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Material Guide: What is Mulberry Silk?

If you desire to indulge in luxury and comfort, silk is universally recognized as the ultimate choice. However, when it comes to experiencing the epitome of top-quality silk, there is no doubt that mulberry silk takes the lead. With a rich history spanning thousands of years, it never fails to deliver boundless surprises.

What is Mulberry Silk?

Mulberry silk refers to the silk produced by silkworms (Bombyx mori) that exclusively feed on mulberry leaves. It stands as the finest, highest-quality, and most popular variant among all silk categories. With its inherent natural luster and irresistibly soft texture, it not only exudes nobility and elegance but also delivers a sought-after caress to your skin.

Where does Mulberry Silk Come From?

Mulberry silk originated in China. Let’s not delve into the Chinese legend of Leizu raising silkworms and spinning silk. The culture of silkworms and mulberry leaves was an integral part of ancient Chinese farming civilization, with the concept of men engaging in farming and women engaging in weaving deeply ingrained in everyone’s heritage. 

As early as 5000 to 6000 years ago during the Neolithic period, China embraced the practice of raising silkworms and spinning and weaving silk. Subsequently, the ancient people engaged in sericulture and silk spinning within the confines of their households.

During the Han Dynasty, Zhang Qian opened the Western Pass. Silk fabrics from the Central Plains, including mulberry silk, were carried by merchants to the Western Regions, Central Asia, the Mediterranean coast, and throughout Europe. People in these regions widely embraced the lightweight, soft, and lustrous qualities of mulberry silk.

Before the secret of Chinese silk spinning was “revealed,” people from other countries believed that silk was derived from trees. It wasn’t until 552 A.D. when two monks brought the secret of silkworm rearing to the Eastern Roman Empire that the art of raising silkworms and producing silk became known worldwide.

Today, you can purchase mulberry silk in China, India, Japan, Brazil, Thailand, and numerous other countries. However, China remains the largest producer of mulberry silk.

What is Mulberry Silk Made of?

Mulberry silk is made from the silk fibers produced by domesticated silkworms. These fibers are long and continuous, primarily composed of protein, and they are among the earliest animal fibers used by humans.

How is Mulberry Silk Made?

The production process of mulberry silk is similar to that of regular silk.

The process involves mulberry leaf harvesting, silkworm rearing, cocoon formation, cocoon selection, cocoon boiling, silk reeling, yarn spinning, fabric weaving, and printing and dyeing.

In this process, we will focus on the techniques that differ slightly from the production of regular silk.

Firstly, let’s discuss mulberry leaf harvesting

It is more than just a simple picking action. Mulberry leaves are collected twice a day, in the morning and evening. Different colored leaves are fed to silkworms at different stages of their growth. 

For example, tender green leaves are fed to first-instar larvae, while darker green leaves are suitable for second-instar larvae, and dark green leaves are suitable for third-instar larvae.

Next, we should pay attention to the handling of the silkworm cocoons.

The outer layer of the cocoon is removed. Then the professional workers select the suitable cocoons. The best-quality white cocoons, which are uniform in size, are chosen for the production of mulberry silk. This results in a finished product that is naturally lustrous, with a uniform texture that is smooth and soft.

The silkworm cocoons contain a significant amount of sericin protein, they cannot be directly reeled. Therefore, the cocoons need to be boiled at high temperatures to soften and dissolve the sericin. After the boiling process, the cocoons are immersed in water, and the silk can be reeled.

Once the mulberry silk is extracted, it undergoes spinning and various weaving techniques to create different textures of mulberry silk fabrics. Fabrics that undergo printing and dyeing processes will transform and find their way into your wardrobe.

The Benefits of Mulberry Silk

Let’s examine the benefits that stem from the inherent characteristics of mulberry silk.

Properties of mulberry silk:

  • Lustrous
  • Smooth
  • Soft
  • Lightweight
  • Naturally breathable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Moisture-retaining
  • Sustainable

Benefits for Sleep

The smooth and soft texture of mulberry silk can enhance your sleep environment, providing a superior sleep experience. Its gentle smoothness envelops your body in comfort. The lightweight nature of mulberry silk exerts no pressure on you, and its natural breathability leaves you feeling incredibly light, helping regulate your body temperature. 

