What is cashmere?

Arguably one of the finest materials in the world, cashmere is a very expensive fabric that originates from the under layer of the cashmere goat. This means that each animal produces a tiny amount of wool. This breed of sheep is found in places ranging from Canada to Mongolia. There are herds of these goats found in places such as Australia and Scotland although they originate in Central and Southern Asia.

Is it the same as pashmina ?

We do not believe so. It's very important to understand that pashmina is a commercial term used for a very specific type of cashmere that is shed by goats from the Himalayan region. Cashmere, on the other hand, is produced in other parts of the world as well, most notably China and Mongolia from where a great deal of commercial cashmere comes from. Khazana distinguishes between cashmere and pashmina and the latter will normally carry a higher price.

Why is cashmere so expensive ?

This is a difficult question to answer as it requires a very complex answer. Ultimately, cashmere production remains a very old-fashioned affair. Much of the picking of the fabric along with the weaving is done by hand in small ateliers in a part of the world that is politically contentious. The final price will always have a mark-up that varies from company to company based on costs and strategy. Moreover, there are different grades of cashmere based on factors such as 'fineness' and percentage of rough hairs.

Why are there different prices for cashmere shawls?

  • Like many fabrics, cashmere buyers have established quality grades which is usually based on the 'fineness' of the fiber.

  • Furthermore, we also have a small number of 'neck' cashmere shawls. These fibers come from the neck region of the cashmere goat. These are often shorter but harder to harvest and therefore will have a higher price.

  • Another factor used during pricing is how tightly weaved the fabrics are. The best quality cashmere will have very tightly weaved fabrics implying that you have more of it on the shawl. Looser weaves don't imply anything negative, per se, just less of it. Proper care of your pashmina is what we recommend.

How do you know if cashmere is real ?

Like anything, a lot of it is based on trust and from whom you buy. At Khazana, we have spent 30+ years working to ensure we establish deep links with the artisans and buy only the best quality shawls.

There are tests you can do, such as lighting the fiber; however, laboratories remain the most reliable. We do feel strongly about using sensory approaches to judging whether your shawl is an authentic cashmere one. Ultimately, cashmere will always feel incredibly soft on your skin. No fabric can really resemble its softness. Secondly, it will also keep you extremely warm.

Why does my cashmere feel 'rough' ?

As mentioned above, cashmere comes in different forms and they're not all created equal. One of the stages of the manufacturing process of a shawl is known as dehairing where coarser fibers are separated from the finer ones. If your cashmere shawl feels 'rough' The shawl you have simply means that there is a higher coarse hair content.

My shawl does not have a label. Why ?

We always attempt to include a label on our shawl but in a few rare cases, we source a shawl that simply didn't have a label but we know from whom we've sourced it. We are an artisanal business that specializes in sourcing individual and unique pieces rather than having many of the same products produced for us. Before purchasing, don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns.