Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Silk: Oriental treasure

At one point in its history, the man redefined the use of clothing. What once was just for shelter and
protection, now transformed into an instrument display, a means of stimulating personal vanity. The smoothness of its texture, its strength and its variety of colors, silk became the queen of fabrics, title that modern technology has failed to unseat.
Silk is a natural fiber made up of proteins of animal origin. Although it is produced by several groups of insects, silkworms (before they complete their metamorphosis) are considered the best quality and are most commonly used in the industry.
The silk fabrics were produced for the first time in ancient China, and some evidence suggests that were made since circa 3000. C., although there is stronger evidence that silk was used widely by the year 1300. C. At first a woven silk was reserved exclusively for members of the Imperial China, both for their own use and to be given away. It quickly became a highly sought after luxury product for merchants because of its texture and brightness, as well as being a very accessible and convenient to carry. Therefore, this product came to have a strong demand, becoming a staple of pre-industrial international trade. Venetian and Florentine traders (in Italy) were responsible for its spread through Europe.

It is a versatile material and is used in various fields:
- Clothing made from this fabric: shirts, pants, blouses, dresses, etc..
- The elegance of silk, its soft luster and beautiful fall makes it perfect for some applications furnished. It is used for upholstery, walls, window treatments (if blended with another fiber), rugs, bedding and wall hangings.
- Also used for making parachutes, bicycle tires and fill the quilts.
- Being one of the strongest fibers, early bulletproof vests were made from silk in the era of gunpowder to about World War I (curious).

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