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What is high-grade silk like


The offering of silk-filled duvets and pillows is expanding. They have different prices. The main reason is the various quality of the silk. Learn how to choose high-grade silk fibre products and protect yourself from cheap imitations.


For silk fibre-filled pillows and duvets, traditionally two types of silk fibre have been used: Mulberry and Tussa; however, only Mulberry is considered genuine silk. The name ‘Mulberry’ says it all. The largest part of and higher-quality silk products is made of this sort of silk.


What is Mulberry silk  

The Mulberry silk is also called long-fibre silk because it is the highest-quality silk in the world; top-quality, ecologically clean, natural and health-friendly and comfortable bed clothing products are made of it. Read more.

The Mulberry silk is produced by the Bombyx mori silkworms that are specially bred for the production of silk. They are bred in special households, where the process is monitored and the silkworms are attended by specialists – just like cattle or grain is grown in our ecological farms. The silkworms are fed with mulberry leaves only that also have been grown in ecological conditions. Thus it is possible to breed more productive, good quality and larger and stronger cocoons, which, consequently, means that the silk products are better. Harvesting the silk fibre is a long and delicate process that requires diligence, accuracy and carefulness. This process is what makes silk one of the most expensive fibres. Read more.

What is Tussah silk

Some manufacturers use the fibre of wild silkworms as the filling of duvets. This sort of silkworm live in the wild and feed on the leaves of various trees (oak, birch, mulberry and others). The colour of their cocoons is red-brown; to make it look like high-grade silk, it gets bleached. To bleach the fibre, chemical substances are used. After such treatment, the silk’s structure changes and the best qualities are lost like flexibility, durability, the ability to prevent the reproduction of pathogen microorganisms. Furthermore, wild silkworms hatch themselves, and therefore the silk thread is not uninterrupted, but short-fibre is obtained instead. Consequently, duvets filled with the Tussah silk are usually quilted to ensure that the silk fibre stays in place. If the duvet is quilted, there are heat losses at the points of needle holes, and the maximum breathability cannot be ensured, meaning that a steady body temperature cannot be maintained during the night.


What to consider when choosing silk-filled duvets and pillows 

Duvets and pillows filled with the Mulberry silk fibre are several times more expensive than products with the Tussah silk fibre because their quality levels differ, although they both are rightly called 100% silk. Duvets filled with the Mulberry silk fibre are thicker, softer and more pleasant to the touch. Their lifetime is many years, exceeding the lifetime of duvets with the Tussah fibre three times.


Duvet cases 

If you opt for silk fibre products, you should pay attention to the quality of the casing fabric material. Also the quality of the fabric affects the price and durability of the duvet; consequently, two similar duvets can differ a lot in price: the more expensive and of higher quality the fabric, the more expensive the duvet. When you buy a silk duvet, check the density of the fabric and the way the duvet is made. If the fabric is very thin, it is possible that the filling will penetrate it after some time. This is a problem with quilted duvets too, as the silk might penetrate through the needle stitch holes. If the silk duvet has high-grade filling, they are usually not quilted. It simply is not necessary. Read more.


What are pillows filled with silk fibre like 

Pillows filled with silk only are never as soft as down pillows or as light as synthetic-filling pillows. Silk-filled pillows are modestly elastic and keep their shape even after years of use. The optimum weight of a 12-15 cm high pillow is about 1,100-1,400 g. In such pillows, silk is not mixed with synthetic fibres. If you like higher pillows, there are pillows with an addition of synthetic materials. The middle part of the pillow is made of a synthetic material, and it works as a spring that pushes the silk and gives volume to the pillow. Such pillows are usually much cheaper.

If you want to buy a pillow and are in doubt whether the labelled composition is correct, it can be easily checked. If the pillow is high and light, up to 1,000 g, then you can be sure that it is not filled with 100% silk fibre. Put the pillow on an even, solid surface, push on it and release swiftly. If the pillow returns in the original shape, there is a synthetic material added in the filling.


How to verify the quality of the silk of silk-filled duvets and pillows  

- The label must indicate what sort of silk is in the filling. Check that the filling is 100% Mulberry silk, with no other silk sorts added;


- High-grade silk fibre duvets are not quilted, and the fibre is stitched with hands throughout the perimeter of the duvet;


- Silk-filled duvets and pillows should have a zipper, so that you can open it and have a look at the filling. Then you can be sure that silk fibre is natural;


- The colour of the Mulberry silk fibre should be beigeish, pearlish, it may not be purely white. It must have a mat gloss, not a bright gloss;


- Flexible when touched, and resistant to ruptures. If you try to pluck some fibre, the Mulberry silk threads are difficult to rupture and they stretch, but the Tussah fibre ruptures easier, already after 10-20 cm.


-Try to burn the silk fibre: pull out a silk thread and light it up. The smell should be like a burning organic substance, e.g. burning hair or nails, and after the burning a coal should be left that can be rubbed between the fingers, making the fingers black.Non-organic material will burn fast as polyethylene, with a different smell, and leave no coal.


- Open the zipper of a silk duvet and see that the silk fibres tend to attach to the duvet casing. If yes, it means that the silk filling is the highest-quality long-fibre Mulberry silk.


- if you feel hot under a silk fibre-filled duvet weighting 1 kg, it is possible that synthetic materials have been added.


Duvets and pillows with silk fibre filling are traditional Chinese bed clothing.The started their way throughout the world in the beginning of the 21st century and soon became popular in households, luxurious hotels etc. When buying silk pillows and duvets, be cautious: however nice the packing, there are products with a mix of silk fibre and synthetic materials.Very often this mix is found in the pillow filling and in quilted silk duvets.One can only guess what is the quality of the silk fibre inside.


The Mulberry silk fibre pulled out from the inside of the duvet.This is what silk filling looks like.