Silk has been appreciated and coveted since its discovery. Roman philosopher Pliny the Younger said in the 1st century that Roman women love silk too much, and that this negatively affected the financial system of the Roman Empire.
Silk is characterised by a set of properties that make it unique and distinctive among other fibres.
- Brilliance. A smooth surface of silk filament reflects the light, thus silk products have a special shimmer that no other natural fibre has.
- Strength. Proportional to its weight, silk is the strongest fibre of all natural fibres. It is matched by nylon, but nylon is synthetic.
- Colourfulness. Silk is easy to dye, therefore it can be coloured to various intensities and shades. Paint is absorbed so well by silk that both sides of the fabric appear the same.
- Solidity. Silk is more robust than cotton, but less robust than linen or crude wool. The silk filament is resistant to fungus and mould which ruin many natural fibres.
- Elasticity. Silk filament can be stretched by 20% without damaging its structure, and when loosened it returns to its initial length.
- Air permeability. Silk fibres are porous, letting the skin “breathe”. Silk can easily absorb moisture, and by allowing the excess to evaporate, the material keeps itself dry.
- Warmth. As opposed to rough and heavy wool, silk is not only warm, but also smooth and light.