Having an original Pashmina shawl is a cherished dream of all women across borders, ethnicities, ages, and cultures.
For over a long period, the exceptional artistry, hand spinning and weaving of local Kashmiri craftsmen have displayed a manifestation of sophistication in making beautiful Pashmina shawls.
Such is the magic of elegant and resplendent Pashmina shawls that they have become a style statement and definition of classy for elite women. They have marked their way into the closets of locals of the valley to the mighty and richest people of the world.
One of the biggest doubts a Pashmina lover would come across would be ‘Is it real and genuine one and how to tell if the Pashmina shawl is real or fake?’
This concern is absolutely valid since many affluent and powerful mill owners have overtaken the adroit artistry of craftsmen to make machine-made lookalikes of Pashmina shawls. These replicas look exactly like the real Pashmina.
But even though salt looks like sugar, it is not sugar. And only those who can identify the difference between the two are the real gainers.
Now when it comes to salt and sugar, it is easy to tell the difference. Identifying a fake Pashmina shawl is not that easy.
We are going to make this simple for you.
Read on and get an insight on, how to identify a real Pashmina?
1. The best test to identify real Pashmina is the burn test
Well, we do understand that you would not want to spoil the shawl. But picking up one thread from the fringes would not harm your shawl or ruin the fabric and is sufficient for the burn test.
All you have to do is to take the thread and place it on a plate and burn it. Smell the odor of the burnt fabric and check the ashes carefully with fingertips.
If you get burnt hair smell and the ash turns out to be like a powdery substance, it is likely to be real pashmina. Pashmina is made from real, natural hair and therefore burning the same should give burnt hair smell.
Another thing to note is that in spite of the burning, a real pashmina material feels like matte, quite similar to what it was before burning. If it feels like viscose, you know it is a fake product. This test is used by many vendors to check the authenticity of Pashmina shawls.
2. As mentioned above, even the burnt Pashmina material feels like matte
Matte is a characteristic of real Pashmina. Though a little sheen is possible in Pashmina shawls, they mostly carry matte appearance. If there is a lot of sheen on the fabric, you can put the shawl back to the counter.
3. The reality details of a Pashmina shawl lie in its diameter
Hard to believe? We agree but trust us when we say that the diameter details of a Pashmina shawl are a good indicator of its authenticity.
The best varieties are available for 14 to 15.5 microns. Do not invest your money if it is above 19 microns. When it comes to a better quality of Pashmina, lower the micron count softer and lighter will be the item.
4. The weave of the Pashmina shawl gives an answer to your doubts on its genuineness
If you carefully check the weave of the Pashmina shawl against the light, you can see an irregular weave. A pure Pashmina shawl is woven on a handloom and hence will always have an irregular weave. These irregularities are a mark of real Pashmina product.
5. One of the easiest tests to identify a real Pashmina shawl is the rubbing test
Rubbing the fabric might sound little odd, but if you understand the fundamental of rubbing, you can use this test to decide if the shawl is indeed made of animal fiber or not.
Polyester or acrylic fiber accumulate static electricity within. Rubbing any polyester or fiber material would generate little sparks. If the shawl you are testing is producing tiny sparks upon rubbing, then it is not a real Pashmina shawl. You will also notice that tiny objects and dust are attracted to it.
6. Glue fixes everything. Doesn’t it?
Well, it can also fix your doubt regarding real or fake Pashmina shawl. If you see a label or tag glued on the Pashmina shawl, do not waste your time or money on it because it is a fake one.
One can never stick a thing on a genuine Pashmina shawl with glue as glue cannot hold the label or tag for long. Therefore, you need to stitch the tags in the real Pashmina shawl.
7. You can also do a wiggle test on the Pashmina shawl
Place the shawl between your thumb and index finger and wiggle your fingers. Do you see a wiggly mark? If yes, then the shawl you are considering as Pashmina is probably acrylic.
8. Not everything that that shines is beautiful
The same principle can be applied for authentic Pashmina shawl. Since Pashmina doesn’t have a shine of its own, there is no reason your Pashmina shawl gives a glow and glittery appearance, unless it some silk fabric is added to it; which in any case would make it a fake product.
9. Microscopic tests can also help you test a real Pashmina shawl
Using transmitted light under a microscope, an authentic Pashmina shawl would show block-shaped patterns linked close to one another. If the fiber looks like simple shape placed at an extended distance, then it is certainly not a genuine Pashmina shawl.
10. Dimensions are extremely important in Pashmina shawls
The standard dimension for Pashmina shawls is 36/80 inches. Higher the dimensions, steeper the cost. So, if someone sells a standard or higher dimension Pashmina shawl to you, there are chances of the product being an unauthentic one. If you come across someone who is selling Pashmina shawls at far below the market rates, it is too good to be true scenario.
11. We don’t like pilling on our clothes
It is quite a nuisance and hence good products should not have pilling. If you believe in this and are looking for a Pashmina product that guarantees no-pilling, you are certainly going for a fake Pashmina shawl. Pilling is a quintessential feature with an animal fiber material like Pashmina. If there is no pilling on the shawl, then probably what you have in your hand is a synthetic product.
By now you must be thinking it is very difficult to buy a real pashmina shawl.
Not really, we would say. These tests and a little common sense comes extremely handy in finding a real Pashmina product.
Now that you have all it takes to differentiate a real and fake Pashmina shawl, you have one more reason to treasure your heart with the snugly embrace of an authentic and pure Pashmina, made by love, exclusively for you!