If you tend to sleep hot, mulberry silk is the perfect choice. It not only offers comfort but also ensures a sense of security during your sleep, providing peace of mind.

Benefits for Hair

Hair prone to frizz requires gentle care. The smoothness of mulberry silk reduces friction between the fabric and your hair, minimizing the risks of frizz and breakage. It delicately nurtures your locks, while its moisture-retaining properties keep your hair hydrated, preventing dryness and maintaining its natural shine. 

The excellent breathability and hypoallergenic nature also contribute to maintaining a healthy scalp, free from bacterial disturbances.

Benefits for Skin

Mulberry silk keeps your skin smooth. Its gentle and smooth surface reduces friction against your skin, minimizing the formation of facial wrinkles. 

The moisturizing properties of mulberry silk benefit not only your hair but also your skin. It helps retain moisture, preventing skin dryness. Its breathability prevents sweat accumulation, avoiding skin irritation and inhibiting bacterial growth, thus reducing the chances of allergies.

Benefits for the Environment

Mulberry silk is also environmentally friendly. It is extracted from silkworm cocoons, making it fully renewable and sustainable. Additionally, compared to synthetic fabrics, mulberry silk involves minimal chemical use. It supports biodegradability, so you need not worry about it causing harm to the environment.

Momme and Mulberry Silk

When you’re shopping for or browsing through mulberry silk products, you might come across the term “Momme.” Momme refers to the thickness of the mulberry silk fabric and serves as a measurement unit for fabric weight and density, similar to the thread count used in purchasing cotton fabrics. 

A higher momme indicates a heavier and denser mulberry silk fabric, while a lower momme signifies a lighter fabric. Generally, as the momme increases, so does the price.

Common mulberry silk fabrics are typically available in 12, 14, and 16 momme, while heavier mulberry silk fabrics can be found in 19, 22, 25, and 30 momme.

Based on our data survey, we’ve found that people are particularly interested in 19 and 22 momme mulberry silk. Let’s delve deeper into each of them.

What is 19 momme mulberry silk?

19 momme mulberry silk is a high-quality silk fabric. It boasts a smooth and soft texture while providing a certain level of durability. It is commonly used for crafting silk garments such as pajamas and shirts. Additionally, it lends itself well to bedding applications, offering good breathability.

What is 22 momme mulberry silk?

22 momme mulberry silk is even denser and slightly more durable than the 19 momme variety. It exhibits a stronger luster and exudes a luxurious appearance. With its superior texture and excellent draping properties, it is particularly well-suited for creating bedding items like silk pillowcases and bed sheets.

What is Mulberry Silk Used for?

Mulberry silk is ubiquitous in our daily lives. Take a look below to get an overview of the applications of mulberry silk and see how you can incorporate it into your project or wardrobe.

Mulberry Silk Accessories

This exquisite fabric can be utilized to create a wide range of accessories, as it complements different styles. Whether it’s scarves, handkerchiefs, hairbands, ties, pocket squares, or more, mulberry silk suits all age groups. 

Typically, lighter mulberry silk fabrics with weights such as 12, 14, and 16 momme are used.

Mulberry Silk Bedding

When it comes to bedding, comfort is key to a good night’s sleep. Mulberry silk fulfills all your needs and delivers a luxurious experience. Mulberry silk pillowcases protect your hair, while silk bed sheets provide a smooth and soothing sensation against your skin. 

To withstand daily wear and tear, heavier-weight fabrics like 25, 30, and 40 momme are commonly employed in the production of bedding items.

Mulberry Silk Apparel

With its luminous luster and stunning appearance, luxurious mulberry silk is frequently employed in high-end fashion projects. Clothing made from mulberry silk is known for its smoothness, elegance, and graceful drape. Its natural breathability and hypoallergenic properties make it a delight to wear, rather than a constraint.

