You must’ve heard your mom, your mom’s mom and all the aunts talk about a luxurious and ridiculously expensive Pashmina shawl they scored from a Kashmiri Shawl-wala.
Pashmina is made with the finest cashmere wool, combed from the underbelly of a domestic Himalayan goat called Chyagra(Capra Hircus). Why this one, you ask? Chyagra is said to possess the lightest, finest and warmest variety of cashmere wool fibres. With Pashmina on their bellies, if these goats can survive at an elevation of 14000 feet and -40 degree centigrade, so can you!
Whenever in a fix of whether the Pashmina you’re about to splurge on is real, use one or both of the following tests:
The Ring Test: A real Pashmina shawl will always pass through a normal ring. The only problem with this test is that even a medium quality shawl will pass through the ring. However, a real, absolutely pure Pashmina will just glide through it effortlessly, butter-softly.
The Burn Test: Now this test if for the brave-hearted because it involves setting your precious Pashminas on fire. OK, not exactly but yes, it does mean you have to burn an end, just a tiny little part of it. If you burn a little piece of the shawl it will smell like hair burning and what is left is just ash. With this test you will be able to distinguish between a wool/cashmere product and one made with synthetic fibres, which has a slightly chemical smell and when you blow out the flame, there will be a little hard particle left which stays attached to the fabric. This is a good test but then any kind of wool shawl will smell that way. So then, we say you resort to your instincts!