People have prized silk for centuries due to its natural sheen, softness, and durability, making it a luxurious fabric. There are many different types of silk fibres available, each with its own unique characteristics and properties, making it a versatile and desirable choice for various applications. In this article, Ecosilky will explore 15 different types of silk fibres, ranging from the traditional mulberry silk to the exotic tussar silk.
1. A list of 15 different types of silk fibres
1.1. Mulberry silk – Common types of silk fibres
The domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori, produces mulberry silk by feeding on a diet of mulberry leaves. People commonly use mulberry silk as it has a smooth and uniform texture, natural sheen, and strength.
The textile industry highly values mulberry silk due to its superior quality and versatility, and it often utilizes it in luxury clothing, such as silk dresses, blouses, and suits. Its natural sheen and softness make it a popular choice for bedding and linens as well, including silk pillowcases and sheets.
1.2. Tussar silk – Different types of silk fibres
Tussar silk, also known as Kosa silk, is a type of silk fabric that is produced from the cocoons of the silk moth species Antheraea mylitta and Antheraea paphia. These moths are typically found in India, China, and Japan. Tussar silk is highly valued for its rich texture and natural gold color, which gives it a unique and distinct appearance.
Tussar silk is known for its unique texture, which is slightly rougher than that of Mulberry silk. This texture is due to the fact that the cocoons of the wild silkworms are not as tightly woven as those of domesticated silkworms. Tussar silk’s durability makes it suitable for use in various applications, including clothing, home decor, and accessories.
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1.3. Eri silk – Popular types of silk fibres
The Eri silkworm, Samia cynthia ricini, produces a type of silk known as Eri silk, also called Endi or Errandi silk. The Eri silkworm is native to India, China, and some parts of Southeast Asia. The extraction process of Eri silk does not involve killing the Eri silkworm, making it a cruelty-free alternative to conventional silk production methods.
Eri silk is a popular choice for clothing and textiles due to its unique texture and appearance. It is typically coarser than other types of silk fibres and has a slightly nubby texture. The color of Eri silk is natural and beige, and it can vary from light to dark based on the region of production.
People often blend Eri silk with other fibers to create a variety of textiles. They can blend it with cotton to create a lightweight and breathable fabric suitable for warm weather, or with wool to create a heavier, more insulating fabric for colder climates. Additionally, it is a popular choice for creating traditional Indian garments such as saris and shawls.
1.4. Muga silk
“Muga silk” is another type of silk fiber that is worth mentioning. This silk also known as “Golden silk”, is a rare and highly valued silk produced exclusively in the state of Assam in northeast India. Muga silk is unique due to its natural golden-yellow color, which is highly durable and does not fade with time.
A semi-domesticated silkworm called “Antheraea assamensis” produces Muga silk by feeding on the leaves of the “Som” and “Sualu” plants. The silk has a reputation for its strength, durability, and sheen, which makes it a preferred option for traditional Indian wear.
Due to its limited availability and high demand, people consider Muga silk one of the most expensive silks in the world. Assamese people often use it to create beautiful sarees, mekhelas, and other traditional garments, making it an integral part of their culture.
1.5. Spider silk
Spider silk is one of the strongest and most resilient materials found in nature, with a tensile strength that surpasses that of steel. Spiders produce it using specialized glands in their bodies, and it has evolved to serve a variety of purposes, from catching prey to building webs and nests.
Due to its exceptional properties, scientists and researchers have been studying spider silk for years, with the goal of harnessing its strength and versatility for various applications, such as biomedical engineering, textiles, and even military armor.
1.6. Sea silk
Sea silk is one of the types of silk fibres that you shouldn’t miss. This silk, also known as byssus or sea silk fabric, is a rare and luxurious textile material produced from the long, fine threads secreted by certain mollusks, such as the noble pen shell and the Mediterranean mussel. Since ancient times, people have prized this fabric for its shimmering, gold-like appearance and fine texture, and the wealthy elite and royalty once exclusively used it.
Today, sea silk remains one of the most coveted and expensive textile materials in the world due to its unique properties and the painstaking and labor-intensive process required to obtain it.
1.7. Synthetic silk
Artificial silk, also known as synthetic silk or rayon, imitates the characteristics of natural silk and is a man-made fabric. Cellulose fibers are the main components of synthetic silk, which come from plant sources such as wood pulp, and undergo chemical processing to produce a silk-like texture.
The production of synthetic silk is less costly and more sustainable than traditional silk production. Making it a popular alternative for mass-produced clothing and textiles. However, it lacks the durability, strength, and natural sheen of real silk, and may not be as comfortable or breathable to wear.
Despite these limitations, synthetic silk remains a popular and widely-used fabric in the fashion and textile industry.
1.8. Chiffon silk
Manufacturers create chiffon silk by twisting silk or synthetic fibers into highly twisted yarns. Which are then woven into a lightweight and sheer fabric known for its flowing and delicate drape. The fabric has a slightly rough texture due to its loose and gauzy weave. It is a popular choice for women’s clothing, especially for creating elegant dresses, skirts, and scarves.
It is also a popular choice for bridal wear due to its ethereal and romantic appearance. Designers can decorate chiffon silk with intricate embroidery, beading, or other embellishments to enhance its visual appeal. Chiffon silk can come in a range of colors and prints, making it a versatile fabric for various fashion styles.
1.9. Charmeuse silk
This silk is a luxurious and glossy fabric that has a soft and smooth texture in types of silk fibres. Charmeuse silk is a luxurious fabric that fashion designers often use to create high-end garments such as evening gowns, lingerie, and bridal wear. Manufacturers weave Charmeuse silk using a satin weave, which produces a shiny finish that adds to its appeal.
