One of the most sought-after natural fibers, Silk has an awe-inspiring lustre and softness that’s rarely achieved in any other fiber. The word ‘silk’ itself is synonymous to sublime, mellow smoothness, coupled with a majestic appeal. Silk’s history dates back to 3630 B.C. - from when accounts of its initial development in the Chinese civilization are found.
A protein fiber, Silk is produced by silk worms. The larvae of silk worms, most prominently mulberry silk worms (Bombyx Mori), produce cocoons from which this light-refracting fiber is crafted. Rearing of silk worms to produce silk is called as Sericulture.
Silk is one of the finest threads available to producers, which can be used to craft the most delicate and elegant fabrics. Hence, the popularity of silk fabric! That explains why the Chinese initially wanted to keep the secret of silk production exclusive to them.
The fabric of the royals, Silk has been used to craft all sorts of ensembles, capes, royal thrones, wraps, other blended fabrics, high-end bed linen, exquisite tapestry, upholstery and more. Silks have always been associated with luxury and class; in the ancient era, silks were highly sought-after item. Silks are also used in the medicine sector.
About Silk Sarees
Silk reached India in 140 A.D. and instantly became a huge hit. The silk trade in those times was one of the most important sources of revenue. The trade route between Europe and India came to be known as the Silk Road. Today, after China, India is the second largest producer of silk in the world. Indians had supreme interest in this fine fabric from as early as the days of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Silks have been used to create rich ensembles, outfits and sarees in India. The biggest industry that uses silk in India is the Silk Sarees industry. Silk saree is one trend that’s popular the world over.
The Southern states of India account for maximum silk as well as silk sarees production. Bangalore Silk Sarees are quite popular, and so are Mysore Silk Sarees. Silk yarn is avidly used for weaving and creating other intricate weaves and fabrics in various parts of India - like Banarasi Brocade, Pashmina silk, Chanderi Silk etc.
Silk is also blended with various other yarns, primarily cottons, to create splendid fabrics, which are then used to create popular sarees, like Chanderi Sarees, Kota Sarees, Gharchola Sarees, Cotton-Silk blend sarees, Crepe Sarees etc.
Pure Silk Sarees
Pure silk refers to the silk yarn that is absolutely natural gum (fiber) taken from the sericin (of cocoon) – with no other matter added for additional weight. Since this is extremely rare and expensive, silks are treated in many ways, even fortified with metals to create many variants.
Given their refined lustre and feel, silk sarees are the most sought after sarees. Luxuriant quality of silk makes it perfect for special occasions. Elegant pure silk saris have been used for weddings, celebrations and festivals, since ages. Many Indian brides wear pure silk saris for their wedding rituals. You will get a huge variety of Bridal Silk Sarees, Wedding Silk Sarees and Designer Silk Sarees on Saree.com.
Since natural silk is breathable and comfortable, pure silk sarees are quite popular. Pure silk sarees are also absorbent and cosy, and can be worn in most weather conditions. These sarees are so graceful that they can be worn by women of all ages. They are available in a huge variety of colours, textures and finishes. At Saree.com, a popular web destination for all sorts of sarees, you will find pure silk sarees for all occasions.
Pure Silk Saris are so lush in themselves that they do not require much embellishment. Thus, many pure silk sarees come with just a Zari border. These saris are also called as Pattu Sarees. These sarees may or may not have ornate Zari Pallus and Zari motifs on the saree body.
Handloom Silk Sarees
The rich handlooms heritage of India rests largely on the silk fabric, cottons being the other staple. The weavers work with the delicate silk yarn to produce exquisite handloom silk sarees, which represent the rich culture and tradition of India.
Since this natural yarn can be dyed in many colours, it has been quite popular in the handloom industry. The reflective lustre of Silk, produced by the prism-like structure of the silk fiber, lends itself beautifully to dyeing process, resulting in deep, jewel-tones hues.
Almost every region of India has a specific Handloom Silk Saree associated with it. Handloom Saris often derive their names from the centres, where they are woven - like Banarasi Sari gets its name from Banaras (Varanasi), Kanjeevaram Sarees (actually Kancheepuram Sarees) get their name from Kancheepuram region. Gujarat’s famed Patola Silk Sarees get their name from Patan district, where they are traditionally made. Now, you can buy these rare sarees, from the convenience of your home, with complete trust from Saree.com.
