Do you want to know if your desired scarf is real Cashmere? Have you bought a surprisingly cheap Pashmina? How to spot frauds and what to be aware of!
Since long an aftersought fiber, cashmere has now been introduced to broad masses. Being a rare and hard-to-find very soft fiber, the prices climb and the frauds become numerous.
Cashmere wool comes from Cashmere goats, that is; goats living in the cold Himalayan climate. In reality there is no special breed called “Cashmere goat” – EVERY goat can produce cashmere wool if it is cold enough! The Angora goat differs, since it produces Mohair. Both Cashmere and Mohair is the soft underdown.
The goat most known for its fine cashmere is Himalayan goats, often referred to as Cashmere goats. The name Cashmere derives from the Indian region Kashmir, where the first Cashmere clothing was appreciated. Another very well known word for Cashmere is Pashmina. This derives from the Persian word for “wool”. As such, it was used for several kinds of woolen fabrics, and not only goat underdown fabrics.
WHAT -IS- PASHMINA?
Pashmina is actually -not- an internationally recognized term for Cashmere. That means that if you come across any Cashmere fabric claiming to be 100% Pashmina, that most likely is a fraud. Several fabrics can be labeled 100% Pashmina, and this means they can have absolutely no Cashmere content whatsoever!
Common man-made materials in fake shawls are viscose (also called rayon!) and acrylic. Sometimes it could be ordinary wool, maybe blended with some percent Cashmere.
Other fake Cashmere names could be cashmore, cashmair and other, similar ones. Here it is important to remember that ONLY Cashmere is allowed to be named as “Cashmere” – all the other names are frauds and/or blends!
(Of course Cashmere can be spelled differently in different languages – please note this and apply this rule to your native language – that is, if it is in any way unrecognized by you in your native language, then do NOT buy!)
TIPS FOR BUYERS
Always look at the label on your garment or scarf. If you are looking for 100% Cashmere and the label says anything else, then do not buy!
If it says “100%Pashmina Cashmere” do NOT buy, because that is NOT a cashmere garment or scarf! The Cashmere part is just added to get your attention! When a seller announces the item like this, it is to fool you to think it is a “100% Cashmere”.
If, on the other hand, it says “Pashmina 100%Cashmere”, it might be genuine, because stated like this it is “a Pashmina (=scarf/shawl/wrap fabric) made of 100% Cashmere”. See how a seller can try trick you by just placing the words in a different order?!
HOW TO BE SURE
If however the price seems to good to be true, it most likely is. If you want to be sure of the 100% Cashmere quality you should buy fabrics originating from UK, where the Cashmere quality control is very good and strict. If the Cashmere comes from Asia, it could sometimes be a fraud; it has actually happened that big clothing companies in the US has been fooled by Asian vendors!
HOW TO EXAMINE YOUR GARMENT
First, you can do a rough “by-inspection”-estimation. Cashmere is a rather matte fiber, it has not much of a sheen. If your garment labeled as 100% Cashmere has some sheen, you should be slightly suspicious, but not much, since Cashmere sometimes can sheen, depending on the wear of the garment. Look for pilling; 100% Cashmere always pills after some wearing.
If your garment has sheen and no pilling, then it could be a blend, maybe Cashmere/Silk. If you are very unlucky it could be just viscose. Viscose always has sheen and is often used in fake Cashmere fabric.
You can always spot the acrylic/polyester fabrics by their tendency to accumulate static electricity. Sometimes you can actually hear the spark! Rub your garment against some known plastic material and check if it attracts hair, dust, breadcrumbs os some other small object. If it does, then it’s a fake Cashmere fabric!
Another way to spot a fake is if the garment/scarf label is -glued- onto the fabric.This is a very quick way to fasten the label, pointing to the carelessness of the manufacturer. Real Cashmere does NOT stand for glueing!
You can do a small authenticity testing to see whether your fabric really IS Cashmere or if it is some blend.
DO NOT TRY THIS WITHOUT SUPERVISION!!! – KEEP FAR AWAY FROM FLAMMABLE MATERIALS!!! – KEEP CLOSE TO WATER!!! – DO NOT TRY THIS WITHOUT FABRIC OWNER’S PERMISSION!!!
Cut a small piece of fabric from the piece you want to test. If you want to test a scarf, it is best to cut about 2cm from one of the fringes. If you want to test clothing, cut small pieces where it can NOT be noticed from the outside!
Put the fabric piece on a microwave safe plate or in a ceramic/steel pot without the lid. Light a match and put it close to the fabric so it catches fire. Watch and smell intensely as the fabric burns. When it has finished burning, examine the remnants and when you are done, press very gently with a finger tip in order too feel the ashes.
If it smells like burnt hair, if it crushes easily to become a powderlike substance when pressing and if it is hard to set it on fire, then it is some kind of wool or wool blend. This -MAY- be a real Cashmere fabric! (This could be a wool/cashmere blend, there is no way to tell unless you get it examined more closely by a professional…)
If it smells like burnt leaves, if it crushes easily to become a powderlike substance when pressing and if it burns quickly with a big flame, then it is viscose. Sorry! Try to get your money back if it was sold as Cashmere!
If it smells like vinegar or plastic, if it gets small hard lumps in the ashes and if it burns quickly, perhaps even “sparkles” a little, then it is acrylic or polyester or some other kind of plastic. Sorry! Try to get your money back if it was sold as Cashmere!
If you get something that is a combination of these three, then it most likely is a material blend. Sorry! Try to get your money back if it was sold as 100% Cashmere!