History of Silk Rugs
Thinking of a natural rug? Why not consider silk. Silk was first discovered in China. The fiber derived from the cocoon of the insect Bombyx mori is one of the finest fibers known to mankind.
Some stories suggest that silkworms were smuggled out of China in hollow walking sticks while others say that the fiber originated in India. The history of silk is as interesting as silk is for garments and rugs alike.
Our silk rugs come from all over the world. The silk rug you choose may have reached American shores from places as far away as Iran, Kashmir, Turkey and Persia.
What is Silk?
Chemically silk is a protein. The fiber consists of so called beta pleats of amino acids that give silk tremendous tensile strength. Being made of silk, is is not fire retardant and rugs are fairly fragile. Silk is obtained by gathering the cocoon of the silk worm. The longer and thinner the fiber the better the quality of silk. Silk is a very strong material. Five times stronger than steel and 2 times as strong as Kevlar, even some experimental bullet proof jackets are made of silk!
Apart from mulberry silk produced by Bombyx mori, Muga silk made by the cocoon of Antheraea assamensis is also produced in some parts of the world notably Assam in north eastern India.
People who are concerned about the death of silk worms during the silk production process can opt for silk produced by Philosamia cynthia ricini. This silk is also called Seri silk or non- violent silk as the worms are allowed to come out of the silk before it Is processed.
History of Silk Rugs
Silk was too rare a material in the ancient world to be made into rugs. The first known silk rugs were made for the Persian King Khosrow I to remind him of spring during the long cold winter months!
Advantages of Silk Rugs
- Silk is very strong and durable. It also has several other advantages.
- Silk has a smooth, soft, luxurious feel.
- It can easily fit into any design schemes or can be comobined with a material of your choice.
- Silk is a rare material for decorating primarily due to its cost. A silk rug will give your house a unique appeal. Silk rugs can be used not only on the floor but also as wall hangings.
- Silk rugs however are very expensive and need careful maintenance as they are easily stained. They are also not a good choice for heavy traffic area.
Precautions when buying silk
- Silk is often sold as a blend with other fibers. At times synthetic fibers are passed off as silk. You can however try a few tests with silk before buying it.
- Silk is smooth to touch and feels warm when rubbed.
- Silk fibers are made of protein and give the smell of burning hair when a match is applied to a small silk thread or piece of cloth.
Silk care and maintenance
Silk rugs need regular cleaning. Silk is easy to stain. If you have silk rugs you will need to ensure that any spills are immediately wiped away.
Silk is truly a material fit for the kings. Though it needs some amount of maintenance the sheer pleasure a silk rug provides is enough to justify the pain. If you are worried about damaging your expensive silk rug, use it as a wall hanging. A silk rug would go well with any kind of flooring whether Hardwood flooring, carpets, natural fiber flooring, or stone tiles.