Varieties of Silk
The silk that we refer to as Pure Silk is Mulberry Silk. This silk is smoother and more lustrous than Non-Mulberry Silk varieties. Over 90% of silk used to craft sarees is Mulberry Silk.
Somewhat coarser silks of Tussar Silk (Tasar Silk), Muga Silk and Eri Silk are Non-Mulberry silks that are also used to craft silk sarees. Some regional embellishments and embroideries demand a specific silk variety. For example, the popular Kantha embroidery is generally done on the naturally beige Tussar Silk Sarees. Muga Silk is a popular variety of silk from Assam in India. Other Non-Mulberry silks include Anaphe Silks, Spider Silks, Fagara Silks, Coan Silks and Mussel Silks.
The unrefined variety of silk, where gum is still attached to the cocoon is called as the raw silk. At times, non-mulberry silks are referred to as raw silk. However, raw silk is also there in mulberry silk.
Pure (Mulberry) silk sarees too are made in umpteen other finishes and textures. Fabrics like Crepe de Chine and Chiffon are also crafted from silk. Even pure georgettes are made from silk yarns.
Here are some popular varieties of silk sarees –
Kanjivaram Silk Sarees:
Famous Kanjivaram sarees from Tamil Nadu are crafted from extremely fine silk yarn. Also known as Kanchipuram silks, they are worn in weddings and special occasions. Most of these sarees are extremely vibrant and eye catching.
Bhagalpuri Silk Sarees:
Bhagalpuri Silk is very well known for its unique and striking resilience and superior quality. Bhagalpur from Bihar is famous for these sarees. Bhagalpuri Silk Sarees have a special rustic charm, and are available in many interesting prints and details. Bihar’s famous Madhubani Paintings are also done on these rich sarees.
Banarasi Silk Sarees:
Banarasi sarees, one of the most popular Indian Bridal Sarees, are among the finest sarees in India, and are recognised for their gold and silver brocade or zari work, fine silk and opulent embroidery. These sarees are made of finely woven silk and are decorated with intricate designs and, because of these inscriptions, are relatively heavy. Till a few decades back, rich Benarasis too were an integral part of weddings in India.
Patola Silk Sarees:
Patola Sarees are very expensive and rare. Once, they were only worn by royals and the nobility. Velvet patola styles are also made in Surat. Patola-weaving is a guarded family tradition.
Gharchola Silk Sarees:
Gharchola saris are the wedding sarees used by the Hindu and Jain communities in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. You can know about these lovely red and green silk sarees here – http://www.saree.com/about-gharchola-sarees
Maintaining Silk Sarees
Pure Silk sarees and Weighted Silk Sarees generally do not wrinkle heavily, and are perfect for whole-day wear.
A pure silk saree will never ‘burn’ – that is the way to identify the purity of the silk yarn. They, however, must be ironed only on very low temperatures – as they run the risk of getting charred/ scorched.
Silk Sarees must be stored carefully. Wrap them in muslin cloth, before storing. Zari Sarees should be kept away from perfumes and other chemicals. Silk saris marked for ‘Only Dry Clean’ should not be washed at all. Others may be washed, but recurrent washing should be avoided.
Silk Blends and Art-Silks
Silk is a delicate fiber, and is generally blended with many other yarns to achieve a variety of textures and finishes.
Weighted Silk, often used to create silk sarees, is actually fortified with metallic yarns, and thus it has greater sheen. Adding metal yarns also increases the weight of the silk, and leads to reduction in cost.
Silk is commonly blended with cotton to get a sturdier, more rustic fabric, which is avidly used in crafting regional sarees like Kalamkari Sarees, Ajrakh Sarees, Maheshwari Sarees, Chanderi Sarees, Ikat sarees and many more.
To achieve cheaper versions, artificial silks (art silks) are made. These are close imitations, sometimes indiscernible to the unsuspecting eye, where man-made fibers like nylon, polyester, viscose are used. Polyester is also commonly mixed with silk yarn to create sarees that are way cheaper. But, these sarees are stiffer and have an unsightly sheen. They also do not have any qualities of a natural fiber.
Silk variants like crepe, georgette and chiffon are also created using art silk yarns.
Thus, you must be careful, while buying silk sarees, as many manufacturers and retailers do not disclose that they are selling art silk sarees or fabrics.
Buy Silk Sarees Online
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