The origin of shawls in the world can be traced back more than 700 years. The first record comes from the Mughal period. By the 16th Century the Kashmir shawl industry was well-established. Mughal Emperor Akbar promoted the manufacture of shawls in Kashmir. He presented a gift of Kashmir "jamawar" shawl to the Queen of England.
The name Pashmina comes from pashm, the Persian word for wool. This wool comes from changthangi or ladakh or pashmina goat, a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitude of the Himalayas.
Due to the extreme weather conditions, the pashmina goats grow a special fur during winter. This fur is shed during spring and the fleece is caught on thorn bushes. Villagers scour the mountainside for the finest fleece to be used.
The Pashmina Goat - image courtesy: kashmir-rose.com
The winter fur that the goat grows is 1/6 the thickness of human hair. It is so fine that it cannot be spun by machines, so the wool is hand-woven into shawls, scarves, wraps, throws and stoles for export worldwide. The workmanship is so intricate and time consuming that some embroidered shawls take 2 to 4 years time to create.
At Kaarigar we source the finest collection of pashmina directly from the artisans in Kashmir.