By: Blair Rhodes

Having been a part of the pashmina and cashmere business for over six years now, one of the most common questions asked by our customers is whether they should order a 100% pure pashmina accessory or a pashmina silk blend. While in the end it is a personal preference, but there are a few differing characteristics to consider.

1) The most obvious distinction is visual. A pashmina silk blend shawl, wrap or scarf has a lustrous sheen. This classic sheen is caused by the addition of the silk (typically 30%), and by the tighter weave commonly used for the blended items. The sheen is considered desirable for some occasions, such as weddings or formal events, where the dresses often are made of materials that also have sheen, such as silk or satin. Although you do not have to match the sheen of the dress to the pashmina, it is common practice.

2) The overall warmth of the item is another step to consider when choosing the right pashmina for you and your specific needs. In short, a 100% pure pashmina item is going to be warmer than a pashmina silk blended accessory. Pashmina wool, a type of high quality cashmere, is both warm and light so the additional content creates additional warmth. How much of a difference in warmth depends on the percentage of silk content, which can vary but should be clearly marked on the accessory.

3) Pashminas can be made with a variety of weaves, so that is another difference to consider. There are wide varieties of weaves, but it will be kept basic here. As mentioned above, a pashmina silk blended item is usually produced using a tighter weave that enhances the sheen and creates a smooth texture. A 100% pure pashmina accessory is generally produced with a looser, more textured weave to help prevent pilling and shedding of the wool. It also makes the item a little bit "fluffier" and helps give it that luxurious hand feel that only cashmere provides.

4) Some pashmina retailers, including The Pashmina Store, offer pure pashmina items in single ply, 2 ply, 3 ply or even more. The greater the ply, the thicker and warmer the item will be. Since many pashmina silk blends are produced in 2 ply, a 3 ply pure pashmina can offer a significant difference in warmth. But since cashmere is a light fiber, even a 3 ply item is light in weight.

For many years, the term "pashmina" typically was considered by consumers to be a pashmina and silk blend, but pure pashminas are just as popular. It is not uncommon for fashionable pashmina wearers to have a selection of both types to suit their needs at any given time based on their particular mood, outfit or the occasion. In the end, you cannot go wrong with either.

About the author :

Since 2000, Blair Rhodes has been in the cashmere and pashmina business with The Pashmina Store,, one of the most popular online specialty retailers. After earning an MBA at the University of Texas at Austin, Blair traveled with his family to Nepal and Kashmir, where they discovered the joys of the culture and the traditions of quality cashmere and pashmina production.

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