This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
India Shawls. Another name for Cashmere shawls. India has been famous from time immemorial for the production of that most elegant article of dress - the shawl. Some of them are, indeed, of a value which appears almost fabulous. Two to three thousand dollars are not thought an extravagant price, even in India, for a genuine cashmere, and there may be seen on the shoulders of many a fashionable lady in New York India scarfs purchased at a cost of over $5,000. And this value would be greatly enhanced were the workmen paid at all according to the American scale of wages; but the men employed in fabricating these splendid articles rarely earn more than a couple of annes a day (6 cents). These shawls possess a peculiar harmony of coloring which is combined with a brilliancy that neither Europe nor America can approach. The real cashmere or India shawl is produced in the valley of Cashmere and also in Panjab. It is made from the fine downy wool found about the roots of the hair of the wild goat of Thibet and the Himalayas. Some very rich and exquisite imitations of these costly fabrics are now made in France. [See Cashmere Shawls]