What is Silk?

luxury mulberry silk fabric cocoon

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'Elegance is always in style for men. There are all different kinds of elegance. It can be silk, it can be a T-shirt.' Donatella Versace

History of silk

For over 5000 years silk has been referred to the Queen of Textiles. It is the ultimate luxurious fabric, both in look and feel. For almost a millennium only Emperors and high ranking dignitaries were entitled to wear silk, and it has remained a prized possession and traded extensively ever since. Not confined to clothing, silk was also used for a number of other applications, including writing, and the colour of silk worn was an important guide of social class during the Tang dynasty.

How is silk made into a fabric?

Silk is the fine thread with which a silkworm spins its cocoon. The silkworm pupates in its cocoon and emerges 20 days later as a moth. The fibres are then wound on a reel into a thread, which contains approximately 48 silk filaments. The thread which is produced by the spinning glands of the silkworm is the finest and strongest natural fibre in the world.

Sericulture is the cultivation of silkworms to produce and manufacture silk. It is an important part of Chinese heritage and dates back to around 3000 BC.

Silk is a protein fibre, meaning that is chemically quite similar to human skin. Because of this, silk is an ideal 'second skin'. Once filaments are made of silk, they can have great strength and can measure from 500 to 1500 m in length, which is quite substantial given the source. The actual form of the woven silk is a triangular structure. Its absorbency is good, it dyes well, and is produced in over 20 countries. These include the major producers, such as Asia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Madagascar.

The science behind silk

  • Less friction on skin and hair prevents irritation or damage.
  • A cleaner sleep surface.
  • Less drying for skin and hair.

How many different types of silk?

Mulberry Silk

We use the highest grade 6A 22-momme Mulberry silk in all our silk products. It is the highest quality silk available and comes from silkworms produced from the Bombyx mori moth. They’re fed an exclusive diet of mulberry leaves, which is why the luxurious fabric is known as mulberry silk. Mulberry silk forms around 90% of all silk supply in the world.

Other silk fabrics include:

  • Tussar (Indian Tussar silkworm),
  • Eri (Castor silkworm, native to Japan, China and Thailand),
  • Muga (Indian Muga silkworm),
  • Spider (Madagascan spiders),
  • Cricula (Philippines, India and Indonesian Crucula silkworm),
  • Fagara (Attacus atlas silkworm, Sudan and China),
  • Anaphe ( Thaumetopoeidae silkworm, South Africa).

 

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