The choice of momme can be determined by design requirements, with lighter fabrics suitable for designs seeking a lightweight and ethereal effect. The heavier mulberry silk is ideal for creating opulent, high-end designs.

What other applications of mulberry silk are you familiar with? Is it used in interesting craft projects or rigorous medical applications? Undoubtedly, mulberry silk is a remarkably versatile material. Its popularity and extensive use are well-deserved. 

Is Mulberry Silk Ethical?

The ethical considerations surrounding mulberry silk depend on the standards and actual production processes employed by manufacturers. First, let’s understand the ethical issues it may involve.

Environmental Impact:

Silkworm rearing requires minimal energy consumption, but it is important to consider the sustainable use of land for mulberry cultivation and whether the collection of mulberry leaves adheres to ecological standards. Additionally, the handling of chemicals used in the production process also has an impact on the environment and ecology.

Treatment of Silkworms:

The traditional method of collecting mulberry silk involves killing the pupae inside the cocoons using high temperatures to prevent damage to the silk quality. This process is considered inconsistent with animal welfare principles.

Labor Practices:

The production of mulberry silk is a labor-intensive process. Worker welfare concerns in this process include aspects such as wages, working conditions, and labor rights. The health issues of workers involved in chemical processes are a focus of concern.

Given the growing focus on environmental sustainability, manufacturers are increasingly emphasizing the ethical production of mulberry silk. This aims to minimize environmental impact and promote fair treatment of workers. The emergence of peace silk also aligns with people’s concerns for animal welfare.

To ensure that the mulberry silk you purchase adheres to ethical production standards, seek certifications or labels such as cruelty-free, organic, or Fair Trade.

How to Wash Mulberry Silk?

Cleaning mulberry silk is a breeze if you follow these 5 tips:

  1. Use lukewarm water, keeping it below approximately 40 degrees.
  2. Opt for a specialized detergent and steer clear of alkaline detergents, bleach, and similar products.
  3. Clean gently without vigorously rubbing or scrubbing.
  4. Lay it flat to dry, away from direct sunlight.
  5. If machine-washing is permitted, utilize a laundry bag and select a gentle cycle.

Mulberry Silk vs Silk: Is Mulberry Silk Real Silk?

Mulberry silk is a type of silk. However, it exhibits some distinctions when compared to regular silk. It is considered to be the highest quality silk.

In comparison to regular silk:

  • Mulberry silk boasts a pristine white color and a more natural, radiant sheen.
  • Mulberry silk comprises uniform and longer fibers, resulting in exquisitely refined fabric.
  • Mulberry silk offers a luxuriously soft and smooth texture, devoid of any unpleasant odors.
  • Mulberry silk tends to command a higher price in the market.

FAQ:

Is mulberry silk vegan?

No, mulberry silk produced using traditional methods is not considered vegan as it involves harm to animals. If you prioritize veganism, it is advisable to choose peace silk or explore vegan alternatives.

Does mulberry silk wrinkle?

Mulberry silk does not possess the same high wrinkle resistance as synthetic fabrics. Without proper storage, it may develop wrinkles. You need to adhere to the manufacturer’s care instructions to preserve the quality of mulberry silk. In case of wrinkles, a low-temperature iron can be used to iron them out.

Is mulberry silk good?

Mulberry silk ranks among the finest types of silk. It showcases a luxurious appearance and an exceptionally soft and smooth texture that surpasses other materials. Its exceptional quality ensures unparalleled comfort, making it an outstanding choice for you.

Conclusion

Are you ready? As a professional silk manufacturer, Sinosilk is here to provide you with a top-notch experience that guarantees your satisfaction, whether it’s our products or customized services. 

Here, you can find versatile silk scarves, premium silk fabrics, comfortable silk bedding, as well as a variety of silk accessories, silk sleepwear, and more. All our silk products are made from 6A-grade mulberry silk! Contact us now!

More Resources:

What is Silk – Source: Sinosilk

Grades of Silk – Source: Sinosilk

Does Silk Shrink – Source: Sinosilk

What is Raw Silk – Source: Sinosilk

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