The Secrets of Silk

Short-Sleeved Washable Silk TeeThe Legendary Origins of Silk

Silk is one of the oldest textiles known to man, but the methods of silk production remained a mystery in the West for centuries. Legend has it that a Chinese empress discovered silk in the 27th century BC while bathing; a cocoon dropped into her steaming bath water and unraveled. The empress had her handmaidens weave the strands together, and so the first silk thread was made.

A Fabric Worth It's Weight in Gold

Whatever the truth to that story, silk was solely a Chinese product and the silk workers kept the harvesting process a well-guarded secret for almost 3,000 years. In Roman times silk was a valuable commodity, literally worth its weight in gold. The ever-increasing demand for the lustrous material led to the creation of the Silk Road, a trade route that connected Asia with Europe, around 200 BC.

Luxurious Versatility

Silk fibre comes from the cocoon of the silk worm and it is extremely versatile. It’s comfortable to wear year-round, as it is naturally breathable and absorbs moisture. Silk takes dye very well, resulting in rich depth of colour; it is lustrous, reflecting light for that telltale sheen. Surprisingly, silk batting, commonly used as an insulation layer in coats, provides 20% more warmth than goose down.

Silk Popover ShirtStrongest Natural Fibre on Earth?

Silk’s biggest secret, perhaps, might be its strength. Pressure tests have been done proving that a steel filament of the same diameter as a silk one will break before the silk does. Silk’s inherent elasticity insures that it can stretch up to 20% without damage. Silk, it turns out, may be the strongest natural fibre in the world.

Indulge Yourself with Silk: A Practical Luxury

Its strength, comfort and beauty make silk a practical luxury that's always a fabulous clothing value. Indulge yourself with something in silk today from Orvis!