SILK HISTORY, LEGEND & FOLKLORE
by Royal Silk®




A BRIEF HISTORY OF SILK
Silk was discovered around 2600 B.C., in China. This was the fourth natural fabric to be discovered, after flax, wool and cotton. It is the most luxurious and majestic of fabrics.

According to legend, empress Si-Ling-Chi accidently dropped a silkworm cocoon into a cup of hot tea. The heat melted the gum holding the cocoon together, and she discovered to her amazement, that the cocoon unraveled into one continuous line.

This accidental discovery was the beginning of the silk industry. China guarded the secret of silk production tightly, but engaged in extensive trade in silk fabrics along the famous 6,000-mile Silk Road. This “road” took the form of a caravan tract winding its way through scorching deserts and over treacherous mountains until it finally reached the Mediterranean Sea. The “road” then became a waterway as silk was shipped to Greece and Rome.

Despite China’s attempts to keep the secret of silk production to itself, sericulture (the cultivation of silkworms for silk) spread to both Japan and India. Japan began to produce silk in the 3rd century A.D. By the 4th century, India began cultivating its own silkworms.

One legend recalls that a Chinese princess married an Indian prince, bringing him a gift of silkworm eggs and mulberry tree seeds in her headdress as a wedding gift. Indian silk production developed into a huge “cottage” industry, specializing in the soft, colorful silk gauzes used for saris, poetically described as “woven wind.”

Alexander the Great is said to have been the first to introduce silk to Europe, bringing back the fabric as spoils of war from the Near East in the 4th century B.C. Marco Polo is credited with introducing silk production to Venice, Italy. In the 13th century the young Venetian traveled to China, and lived for 20 years at the magnificent court of the Kublai Khan. He was so dazzled by the beauty of the silks at the court, that he started a silk industry in Venice when he returned home.

By the 1500’s, France began to cultivate silkworms in the Rhone valley, and continues to do so today. Although sericulture was never successful in the United States, silk manufacturing developed in the northeast in the 1800’s, primarily in Paterson, New Jersey and later in Reading, Pennsylvania.

From the time of its discovery, silk has always been considered a fabric for the rich and powerful, because only the rich could afford it, and only the well-connected had access to it.

Recently, it has become feasible to own silks even if you are not an heiress or a member of nobility. We are lucky to have access to a tremendous selection of silks at reasonable prices.




SILK CASHMERE HISTORY, LEGEND & FOLKLORE
by Royal Silk®




THE SOFTEST WOOL IN THE WORLD
Genuine silk cashmeres date back to 15th Century India and were entirely handcrafted by weaving the finest silk fibers with the finest of wool fibers. It is believed that that Moghul rulers of the royal court first inspired and stimulated the production of luxury silk cashmere shawls by bringing Turkmenistan master weavers from the fabled Silk Road to the Vale of Kashmir in India, where sericulture was widespread. Known in the Urdu language as pashm or pashmina, the finest wool fibers come from the downy underfleece of the Kashmir goats. Only this soft undercoat of Kashmir goats is true cashmere. So silk pashmina is true silk cashmere.

By early 19th Century, the European demand for Kashmiri silk cashmeres was so high and the Indian supply so insufficient, that quick-shifting textile workshops in England, France, and in particular in Paisley, Scotland began producing mechanized woolen knock-off's called cashmere shawls. As a result, by 1870, the silk cashmere industry in India had virtually collapsed. Luckily, the craft survived as a small cottage industry.

Since the mid 90s, there has been a true resurgence of demand for silk cashmere by trendy Western shoppers all over, particularly for high-quality silk cashmere. Once again, the popularity of real silk cashmere is so enormous that in the last year or two, street peddlers from Vancouver, Canada to New York City have been hawking fake "100% cashmere and silk cashmere" fabrics that in reality are made of synthetic acrylic originating in the Far East. Buyer beware!

Genuine silk cashmeres are prized by wearers, gift-givers, and travelers for their superb textures as well as for their unique luster, fineness, softness, smoothness, lightness, warmth, and comfort. Premium silk cashmere is also known for its beautiful drape. There is no other fabric or wool like it.

Exclusive Silk Cashmere by ROYAL SILK
Enjoy the sensuous softness of silk, the delicate warmth of cashmere, and the exquisite lightness of a butterfly's wing in luxurious silk cashmeres by Royal Silk. Hand-spun, hand-woven, and hand-dyed in a premium, moth-resistant blend of 30% Silk and 70% Cashmere Wool. Royal Silk is a world-famous brand known for genuine quality and affordable elegance. Satisfaction guaranteed or full merchandise refund.






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