The natural silk does not belong to fabrics of plant or animal origin. Silk threads are obtained from the cocoon of a silkworm caterpillar. Silk appeared in China more than 5000 years ago and was valued in Europe for its weight in gold until the 13th century when silk production was established in Italian Venice. Therefore, since the 17th century, people have been trying to find a fabric similar to silk, only cheaper. But it was only in 1905 that the industrial production of viscose fiber fabrics, very similar to natural silk, was launched.
Nowadays, natural silk is still an expensive fabric. This is due to the complexity of the production process. Therefore, the production of artificial silk is only developing.
Natural silk production
The finest silk threads are woven by silkworm caterpillars. In order to obtain fibers for further weaving of natural silk, silkworm eggs are placed in incubators for 7-10 days, where the air temperature is 23-25 degrees. After the larvae appear, they are sent to feed on the foliage of the mulberry trees. The grown caterpillars, before transforming into a butterfly, wind cocoons using a special adhesive mass.
Cocoons are a ball or oval closed on all sides with a sticky, fluffy surface and a large cavity inside. The length of the filament of one cocoon can reach one thousand meters. From one hundred kilograms of raw materials, it is possible to obtain about 9 kilograms of weaving threads, and special machines are used to unwind these cocoons.
Why natural silk is so expensive?
Silk is an expensive fabric because it has lots of advantages. Among them, we can define:
- the ability to absorb well and to evaporate moisture;
- excellent permeability, thanks to which natural silk allows the skin to breathe as well as without clothes;
- thermoregulation – silk clothing acquires the temperature of the human body and causes only comfortable sensations;
- excellent hygienic properties – silk items are able to protect the skin from the effects of unfavorable microflora and insects that threaten health;
- activation of regeneration processes due to the presence of amino acids in silk fibers that have a beneficial effect on the epidermis (in ancient times, it was believed that natural silk has healing properties);
- durability – silk items do not lose their original appearance for decades.
Proper care of silk clothes involves only handwashing at a water temperature not higher than 30 degrees and a gentle spin.
Who is now producing the best natural silk?
Since the 3rd century BC, silk has been a symbol of China. However, due to the surplus of this product in China, silk belonged to the middle segment of the market and was considered inexpensive.
In addition, the Chinese textile industry has not used trademarks for a long time. This led to the fact that the production of natural silk in European countries developed much better than in his homeland. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that China regained some of its leading positions in silk production, but still lags behind many European brands.
Today, most of the European brands that dominate the global silk market produce natural silk from Chinese raw materials. Italy was the exception. And at present, it is in Italy that the best brands and the best manufacturers of natural silk and clothing made from this fabric are considered.
To sum it up, one may be sure that silk production is profitable all around the globe.