Cold weather has arrived and it’s time to wear our winter wraps. Although we have some we are anxious to wear again, it’s always fun to add one more to our collection, especially a nice shawl.
The Shahtoosh Shawl
One of the priciest and warmest wools comes from the chiru, a Tibetian antelope.Â Because of its warm fur, the chiru is able to thrive in -40 degree temperatures. Its wool is called Shahtoosh.
Regular shahtoosh shawls contain 3 threads and are priced around Rs 25,000 for a lady’s shawl and around Rs 50,000 for a man’s. Double shades, which are much warmer, contain 4 threads and are priced at Rs 30,000.
The wool of a toosh is ultra light but very warm. This shawl is sometimes called a “ring” shawl due to its wool being fine enough to pull through a ring.
The shawl is pricey, not only because it is nice but also because the Tibetan antelope population has decreased so much in recent years (around 90%).
This is primarily due to smugglers and poachers killing them for their wool.
The demand for it is so high that they make a fortune selling it illegally.
Toosh shawls cannot be legally sold in India. The elite crowd (especially from France, Italy, & Spain) is adamant about buying these shawls and finds other means of purchasing them.
The reason toosh shawls cannot be sold is because of the ruthless poachers killing the antelopes to get the wool. Rumor would have you believe that the men distribute large amounts of thorns in areas where the antelopes gather.
The wool from the antelopes catches on them, providing some wool for shawl-making.
The truth is, the traders beat these antelopes to kill them for the wool. The best wool comes from the underside of the animals and you must kill them to get it. Shooting them ruins the wool so they are beaten to death instead. It takes three antelopes to get enough wool for one woman’s shawl and five to get enough for a man’s. The antelopes are usually killed after the mating season because pregnant ones will provide more wool.Â These antelopes are becoming extinct as a result of this.
So now that you know the truth about Shahtoosh shawls, you should settle for another kind in order to spare a few of these antelopes.
Cashmere shawls (also called Pashmina shawls) are much more affordable and, although not as nice as the Shahtoosh, are still fine. This fine wool comes from goats raised in the mountains of Central Asia and Tibet. The shawls made from this wool come in many beautiful colors and cost around Rs 7000. They can be ordered embroidered as well as double shaded.
This wool is also made into silk pasminas and can be embossed with sequins and other jewels. With wool this fine, who needs a toosh?