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Silk, which is made from a silk worm called larvae is a natural fiber. Silk fibers are strong and usually made into clothes; they were also used to make parachutes in early days.
Even though silk is a strong natural fiber, if wet, it loses strength up to 20 percent. Silk has poor elasticity, and so if silk is stretched, it does not come back normal.
Due to the relaxation of fiber macro structure, unwashed silk chiffon is likely to shrink by about 8 percent. It gets further shrunk by 4 percent shrinkage during dry cleaned. Gently steaming it with a press cloth is a remedy for shrinkage.
The absorbency character of silk makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather. Silk is also a protector from insects such as mosquitoes and horseflies, as insects cannot pierce the cloth.
Silk originated in China. Sericulture is a process of growing silkworms for silk production. Sericulture has been criticized by animal welfare and right activists because of killing the larvae by boiling them in order to get the silk.
Although silk is produced by many insects, only moth caterpillar-produced silk is used to make textiles. In ancient times, several kinds of wild silk produced from caterpillars other than mulberry silkworm were used in China, South Asia and Europe. Specially prepared paper is the platform in which silk moths lay eggs.
There are mainly four types of natural silks commercially produced in the world namely mulberry silk and Eri silk, Tasar silk, Muga silk which comes under the category non-mulberry silk. Around 90 percent of global silk production is contributed by mulberry silk.
In India, silk is known by mainly two names; Resham in Eastern and North India and Pattu in South India. India is the second largest silk producer in the world. About 97 percent of India's silk is produced from the major growing belts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.
Global silk producing countries are China, India, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, North Korea and Turkey.
China, Italy, India, Romania, France, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, Japan and Hong Kong are the top global suppliers of Silk.
Major Silk importing countries are Italy, India, Japan, United States, Vietnam, France, Romania, South Korea, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates.
Local trading hubs for Silk in India are:
Tamil Nadu (Theni)
West Bengal (Murshidabad)
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