Silk – The State Secret You Can Wear

There is no more romantic fiber than silk. Prized for thousands of years for it’s many luxurious properties, the creation of silk was a once a state secret which only reached Europe as a result of espionage by agents of the Byzantine empire. The fabric itself was worn only by emperors Business India Magazine and kings, it’s use often restricted by law to the higher echelons of society. This thin but strong fiber was once the major basis for international trade, prized across the world for it’s color, for the way it felt against the skin and for it’s soft, flattering gleam.
How did it all begin? A very long time ago (2700BC or so), in a land far away, Léi ZÇ”, wife of the legendary Yellow Emperor of China, was sitting in her garden, when the cocoon of a silk moth fell into her cup of tea. Léi ZÇ” noticed that the cocoon began to unravel so she pulled on the thread and soon found she had enough to stretch all across her garden. The thread glinted in the light and was very strong, Léi ZÇ” was curious to see if it could be woven into cloth, and so, legend has it, the manufacture of silk, known as sericulture, began.
Archaeologists have found samples of silk in China which date back to 3500 BC, and silk fibers have been found in Egyptian Mummies over 3000 years old, indicating that silk may be one of the oldest commodities in international Successful Business Plan Secrets & Strategies trade. The Chinese emperors tried to keep the method of silk manufacture secret in order to maintain a monopoly, though they often gave silk as a diplomatic gift. For thousands of years they were largely successful.
Like the Chinese the Romans tried to limit the use of silk; the Emperor Tiberius forbade the wearing of silk by anyone other than the Emperor, thought apparently no-one paid much attention. Still there was no way to actually manufacture silk, until, in the reign of Emperor Justinian, some silk worm eggs were smuggled into the great city of Constantinople. Even there the secret of production was kept close, within the palace walls, and the fabric was reserved for the Emperor and his family as well as for use in diplomatic gifts.
Hundreds of years later, Venetian merchants traded in silk, bringing it to the rest of Europe, but despite many attempts to create a silk manufacturing industry in Europe, the major centers of production are still China, Thailand and India.
Why is silk so prized? There are many reasons. Most silks are made from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. These fibers are extremely strong and have a triangular cross section. The flat sides reflect light in interesting ways, giving the fabric its unique gleam. Because it is very absorbent, silk is a very comfortable fiber to wear in hot climates, it is also very light, allowing the wearer to almost forget he or she is clothed at all. The smoothness of the fabric makes it pleasant to feel against the skin, but perhaps silks most outstanding feature is it’s ability to absorb dye. Silk fabrics are distinguished by their especially beautiful colors, outstandingly bright or brilliantly subtle. No other fabric takes dye in quite the same way, making silk the first choice fabric for garments which need to be light but warm, beautifully colored and with the delicate sheen of moonlight.

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