Silk — delicate luxury

Silk is a natural fiber‚ obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. It is believed that the homeland of its production was China and clothes for the rulers were sewn from silk fabric. According to the legend, the silk fiber was accidentally discovered by the Chinese empress Heng-Ling-Chi, when she dropped the cocoon into hot water and under the action of high temperature silk threads were separated from the cocoon. But from archaeological finds we get to know that silk was known a thousand years before the reign of the Chinese empress.

Thin, elegant material was made before our era, in ancient China, it is in this country that its history begins, which continues to this day. The first mentions of it date back to 2640 BC. Two millennia later, silk was brought from China to Persia‚ in 200 BC the fabric enters Egypt and Central Asia, and later – Europe.
Silk clothing was originally available only to overseas rulers. It cost a great deal of money, as it had many advantages: softness, breathability, moisture permeability. In addition, silk products protected from heat and cold, as well as had antiseptic properties. No wonder, silk clothing was in the wardrobe of only the rulers, and it became available to the middle class only many years later.

Silk production was monopolized by the Chinese emperor. The trade secret of silk production was strictly kept and not disclosed, and the export of silkworm cocoons from the country was forbidden under penalty of death.

Natural silk was China’s most valuable commodity, and it was thanks to it that the Great Silk Road emerged, a grand trade artery that connected China and European states. It seems incredible, but the principle of obtaining natural silk has existed unchanged for over 5 000 years.
Natural silk became very popular in the 17th century in Florence. After that, the leader of production is France, where silk clothes are a mandatory attribute of the court nobility and high society.

Today, the largest silk producer is still China, which occupies 70% of the world market. Its main competitor is India, but in its original traditions Uzbekistan, Iran, Thailand and Brazil are also engaged in silk production.

Silk owes its appearance to a small caterpillar of the silkworm, which ensured the existence of the silk industry.

Silk thread is produced by a special gland in the head of the caterpillar and reaches a length of up to 4000 m when the caterpillar wraps its cocoon in circular motions. To prevent the butterfly hatching from the cocoon‚ biting it and damaging the thread, it is immersed in hot water, the “silk glue” is separated and a clean thread is obtained. Silk thread is very strong, elastic and shiny. The thread can withstand heavy loads, it allows you to get a high density of weaving, has a high tensile strength. Thus, silk products are highly durable and strong.