Types of Silk
In the world of trends, page 3 of the newspaper decides the ‘ins’ and ‘out’ of fashion. If the colour nude is ruling now, soon the throne may shift to bright, pop-up colours. Trend changes faster than one could even blink. However, SILK has maintained its royalty since ages. It’s a token to pull an impression. So, let’s know about the types and ‘silk’ our styles.
Silk can be simply classified into two categories: mulberry and non-mulberry.
It is the most widely used silk. Produced by the Bombyx mori silkworms, they are fed the mulberry leaves and thereby are called Mulberry silk. It sums up to 90% of world’s total production. Spread across the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir, country’s aggregate production of this silk is 92 %. Right from a western gown to desi Mysore and other sarees, this fibre goes along well with every kind of wear. Not to forget the sexy silk nighties. Indeed the mulberry silk is merry-oh-merry!
Tough-like TASAR (Tussah)
Although silk is anyway known to be one of the strongest fibre, Tasar aka Tussah aces amongst the rest of silk types. It is produced by tussah silkworms who consume tannin-rich leaves and hence produces a distinct light golden to dark brown colour fibre. This type makes an ideal material for interiors; couches, carpets etc.
The famous Bhagalpuri Silk Sarees, Raigarh Kosa Silk Saree, Jharkhand Tussar Silk Sarees; are a production of the same silkworm, known as Kosa silk, species of moth.
The ‘peace silk’ ERI
This type of silk is derived from the silkworm Philosamia rinini; a white-coloured worm that feeds mainly on castor leaves. They are known as a “peace silk”. No, not because their colour but because the silk caterpillars are not destroyed in the cocoon. Instead, are allowed to emerge as moths and live a full lifecycle.
The Eri silk is used in making chaddars (wraps). Practised mainly in the north-eastern states and Assam, also found in Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa.
This is exclusively found in Assam; the pride of the state.
This golden yellow colour silk obtained from a semi-domesticated silkworm, Antheraea assamensis. The Muga silk is used in products like special Assam silk sarees, chaddars, etc.
Other silk- the sarees!
There are other silk types in India based on various regions, a few as follows:
Paithani- Paithan town of Aurangabad brings the richness of Maharashtra in bright colours. The borders are golden and designs are usually of animals, birds, and art from Ajanta Ellora caves.
Kanjeevaram- Tamil Nadu is known for these beautiful, vibrant sarees with contrast borders. Checks, florals and temple designs are common border designs.
Banarasi- The wish of every bride! It has detailed golden, silver zari work which can woo anyone.
Chanderi- M.P. brings the lightest silk sarees. Beautifully woven with motifs like Chanderi temples, peacocks, floral etc.
There are a lot more types still. In India, silk and saree aren’t just two words but one. Apart from the ones listed above, there is Patola silk, Sambalpuri, Dharmavaram and the list goes on. If there is true craftsmanship anywhere, it is here; in our weaver’s hands. They bless us women with something we love the most- Variety!