The fabric has a unique drape that makes it ideal for creating garments that hug the body and drape elegantly. Designers often use a range of colors to create eye-catching pieces from Charmeuse silk.
The fashion industry often considers charmeuse silk a symbol of luxury and sophistication due to its high quality and luxurious texture.
1.10. Dupioni silk
Dupioni silk is one of the types of silk fibres that are made from two silkworms that spin their cocoons together. The result is a fabric with a uniquely irregular texture and a lustrous sheen that catches the light beautifully. Dupioni silk possesses a strong and durable nature, along with a crisp and slightly rough texture, that makes it stand out. High-end fashion designers frequently use this fabric, particularly for evening wear and bridal wear.
The fabric is available in a wide spectrum of colors, ranging from vibrant jewel tones to soft pastels. Designers can also embroider or embellish the fabric with sequins or beads, resulting in a luxurious look. Dupioni silk is preferred for its distinctive texture, as it adds depth and interest to any outfit or accessory.
1.11. Shantung silk
Shantung silk yarn has uneven fibers which give the fabric a rough texture and unique irregularities. Silk is derived from the cocoons of wild silkworms, creating a less refined texture compared to traditional silk. High-end fashion commonly uses Shantung silk due to its luxurious appearance and durability, particularly for bridal and evening wear.
It comes in a range of colors, from soft pastels to bold jewel tones, and designers can also embroider or embellish it with sequins or beads for added glamour. Shantung silk’s unique texture and ability to add depth and interest to any garment or accessory make it a popular choice in the fashion industry.
1.12. Banaras silk
This silk also known as Varanasi silk, is one of the types of silk fibres that originates from the city of Varanasi in northern India. Banaras silk is a fabric that has intricate designs, vibrant colors, and a luxurious texture. Skilled artisans make Banaras silk by using high-quality silk yarn and weaving it with gold and silver threads to create intricate patterns and designs.
High-end fashion designers often use this fabric, especially for bridal wear and formal occasions. Banaras silk sarees are a traditional garment for women in India, famous for their elaborate designs and exquisite workmanship. Banaras silk is a symbol of luxury and elegance, and its timeless appeal has made it popular around the world.
1.13. Georgette silk
Georgette silk is a lightweight, sheer, and soft fabric that drapes beautifully. Manufacturers make georgette silk by twisting silk or synthetic fibers and then weaving them using a plain weave. This method creates a slightly crinkled and crepe-like texture. Georgette silk is popular in the fashion industry, where it is often used to make flowy and feminine clothing items like dresses, blouses, and scarves.
This fabric is available in a wide range of colors and prints, making it a versatile choice for both casual and formal occasions. Due to its sheer nature, it is often layered over other fabrics for added coverage and texture. Georgette silk is a popular choice for bridal wear, as well as for creating ethereal and romantic looks.
1.14. Organza silk
Organza silk has a crisp and stiff texture because manufacturers make it from highly twisted silk yarns woven using a plain weave, resulting in a smooth and glossy surface. The fashion industry often uses organza silk for creating elegant and sophisticated garments, such as bridal gowns, evening dresses, and skirts.
Organza silk comes in a range of colors, from soft pastels to vibrant hues, and fashion designers often enhance its visual appeal by embellishing it with embroidery, beading, or other decorations. Additionally, organza silk’s lightweight and sheer nature makes it ideal for creating airy and breezy summer dresses and blouses.
1.15. Matka silk
Matka silk has a unique and rustic appearance because it is a textured silk fabric. Craftsmen handweave the fabric using the thick yarns produced by wild silkworms, which results in a slightly irregular and uneven texture. The silk fibers used to spin the yarns are short and thick, creating a coarser thread than that used for traditional silk.
This gives the fabric a natural and organic feel that is popular among fashion designers who value sustainability and traditional craftsmanship. Designers commonly use Matka silk to create formal wear such as sarees, blouses, and suits. This type of fabric is available in a range of colors, from earthy tones to vibrant hues. Its distinctive texture and durability make it a popular choice for both traditional and contemporary designs.
2. Which type of silk is best?
Each type of silk possesses its own unique characteristics that suit different purposes best. Mulberry silk, for instance, is a popular choice for bedding and clothing due to its softness and durability. Tussar silk, on the other hand, is often used for creating traditional garments, such as sarees, because of its natural golden color.
Meanwhile, high-end fashion commonly uses Shantung silk due to its valued unique texture. Ultimately, the best type of silk depends on the specific use and personal preference of the individual.
3. What type of silk is the softest?
Mulberry silk earns the reputation of being the softest and most luxurious type of silk. Skilled farmers cultivate the Bombyx mori silkworm carefully, feeding them only on mulberry leaves. The silk is then made from the cocoons spun by these silkworms. The resulting silk has a fine, smooth texture that feels gentle and silky against the skin.
Highly valued for its softness, durability, and natural sheen, many people often use Mulberry silk for high-end bedding, clothing, and accessories.
4. What is heavy silk fabric called?
“Dupioni” or “douppioni” silk is the common term for heavy silk fabric. Weavers create the textured fabric by using fibers of different thicknesses in the weaving process, giving it an irregular and slubby surface. Dupioni silk is usually heavier than other types of silk fibres, which makes it more suitable for structured garments like suits, jackets, and skirts. People commonly use it for home decor items such as curtains, drapes, and upholstery.
Ecosilky hopes the information above has provided you with a helpful overview of the 15 different types of silk fibres. If you are interested in purchasing natural fabrics or products made from natural fabric, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (+84) 704 899 089.