Orenburg shawls became colloquially known as “wedding ring shawls" because while being quite large, each one is so fine that it can be pulled through a wedding ring. Originally, shawls were only knit in the white and dark-gray colors but nowadays, shawls are available in a wide assortment of vibrant and extremely rich colors! You really owe it to yourself to own at least one Orenburg goat down shawl or scarf!
The Orenburg Shawl is a very thin, yet strong lacy work of art. Originating in Orenburg, Russia, the Orenburg Shawl became one of the classic Russian symbols along with Matryoshka, Khohloma, Gzhel, Palekh, Vologda lace, Dymkovo toys, etc. It is even considered a bad manner to leave the City of Orenburg without a beautiful Orenburg Shawl!
The Orenburg goat down is among the thinnest downs in the world! It is even thinner than that of Angora goats (mohair) which is 22-24 micrometers, whereas Orenburg down is 16-18 micrometers. No wonder Orenburg Shawl is often called "the wedding ring shawl." The reason behind it is that regardless of how large the Orenburg down shawl is, it is knit so finely that it can always be pulled through a wedding ring!
In order to withstand harsh Russian winters indigenous goats grow a super fine but very warm coat in great abundance. Every spring the goats are brushed to collect this beautifully soft down. Each goat gives about one pound of it.
The Orenburg goat breed is so special that it is rarely seen outside the Orenburg area. The severe living conditions in the Ural Mountains are mainly the reason for the goats' hair being so fine and fibers being so durable. In fact, this special goat fiber is considered more durable than wool and more valuable than cashmere!