name 'Pashmina' derived from the Persian word for wool. It is popularly
known in the west as Cashmere wool, from the old spelling for Kashmir.
The fine wool comes from the undercoat of the Himalayan Mountain Goat,
which lives in the most remote regions of the Tibetan Plateau. For over
a thousand years cashmere has been woven into shawls and blankets, prized
by royalty and common people alike for its other worldly softness, warmth
and long life. For many centuries Kashmir was the only place the fiber
could be woven into shawls, according to treaties that gave the Maharaja
of Kashmir exclusive rights to Tibet's Pashmina supply. Today, most of
the world's Pashmina shawls are woven on handlooms in Nepal's Katmandu
Valley. And most are woven on a warp of spun silk for increased suppleness
and strength. In recent years these silks and Cashmere blends have become
the darling of the western fashion world.