The incredible history of silk
Monday, 13 November 2017
The history of silk and the silkworms that create the threads is long and interesting. It dates all the way back to Ancient China and there are a number of incredible stories regarding how the material was discovered and came to be a closely guarded secret of the Chinese royal family. At Silks and Crystals, a dedicated stockist of the highest quality James Hare silk fabric, we thought we would share some of these stories with you.
A common story about the origin of the silkworm goes all the way back to 2640 BC in China. It is said that Empress Si-Ling-Chi discovered a cocoon in her tea whilst walking under the Mulberry trees in the palace garden. She discovered the silkworms crawling around the trees and concluded that they must be the source. When fishing the cocoon out of her drink Si-Ling-Chi noted how beautiful the thread was.
After the discovery silk became a secret of the royal family and remained so for 2,500 years. In that time there were a lot of different theories about where the thread came from. Some of the most interesting include that it was a type of soil, came from flowers that only grew in the Chinese desert, and it was fuzz that grew on special leaves.
Silk grew into a highly valued commodity and an entire trade grew around it, linking China, Persia, and all corners of the Roman Empire. Eventually Constantinople became established as a major silk producer. There are a number of fantastic stories about how this came to be, including one involving Emperor Justinian I sending monks to China to smuggle silkworms and slaves knowledgeable in sericulture out of the country.
Initially silks were only used to create garments for high society including the Chinese royal family, emperors, empresses and the Byzantine court. Although more readily available nowadays the material retains its reputation as a valuable commodity used to make high quality products. At Silks and Crystals we only supply the very best materials. That is why we became an authorised agent for James Hare, one of the most renowned suppliers in the world. We sell the entire collection of their products ensuring we can provide materials to suit a huge array of requirements.
If you are interested in James Hare silk fabric and would like to purchase from a reliable agent, we are the company for you. Simply get in touch with us to go over your needs and find out more about all of the products we offer.