What Is The Cashmere Clothing Wedding Ring Test | TCG London
The history of cashmere clothing is one that spread from the Kashmir Valley throughout the world, and each place finds a special significance with the soft, comfortable and warm fibre.
From the aristocratic elite of the Mughal Empire to the Kings, Queens and rulers of Europe, cashmere has a particular significance that is still felt today even as the still very rare fibre has made its way into the hands of more people and in more styles.
To ensure people receive only the finest quality, a wide range of tests are employed from basic touch-and-feel tests to highly advanced microscopic examinations of the garment itself to confirm its authenticity and grade.
However, there is another test that has been used since at least the 16th century that involves a wedding ring and what can seem like a magic trick.
The Ring Shawl
If you are wearing a shawl or other suitably lightweight cashmere garment, a traditional way to test its quality requires only a typical wedding band or any other similar ring without a stone in it.
You thread a small corner of it into the ring and try to pull it through. If it slips through elegantly without getting caught, stuck or bunched together, then you have a high-quality genuine piece of cashmere.
This test was intended for a shawl that measured one metre by two metres and can only be done with a simple band such as a gold or silver wedding ring. Trying to use a ring with a stone in it risks damaging the delicate fabric.
Historically it was used by the Mughal aristocracy to test the finest Pashmina wool and has caught on as an alternative to the “burn test”, where an inconspicuous fibre was pulled away and set alight, with real cashmere burning slowly and smelling like burnt hair.
Does It Work?
There are many demonstrations of the ring test in action, so it is clear that a cashmere shawl will smoothly slide through the middle of a ring, so the question is whether it is a useful or worthwhile way to test cashmere.
The answer is somewhat mixed given the test’s inherent limitations. The test was designed for loose shawls, so sweaters are too thick to be fairly tested using a wedding ring, and smaller garments such as scarves are far more likely to pass even if they are made of thick knitting wool.
As well as this, it must be noted that the original test was not designed to determine real cashmere from other materials, but instead separate high-quality pashmina made for the Mughal aristocracy from the exceedingly rare (and currently illegal to acquire) shahtoosh shawls reserved for the ruling class.
Whilst there are many cashmere shawls that will pass through the ring without an issue, some genuine pieces of cashmere might have slight difficulties and other materials can pass through the ring as well with the help of fabric softener.
Ultimately, the best way to tell is to read the label, trust the feel of the garment or seek out tests in a lab.