|Silk: an ancient fabric, luxurious and versatile|
The 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.
Silk fiber 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 color; 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.
Strongest Natural Fiber 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 fiber 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!