Natural Mulberry Silk vs. Artificial Silk: Which One is the Better Choice?
Silk is the most desirable fiber in the textile industry. Silk is still highly sought after even though it has been around for thousands of years, and there is a good reason for this. One of the most sought after fabrics is silk because of its elasticity, which allows it to be stretched up to five times its initial length before tearing. This is why we recommend everyone to purchase 100% natural mulberry silk.
Consideration for Natural Mulberry Silk Vs. Artificial Silk
Silk production is fraught with a number of challenges, which has led to the development of various viable substitutes for silk. The ever increasing demand for silk is met, at least partially, by these silk alternatives, which are used to supplement and, in many cases, replace the demand. The use of artificial silk is by far the most common replacement option.
However, the question is, how does man-made silk compare to the real thing? Within the scope of this article, we will cover all of natural mulberry silk vs. artificial silk. But before we get into that, let’s first address this question: what exactly is silk, and what sets it apart from other materials?
Silk and Its Origination
Silk is a fabric that is crafted from natural fibers, and these fibers can be woven into other materials. This natural fiber is primarily made up of a protein known as fibroin, which can only be produced by a select group of insects that spin cocoons. The cocoons of the mulberry silkworm, also known as Bombyx mori, are the most common source of silk. These silkworms are typically bred in captivity through a method that is referred to as sericulture.
The collection and cultivation of mulberry silkworms is the first step in the production of silk. Until the silkworms reach the pupal stage and begin spinning cocoons, their diet consists solely of mulberry leaves, which are provided to them in captivity. In the process known as “stifling,” the cocoons are gathered and thrown into a large pot of boiling water just before the pupae emerge from their shells. This technique eradicates the pupae that are contained within the cocoon as well as the sericin, which is a naturally occurring substance that acts as the “glue” that holds the cocoon together. The cocoon will unravel into silk filaments if the sericin is not present, and these filaments will need to be drawn into a loom in order to form silk threads. Silk fibers have a structure similar to a triangular prism, which causes light to be refracted at various angles. This results in the appearance of various colors as well as the lustrous shimmer that is characteristic of silk.
The amount of silk thread that can be extracted from a single cocoon is extremely low. One pound of raw silk, roughly equivalent to one yard of woven silk fabric, requires approximately 2,500 silkworms and 200 pounds of mulberry leaves to produce. That isn’t very much.
Varieties of Silk Available in the Market
Numerous varieties of silk made with various raw materials and processing techniques have been developed recently. The following varieties of silk are the most common:
- Mulberry Silk: Most Recommended
The most widespread variety of silk. The cocoons of the mulberry silkworm are used to make the product. The majority of the time, you’ll find it in lingerie and other forms of upscale apparel, particularly formal wear.
- Silk Alternative from the Tussah
Cocoons produced by wild silkworms are used in the production of tussah silk. In comparison to mulberry silk, the cost of this type of silk is significantly lower due to its coarser texture and simpler production process. Tussah silk is frequently utilized in the production of upholstered goods and drapery.
- Erlangen SILK Alternative
The cocoons of the eri silkworm are used in the production of Erlangen silk. It is a type of wild silk that is more readily available at a lower cost than mulberry silk. In addition, Erlangen silk is frequently utilized in the upholstery and drapery industries.
- Raw Silk Alternative
Raw silk is silk that has not been refined and has not been finished in any way before being spun into yarn. Its natural color is more of a yellowish hue, and its texture is grainy than refined silk. Clothing and home decor frequently make use of raw silk as an ingredient.
- Silex and Wool
Silk wool is made by weaving silk with cotton or wool to create a satin pattern and then scouring the finished product very carefully in water. In comparison to silk, it has a more substantial weight, a more subtle sheen, and a thicker drape. Silk wool is frequently used in a variety of textile and decorative applications.
What Exactly Is Man-Made Silk Called?
Natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen, as well as synthetic fibers like rayon, nylon, viscose, or polyester, are used in the production of imitation silk, also known as faux silk. In the early 1900s, it was initially developed as a less expensive substitute for silk. As a result of the fact that the entire production process is carried out primarily by machines, the creation of artificial silk fabric is now considerably more reasonable, affordable, and straightforward.
Cellulose is typically obtained from the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees; however, it can also be obtained from other sources such as cotton, bamboo, soy, and a number of other foods and plants. After that, it goes through a chemical process that transforms it into long, thin fibers that are used in the weaving of fabric. The resulting fabric is frequently utilized in the production of garments, including lingerie, blouses, and dresses. Although it has the appearance and texture of real silk, artificial silk is less strong and long-lasting than real things.
Differences Between Natural Mulberry Silk VS. Artificial Silk
There has been much discussion regarding the pros and cons of natural mulberry silk vs. artificial silk in the fashion industry. The following is a list of the most important distinctions that can be made between natural mulberry silk vs. artificial silk:
Natural silk is significantly more robust and long-lasting than its synthetic counterpart. Try pulling out a strand of the fabric you’re working with and rubbing it between your fingers. If nothing happens, the item in question is almost certainly real silk. It is most likely made of artificial silk if, after some time has passed, it begins to fluff up.
However, when real silk becomes wet, the fabric loses its strength and begins to chafe when rubbed together. This is not the case with artificial silk. The issue is not present in fabrics made with artificial silk. The relaxed feel of the fabric that resulted from the combination of natural and synthetic fibers is due to the composition of the fibers.
Natural silk is more elastic than artificial silk and can be stretched up to five times its original length before breaking. Artificial silk can only be stretched to a maximum of two times its original length
Artificial silk is made from the cellulose of plants, while natural silk is derived from the cocoons of specific silkworms.
Because it is more difficult to produce, natural silk fetches a higher price than its synthetic counterpart. Fabric made of faux silk typically costs one-tenth as much as fabric made of natural silk.
Because genuine silk is frequently crafted by hand, the finished fabric will frequently feature a few minute flaws, such as bumps or loose threads. In the meantime, artificial silk is woven on machine looms, which results in a fabric that is silky smooth and nearly flawless in appearance.
However, this does not imply that you should immediately dismiss as fake any smooth silk fabrics that you come across. Because genuine silk manufacturers are increasingly turning to machine looms for faster production, it is necessary for them to investigate other aspects of silk’s characteristics.
- Feeling on the Skin
The natural silk fibers will easily and smoothly rub against one another with little friction. If you position it so that it is next to your ear and then rub the fabric, you will hear a soft crunching sound. Last but not least, a good indication that you are in possession of authentic silk fabric is if, after rubbing it for a while, you feel a warming sensation in your fingers or hands. The lack of any aforementioned characteristics is typically an unmistakable indication of artificial silk.
When weighing natural mulberry silk vs. artificial silk, you should keep in mind that both natural silk and artificial silk have benefits and drawbacks. Choose artificial silk over real silk if you want to avoid supporting the exploitation of animals while still wearing silk but are on a tight budget.
If, on the other hand, money is not an issue and you want to enjoy the full luxury that silk has to offer, you should opt for real silk. Even the most experienced eyes and hands are still trying to distinguish between high-quality artificial silk and real silk. This is despite the fact that there is still a quality gap between the two. We anticipate that, as technology continues to advance, itv will not only become simpler but also less expensive to reproduce the textures and appearance of silk artificially.