The legend. The first to produce natural silk were the Chinese, 5-8 thousand years ago. According to Chinese legend, it was in 2640 B.C. during the reign of Emperor Huang Ti (also known as the Yellow Emperor). One day, when the empress Hsi Ling Shi was sipping tea under a mulberry tree, a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel into an amazing shimmering fibre. The empress became so enamoured that she ordered servants to tease it from the cocoon and to weave with it. Thus began the history of silk.
„The Silk Road“. Though at first reserved for Chinese royal garments, gradually silk began to reach other regions throughout Asia. Centuries later, the silk trade reached the Indian peninsula, Middle East, Europe and Northern Africa. The silk trade became so busy that the main road used by traders between Europe and Asia was named “The Silk Road”. It was not only one road but a network of roads that once connected the opposite sides of Eurasia.
The secret of silk making. The secret of sericulture was well kept in China, in order to protect their monopoly. Anyone who revealed this secret, or who was caught trying to smuggle eggs, cocoons or silkworms out of the country were summarily executed. However, around 200 BC the Chinese brought the secret to Korea, and later on India discovered the secret too. Around the 5th century, silk production simultaneously began in different areas around the world. By the 18th century silk was being woven across most of Western Europe. After 3000 years China failed to keep the secret of silk weaving, but she is believed to be the home country of this amazing fabric.