Difference Between Cashmere and Pashmina

Cashmere vs Pashmina

Identifying the difference between Casmere and pashmina is a bit difficult for the first time buyers/users as the wool of both has the same origin: the cashmere goat. Both, cashmere and pashmina, are luxurious material. While cashmere is the term that is mostly heard of, pashmina is a less popular term. However, in reality, cashmere and pashmina both refer to the same sort of product which has subtle yet unique characteristics that set the two apart.

What is Cashmere?

Cashmere refers to the kind of fibre obtained from the cashmere goat or the clothing that is made from this and derives its name from the region of Kashmir where these goats primarily used to live. The texture of the cashmere is luxuriantly soft, strong, very fine and light and in turn gives very good insulation, proving themselves to be the ideal material to be used in cold climates.

As defined by the U.S. Wool Products Labelling Act of 1939, as amended, (15 Action 68b(a)(6)), a product may not be called cashmere unless it is made from the fine undercoat fibres produced by a cashmere goat, the average diameter of the fibre of the product does not exceed 19 microns, it does not contain more than 3 percent of cashmere fibres with diameters that exceed 30 microns and the average diameter of the fibre may be subject to a coefficient of variation around the mean that shall not exceed 24 percent.

cashmere shawl

This wool is obtained from the neck area of the cashmere goats during the spring moulting season which falls between March and May. Currently, China is the largest producer of raw cashmere with an estimated at 10,000 metric tons per year.

What is Pashmina?

Pashmina refers to a type of cashmere textile first woven in India. The term is derived from the word Pashmineh, which means made from “Pashm ” or wool. This wool is harvested from the Pashmina goat also known as changthangi, a breed that is indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Pashmina textiles are usually hand spun, embroidered and woven in Nepal and Kashmir.

Pashmina shawls have been made in Nepal and Kashmir for thousands of years and some believe that the pashmina from Nepal is the finest in existence. Nepali pashmina is known as Chyangra Pashmina.

Difference Between Cashmere and Pashmina

Pashmina products, mostly fine scarves, are known for their softness and warmth. Pure pashmina is a gauzy open weave, as the fibre is not capable of tolerating high tension, but the more popular pashmina is 70% pashmina/30% silk blend. However, the term pashmina is not a labelling term that is recognized in the US.

What is the difference between Cashmere and Pashmina?

Cashmere and pashmina can both be categorized as wool products that are derived from mountain goats. However, that is quite a broad categorization as cashmere and pashmina each have their distinct identities.

• Cashmere is a product that is made in countries such as China, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Iran, Turkey, and other Central Asian Republics. Pashmina is exclusively produced in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The traditional producers of Pashmina Wool in Ladakh region of India are a tribe known as the Changpa.

• Pashmina fibres are known to be finer and thinner than cashmere fibre which makes them ideal for the production of lightweight apparel.

• Pashmina is mostly hand woven while cashmere can be machine spun and woven.


Photos By: Magdalena Austerlitz (CC BY- ND 2.0), Martin and Kathy Dady (CC BY-ND 2.0)