashmere produced in the world. It is derived from the fine undercoat fibers of the Changthangi goat, a special breed native to the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas, particularly in Kashmir.

Pashmina holds deep cultural significance in the regions where it is produced. In Kashmir, pashmina weaving has been a cherished tradition for centuries, with artisans skillfully crafting exquisite shawls, scarves, and other textiles using age-old techniques passed down through generations. These pashmina textiles are not merely garments but also symbols of prestige, status, and cultural heritage, often worn on special occasions and gifted as tokens of love and respect.

Characteristics of Pashmina Fiber

Pashmina fiber is prized for its extraordinary softness and fineness, making it one of the most luxurious natural fibers in the world. The fine undercoat fibers of the Changthangi goat, also known as "cashmere goats," are incredibly soft and delicate, with a diameter ranging from 12 to 15 microns. This fine diameter contributes to the luxurious feel and lightweight nature of pashmina textiles, making them incredibly comfortable to wear against the skin.

In addition to its softness, pashmina fiber possesses excellent insulating properties, providing exceptional warmth without adding bulk to garments. Despite its delicate appearance, pashmina is remarkably durable and long-lasting when cared for properly, making it a valuable investment piece that can be treasured for generations.

Traditional Production Techniques

The production of pashmina involves a meticulous and labor-intensive process that has remained largely unchanged for centuries. It begins with the careful combing or shearing of the Changthangi goats in spring, when they naturally shed their winter undercoat. The collected pashmina fibers are then sorted and cleaned to remove any impurities or debris.

Once cleaned, the pashmina fibers are hand-spun into yarn using traditional spinning wheels or drop spindles. Hand-spinning allows artisans to control the tension and thickness of the yarn, resulting in a finer and more uniform texture. After spinning, the pashmina yarn is ready to be woven into textiles using handloom or hand-operated weaving machines.

Skilled artisans use age-old weaving techniques to create intricate patterns and designs, often incorporating traditional motifs inspired by nature, folklore, and cultural heritage. The weaving process requires precision and attention to detail, with artisans carefully manipulating the yarn to achieve the desired texture and drape.

Cultural Heritage and its Influence on Quality

The rich cultural heritage of pashmina weaving plays a significant role in maintaining the exceptional quality and craftsmanship of pashmina textiles. The art of pashmina weaving has been passed down through generations of artisans, each contributing their expertise and creativity to the craft.

Cultural traditions and techniques, such as hand-spinning, hand-weaving, and intricate embroidery, continue to shape the quality and character of pashmina textiles. Artisans draw inspiration from their surroundings, incorporating elements of local flora, fauna, and landscapes into their designs.

Furthermore, the cultural significance of pashmina as a symbol of prestige and heritage drives artisans to uphold the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship in their work. Each pashmina textile is a labor of love and dedication, reflecting the artisan's passion for their craft and their commitment to preserving a cherished tradition for future generations.

Quality and Pricing

A. Factors Influencing the Quality of Cashmere and Pashmina

The quality of cashmere and pashmina is influenced by several key factors, which determine the overall excellence of the fiber and the resulting textiles:

Fiber Diameter and Fineness: The diameter and fineness of the fibers play a significant role in determining the quality of cashmere and pashmina. Finer fibers are generally considered more luxurious and desirable, as they contribute to a softer, more lightweight texture.

Fiber Length and Strength: The length and strength of the fibers impact the durability and resilience of cashmere and pashmina textiles. Longer, stronger fibers are less prone to pilling and breakage, resulting in garments that retain their quality and appearance over time.

Purity and Origin: The purity of the fiber, as well as its geographic origin, can significantly affect the quality of cashmere and pashmina. Fibers sourced from goats raised in their natural habitat, such as the high-altitude regions of Mongolia or the Himalayas, tend to be of higher quality due to the harsh climate and selective breeding practices.

Processing and Spinning Techniques: The processing and spinning techniques used to convert raw fibers into yarn also impact the quality of cashmere and pashmina. Traditional methods, such as hand-spinning, are often favored for their ability to preserve the natural characteristics of the fiber and produce finer, more consistent yarn.

Weaving and Finishing: The weaving and finishing processes play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of cashmere and pashmina textiles. Skilled artisans employ meticulous techniques to create intricate patterns and designs, ensuring that each piece meets the highest standards of craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal.

B. Price Range and Market Positioning

Cashmere and pashmina products are positioned as luxury items in the market, commanding premium prices due to their exceptional quality and prestige. The price range for cashmere and pashmina garments can vary significantly depending on factors such as fiber quality, origin, production methods, and brand reputation. Generally, authentic pashmina products tend to be more expensive than cashmere due to the rarity of the fiber and the labor-intensive production process involved.

Cashmere and pashmina garments are available in a wide range of price points, from affordable options to high-end designer pieces. While lower-priced cashmere and pashmina products may still offer excellent quality, consumers should be cautious of excessively low prices, as they may indicate inferior or counterfeit materials.

C. Understanding Quality Indicators When Purchasing

When purchasing cashmere or pashmina products, it's essential to be aware of key quality indicators to ensure that you're getting value for your money:

Fiber Content: Check the label or product description to verify the fiber content. Authentic cashmere and pashmina products should contain a high percentage of cashmere or pashmina fibers, typically 100% or a high blend percentage.

Origin and Certification: Look for products that specify the origin of the fibers, such as "100% Mongolian Cashmere" or "Authentic Kashmiri Pashmina." Additionally, certifications such as the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI) label or the Pashmina Test Report can provide assurance of quality and authenticity.

Softness and Texture: Feel the fabric to assess its softness and texture. High-quality cashmere and pashmina should feel exceptionally soft and smooth against the skin, with a luxurious tactile sensation.

Construction and Finish: Examine the garment for signs of quality construction and finish, such as tight, even stitching and neat seams. Pay attention to details such as hemming, weaving, and embroidery, which can indicate the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Reputation and Reviews: Research the brand or manufacturer to gauge their reputation for quality and authenticity. Read reviews from other customers to learn about their experiences with the product and any potential issues or concerns.

By understanding these quality indicators, consumers can make informed decisions when purchasing cashmere and pashmina products, ensuring that they receive genuine, high-quality items that meet their expectations.


In conclusion, cashmere and pashmina stand as timeless treasures in the world of luxury fibers, cherished for their exceptional softness, warmth, and beauty. By understanding the distinctions between these fibers and appreciating their unique qualities, we gain a deeper appreciation for the artisans and cultures that bring them to life. Whether draped around the shoulders as a shawl, wrapped snugly as a scarf, or worn as a cozy sweater, cashmere and pashmina garments offer not only comfort and elegance but also a connection to a rich tapestry of tradition and craftsmanship.

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About Pashwrap

Pashwrap is a luxury Cashmere brand dedicated to creating the highest quality Cashmere Scarves, Pashmina shawls and wraps. With over sixty of experience in the industry, we are committed to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of this exquisite textile.

Our commitment to quality and sustainability has been recognized in numerous publications, and we have received awards for our work in promoting the art and craft of Pashmina.

We work directly with local artisans and weavers in Kashmir, India to ensure that our products are made with the utmost care and attention to detail. By doing so, we are able to preserve the traditional techniques and skills used in the creation of Pashmina shawls.

We are proud to be a trusted authority on the topic of Cashmere and Pashmina shawls, and we are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise with others who share our love for this exquisite textile. Whether you're looking for a timeless piece to add to your wardrobe or want to learn more about the history and craft of Pashmina, Pashwrap is here to help.