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Buy Shahtoosh ~REPACK~

When told about Stewart's "shahtoosh" comment, a top official at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, said that if, in fact, Stewart owns an shawl that is actually made from shahtoosh: "That would be an issue."

buy shahtoosh


Americans cannot own a shahtoosh shawl or other shahtoosh product "because it was illegally brought into the United States," said the official, Edward Grace, acting assistant director for law enforcement for the FWS.

"More than one hundred socialites and celebrities, including fashion icon Nan Kempner, supermodel Christie Brinkley, and arts patroness Beth Rudin DeWoody, had hand-delivered to them at their country houses or Manhattan apartments by U.S. marshals in July: subpoenas 'for person and documents or objects,' ordering them to testify before a grand jury sitting in Newark and to bring with them 'any and all shahtoosh shawls, other shahtoosh items, and items made from the Tibetan antelope, chiru or ibex,'" the article said.

"The demand for shahtoosh has already pushed the chiru to the brink of extinction. The antelope must be killed for the fur to be collected, and it takes around four chiru to make a single shawl," the article said.

Nuzhat Saadia Siddiqi, an environmentalist and activist, told The Guardian: "The prestige factor may be high with shahtoosh, but it is false prestige, standing on the carcasses of dead animals. Anyone wearing, buying, selling, gifting shahtoosh shawls should be ashamed of themselves."

In a matter of seconds, the entire herd was gunned down with assault rifles and machine guns. Dozens of antelope lay dead - slaughtered for one of high-fashion's most desirable 'items', the shahtoosh shawl, made from the wool of the chiru antelope.

Coveted by the super-rich and fashionistas alike, shahtoosh has a mystique like no other. Shahtoosh, which means 'king of wool' in Persian, is so fine, light and translucent that a shawl made from it will pass through a wedding ring.

It makes cashmere feel like horse-hair and the delicate astrakhan (made from foetal lambs) like an old woollen jumper. Napoleon gave a shahtoosh shawl to Josephine. Indian maharajas gave them to their concubines and Chinese emperors sent armies to plunder them.

Shahtoosh went out of fashion almost a decade ago, shortly after it became illegal and police around the world began to crack down on traders. But in certain circles in the UK, shahtoosh is once again becoming a must-have commodity, with no one knowing or caring where it comes from.

Attempts have been made to farm chiru, but shearing the antelope proved impossible as the shahtoosh has to be plucked directly out of the animals' skin to be usable. It is also far, far easier to gun the animals down than to tend them. This has led to a free-for-all slaughter on an astonishing scale.

Before shahtoosh became fashionable in the early 1990s, more than a million animals roamed the Tibetan plateau. Of these vast herds only about 75,000 antelope now remain, with an estimated 20,000 killed each year by poachers.

When the raw wool is smuggled into India from Tibet it has a street value of around 500 a pound. Trafficking tiger bones one way and shahtoosh the other earns the smugglers profit margins of 600per cent or more.

Small wonder, then, that shahtoosh has become a significant part of the booming 6billion illegal wildlife trade. The trade as a whole is now the thirdlargest illegal activity after drug smuggling and gun running.

From time to time 'shahtoosh parties' are held where fashionistas meet to show off their shawls and buy the latest designs. Most will know full well where the wool for their scarves comes from, but they peddle a variety of lies so they appear less heartless.

The simple truth is that shahtoosh is so valuable that it is an almost irresistible source of money for poverty-stricken Tibetans. But the real driving force behind the trade is rich consumers in the developed world.

Nothing is finer, sweeter, or warmer than a shahtoosh shawl: certainly the touch is a little lighter than a pashmina shawl. The dyes always altering the quality of the fibers, it is always woven in natural down: its hue varies from beige to ecru. A shahtoosh looks a lot like natural pashminas, like the real pashmina shawl 100% pure cashmere natural beige.

In reality, to obtain the amount of fluff necessary for the weaving of a single shawl, 3 to 5 Tibetan antelopes are slaughtered, which explains why the population of these animals has passed in the space of a century of over a million less than 75,000 individuals. Endangered by extinction, the Tibetan antelope became a protected species in 1979, while in the same year the shahtoosh trade was banned internationally.

So we summarize. To protect poaching of the Tibetan antelope, which is slaughtered for its down, the shahtoosh trade is banned all over the world. Anyone who buys or sells it is punishable by a fine or even a prison sentence. However, given the demand, they are still woven in Srinagar, then sold under cover in India or in major shopping centers in the Middle East.

