Silk

Natural fiber. An ancient Chinese proverb describes silk as “the material to wear to reach God.” It has always been synonymous with nobility, elegance, and luxury. Its magnificence originates as the silk filament with which silkworms spin their cocoons. Sericulture began in China about 2600 BC, and even today the country accounts for two-thirds of the world’s production of raw silk thread. Its history spans millennia and is interwoven with the history of the relationship between the East and West. The golden age of silk weaving in Europe was undoubtedly the 16th century: sumptuous damasks, brocades, and velvets were produced in Venice, Florence, and Lyons for courts throughout the world. Silk fabrics divide into four groups: cloth or taffeta, twill or diagonal, satin, and jacquard. The quality of the material depends on the name or fineness of thread and the grade of the twist. The type of fiber, on the other hand, determines its resistance: organzine, which is made from long twisted fibers is much more resistant than bourrette, which comes from silk waste. The most famous types of silk are shantung, characterized by knots that project out of the fabric; ottoman with a spooled effect; organzas; and all the silks that are printed either in part or all over, which are the speciality of many of the silk firms in Como. Silk production used to be a common industry in northern Lombardy, but it died out many years ago. As a result, the countryside looks different as the mulberry trees have disappeared.