Almost everyone has heard of cashmere, and nearly as many of us have heard of pashmina. Each of these materials is known for being a luxurious, soft and warm material for high-end knit garments.
But what are the differences between the two?
In many ways, they are very similar – in fact, they sometimes refer to the same thing.
In the Western world, we use the term ‘cashmere’ to refer to the undercoat wool fibres from cashmere goats originally herded in the region of Kashmir – hence the name. In the Kashmir region itself, however, they refer to the undercoat wool of these goats as ‘pashm.’ Once it has been cleaned, combed, spun and is ready for use, the term elongates slightly to ‘pashmina.’
The main difference between the two terms in modern times is that ‘cashmere’ is used to refer to goats of similar type throughout the Himalaya region, and even in Mongolia and parts of non-Himalayan China. The term ‘pashmina’ is mainly used today for wool from Tibetan goats.
Realistically whatever it’s labelled as, you want to make sure you’re getting pure cashmere / pashmina, and not a blend.