Shahtoosh comes from the short, warm fleece of the rare Tibetan antelope, a species found almost exclusively in the Changtang area of Tibet, on the Tibetan Plateau. It takes four animals to provide enough wool for just one shahtoosh shawl or scarf.

Global demand for shahtoosh wiped out 90 percent of the Tibetan antelope population during the previous century, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which sets the conservation status of wildlife species. Once a valued dowry item in India, shahtooshes are now sought primarily by Westerners, who may pay as much as $20,000 for a single shawl of the right size, color, and design.

At the Castasegna border checkpoint, Marco Zarucchi peered through a microscope at one of the guard hairs from the seized brown scarf Albertini had handed him. Zarucchi, once an Olympic skier and now a sergeant major at Swiss customs, has confiscated 19 shahtooshes during the past five years.

Lately the U.S. shahtoosh trade has quieted, or perhaps gone unnoticed. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency tasked with tracking wildlife trade, to seek details about any seizures of shahtooshes or other goods made from Tibetan antelope dating back to 2007. It returned no entries.

When it comes to publicly acknowledged confiscations of shahtoosh, Switzerland tops the list. Within its borders, shahtooshes are often nabbed at a tiny airport a few miles from the posh ski resort town of St. Moritz. The day after the shahtoosh bust at the Castasegna border crossing, two dozen private jets were scheduled to land between late morning and mid-afternoon. Many were searched for shahtoosh and other illegal goods.

Around 2 p.m., when three adults and four children disembarked from their flight, their bags were loaded into a small white shipping container to be searched. Zarucchi, the customs official, quickly found a suspicious-looking scarf buried beneath layers of carefully folded blouses and pants. It was navy green with an embroidered trim in orange, red, and pink. Initials, likely those of the weaver, were sewn in the corner of the soft, smooth fabric. To Zarucchi, the wrap looked and felt like a shahtoosh.

Unusual designs are a feature of modern shahtoosh, made by weavers in Kashmir and smuggled to markets in the West. Swiss officials call for international vigilance to help protect the rare Tibetan antelope.

The industry is evolving, however, making law enforcement work even more challenging. To boost their profits and respond to changes in fashion, shahtoosh weavers often now mix in more pashmina, Pragatheesh says.

It takes three chiru to make a shahtoosh. Chiru are delicate-looking antelopes that live in the high Tibetan plateaus. A shahtoosh, says the Times of India, is a "most prized" shawl, "beloved of Mughal emperors. It is very warm, yet so soft and fine" that you can bunch it up and slip it through the band of a wedding ring. It's also illegal, banned because three chiru have to be culled and skinned to make a single garment, and as shahtooshes became more popular, the chiru population in Tibet has plummeted.

Yet you can still buy a shahtoosh if you can afford the black market fee, which in India, says the Times, is as high as $20,000. "At these prices," the paper says, "the profitability of poaching overwhelms any official ban."

Governments still try to enforce the worldwide ban. A few years ago, U.S. federal marshals showed up in the Hamptons on Long Island and issued subpoenas to women who, they had reason to believe, had purchased a shahtoosh. Christie Brinkley was one of them (I read that she got it as a gift from Richard Gere). She and the others were asked to turn in their shahtooshes, which, for the most part, they did. The importers were charged, sentenced, but these "ultra soft, ultra thin, ultra warm" wraps, as Vanity Fair describes them, still attract customers in Europe and Asia, and prices are still rising.

Shahtoosh is a Persian word that means 'king of fine wools'. Shahtoosh shawls are made by highly skilled Kashmiri artisans from the fine under-fur of the chiru (the Tibetan antelope) an endangered species which is protected. Trading in, processing or wearing shahtoosh is a punishable offence in India and many other countries. These facts I researched post event and it is therefore with caution that I'm writing this post.

Fast forward, I came back and did a bit of reading up on Shahtoosh. The animals have to be killed to get the shahtoosh and between 3-5 of them are required to weave just one shawl. The shahtoosh is 6 times finer than human hair which explains why the shawl is very light but it is very effective to keep you warm. All that and the fact that it's a contraband drives Shahtoosh prices up to around USD2k - USD6k, that's the range I found on the net. Some could cost as much as USD15k. 041b061a72


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