The Pashmina Ring Test - Truth or Deception?
For decades, Cashmere Pashmina lovers across the world have been stuck in a perpetual dilemma - “Is my Cashmere genuine?”
Even though Cashmere or Pashmina is the richest and finest fabric to exist in the world, it’s market has been flooded by fakes and replicas which sell at exuberant prices. These days even poly fibres like viscose sell in the name of Pashmina. A buyer, who is unaware of this deception and fraud, regrets much later, when the fake Pashmina doesn’t live upto the expectations and the price.
Hence, Pashmina or Cashmere lovers have looked for thousands of ways to test their beloved masterpiece. They’ve tried every single way to prove that it’s genuine. They’ve researched and researched till they found out how to determine the genuinity of a Cashmere Pashmina for their next purchase. They’ve taken pride when it feels soft against their skin. They’ve basked in delight while purchasing it. They’ve passed their Cashmere through rings, discarded those that don’t pass and cherished those that do.
THE DECEPTION OF THE RING TEST
And THAT IS WHERE the DECEPTION lies - THE RING TEST.
The Pashmina ring test, quite popular across the world, requires you to pass your shawl through a ring. They claim that because Pashmina is the among the softest and finest fabrics in the world, it passes through the ring easily.
The fact remains that the Ring Test for Pashmina is INVALID. Infact, it used to hold for Shahtoosh shawls in the earlier times. The purity of Shahtoosh could be determined by passing it through a ring.
However, with the advent and use of fabric softeners, any soft fabric, even viscose, can pass through a ring today.
THE AD THAT PROMOTED THE RING TEST
The RING TEST DECEPTION was further promoted when a reputed Corporate house promoted the ring test in their much popular TV commercial. The ad suggested that pure Pashmina should pass through a ring.
As an implication to this many customers would test genuine Pashmina by passing it through a ring and when it didn’t pass, they would discard it immediately.
At the end of the day, a poorly researched marketing gimmick of a large corporation killed the livelihood of so many grassroot artisans who would work day in and day out to create a Genuine Pashmina and would be termed as crooks in the market.
The commercial was ultimately removed after a legal suite was filed against the Company.
But the question remains - CAN THE DAMAGE BE REVERSED?
CAN THOSE ARTISANS GET THEIR REPUTATION BACK?
CAN THE FALLACY OF THE RING TEST BE REMOVED FROM A CUSTOMER’S MIND?
WHAT IS THE REAL TEST OF PASHMINA?
We’ve been asked this question over and over again - If the ring test isn’t valid, then what is?
There’s only one sure shot way to determine the purity of a Cashmere or a Pashmina - that is the GI Test.
Kashmiri Pashmina has been registered under the Geographical Indications (G.I) of Good Act of India on 09-12-2008. The registration is an acknowledgment of the fact that the handicraft is unique and is produced in a particular area with traditional knowledge and skills, special to the region. Kashmiri Pashmina G.I. mark labeled product has a covert (readable under UV light) and a visible unique code, which can be searched on www.kashmirpashmina.secure-ga.com to verify authenticity. Specifications for a Kashmiri Pashmina to quality for GI seal are:
a. It should be made of 100% Pashmina Fiber having fineness of below 16 microns and obtained from the under fleece of mountain goat "Capra Hiracus"
b. Handspun on traditional wheel (Charkha)
c. Woven by artisans traditionally and skillful developed unique handloom specific to it.
When a Pashmina buyer chooses a GI Certified piece, you don’t just ensure that you own a genuine Cashmere. Rather, you ensure that 33 artisans across Ladakh and Kashmir get their due share of respect, recognition and wage. You contribute towards preserving a craft which has long been cherished by the elite and nobles.
An artisan is empowered and so are you.