Loading...

Pashmina Shawls & Scarves: Go Natural or Synthetic?

Pashmina shawls and scarves are all the rage. They make for quality business gifts and chic additions to any wardrobe. Men and women can use them as alternatives to winter scarves or as stylish spring accessories.

When it comes to Pashmina, you can opt for natural and synthetic versions. Read on to find out more about both types.

Natural Pashmina Scarves & Shawls

Pure pashmina is so precious and rare, it counts as cashmere. The wool is hand-gathered from Himalayan mountain goats that shed only once a year. These goats live only in remote areas of Kashmir, Nepal and Mongolia.

The average Himalayan mountain goat sheds only 3 to 8 ounces of hair per year. As such, natural Pashmina is almost always blended with silk to produce the cloth. In top grade Pashmina shawls and Pashmina scarves, the wool is usually a blend of 80% Pashmina, 20% silk. It’s not unusual to find 70/30 blends on the market.

To count as cashmere, the wool must consist of goat hair that is up to 19 microns thick. Expect to pay a premium for natural Pashmina scarves and shawls of cashmere caliber.

Pashmina goats - producers of pashmina scarves & shawls
Pashmina goats in remote Ladakh (Wikipedia)

Synthetic Pashmina Shawls Pros & Cons

Synthetic Pashmina is often made of viscose and acrylic. It’s more durable than natural Pashmina. Woven on power looms, the fabric may be shiny and have a silk-like feel. Synthetic Pashmina lacks the warmth of Pashmina wool. Scarves are plentiful and come in all sorts of colours and patterns. A big draw to synthetic Pashmina is the price.

Telling The Difference

There are a few ways to tell if your Pashmina shawl is synthetic or natural:

  • While silk may give it some shine, the fabric of natural Pashmina is usually dull. Synthetic Pashmina, on the other hand, is silk-like and shiny.
  • Synthetic Pashmina is cool to touch, while natural Pashmina feels warm.
  • Unlike synthetic Pashmina, natural Pashmina is woven on handlooms. The hand weaving shows clearing near the tassels where the thread is not so closely woven.
  • You can see through natural Pashmina when back lit.

The fibres of natural Pashmina are made of animal hair and are sensitive to heat and water. But dry cleaning is recommended for both synthetic and natural Pashmina scarves and shawls.

Monsoon uses the finest Pashmina wool for its custom scarves and shawls. If natural wool is out of budget range, we can offer you stylish synthetic Pashmina shawls or scarves.

Contact us to make Pashmina scarves or shawls your next business gift!