Is Mulberry Silk Real Silk?
We answer your questions
If you’ve checked out our online store or social media at all, then you’ve probably spotted that we advertise our silk products as being made from mulberry silk.
But what does this mean?
Is mulberry silk real silk?
What is mulberry silk?
Mulberry silk is so called because of the way it is produced. All natural silk fabrics are woven from the threads spun by silkworms. So what makes mulberry silk different? Is mulberry silk actually real silk at all?
The Bombyx Mori Moth
Mulberry silk is made by silkworms that feed exclusively on mulberry leaves. Hence the name. These silkworms are the offspring of the Bombyx mori moth, and as with a caterpillar and butterfly they will later transform into moths.
So the Bombyx mori moth - also known as the domestic silk moth - is closely related to the wild silk moth. The silkworm is basically the caterpillar, or larvae, of the species.
The preferred diet of the Bombyx mori moth is mulberry leaves, which they devour more-or-less continuously. From this, a cocoon made from pure silk threads is spun. This is the chrysalis from which the fully-developed moth later emerges.
The Bombyx mori moth - or domestic silk moth - is rather different from other species. It cannot fly, and is colourless. In China, these domestic silkworms have been bred for over 5,000 years and silk production is not possible without them.
These larvae are edible, and in some Asian countries - such as Korea, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and, of course, parts of China - they are a delicacy. In China and Thailand they are sold as street food, while in Japan and Vietnam they are served as a main meal with fish or sweet and sour sauce and rice.
The Mulberry Tree
The mulberry tree clearly plays an important role in silk production. Known scientifically as Morus alba, it can also be referred to as the common mulberry, white mulberry - or the silkworm mulberry tree.
This is a small to medium-sized tree that quickly grows, reaching 10 or even 20 metres in height. Most mulberry trees have a similar lifespan to humans, though some specimens may live for around 250 years.
It is a species native to China, but has become naturalised in various locations worldwide. As well as being known for its role in silk production, the mulberry tree is also famous for releasing pollen extremely rapidly.
The berries of the mulberry tree are edible, and look rather like elongated blackberries. This fruit has a predominantly sweet flavour, balanced by a sharp tang.
Returning to mulberry silk, then. This is pure silk, woven from threads that are produced by the larvae of the Bombyx mori moth. It is an entirely natural product offering a huge number of benefits to those who wear it, sleep on it and use it for soft furnishings.
So, the answer to the original question is a resounding yes - mulberry silk is real silk. Not only that, it is widely regarded as the finest silk in the world. Which is precisely why Calidad Home selected mulberry silk as their fabric of choice.
However there is more to creating the planet’s best silk than just the diet of the silkworms - important though that may be. Other factors that affect the finish of a silk pillowcase, scrunchie, scarf or other item also come into play. These include the momme count, grade and weave technique used when making the fabric.
In short, grade A long strand silk with a higher momme count is the best thing to look for. Ideally, the fabric should be made using the charmeuse weave technique, as this produces a smoother, stronger fabric with an irresistible sheen.
Mulberry Silk Benefits
There are many benefits to using mulberry silk. This is a gentle fabric that is kind to hair and skin. It’s also naturally odourless and hypoallergenic, and you may choose to buy products made from undyed ivory silk too.
As such, pure mulberry silk can reduce pillow creases, help to control unruly hair and have an anti-ageing effect on the skin. We’ll not go into that in too much depth as it’s covered on other pages and in other blog posts, but it’s part of the reason that mulberry silk products are becoming increasingly popular.
Mulberry silk also has an incomparable look and feel. Particularly when it’s been made with grade A long strand silk, using the charmeuse weave technique, and has a high momme count. It can be printed and dyed beautifully, which owners of our tie-dye pillowcase in particular will notice. Mulberry silk is made into all sorts of products for the home, as well as fashion essentials like silk scarves and scrunchies.
Mulberry silk is not only real silk - mulberry silk is the highest quality silk. Which is exactly why we chose it for the Calidad Home collection.