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How do I Know if My Silk is Organic? — an article on the Smart Living Network
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How do I Know if My Silk is Organic?

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As silk is made by an organic process, the spinning of silk by silkworms, many consumers assume that all silk is healthyfor you and that it is completely organic.

One of the problems is, however, that there are no governing bodies thatregulate whether or not a piece of silk is labeled certified organic. In fact, after the organic silk fiber is created,things are done to the fiber that, in some consumers eyes, make the silk considered non-organic.

Some providers of organic silk will help make the process more organic and ethical by using wild silkworms instead of theblind and helpless Bombyx mori silkworm.

The resultant organic silks are known as peace silks or vegetarian silks and,because the worms are different, they will be of a different texture than their farmed counterparts.

These organic silkswill be slightly darker cream colored when raw and dont accept natural dyes as easily.

An organic silk made by semi-domesticated moths is called muga silk and is made by muga silkworms. This silk is neverbleached or dyed and is a natural golden amber color.

Muga silk tends to be more expensive than other silks and are alsonot considered ethical because the silkworm is killed before emerging from the silkworm.The eri silkworm creates a fine organic silk that becomes nearly white in color after it is woven.

The caterpillars arenot destroyed in the process of creating this organic silk and the silk is spun like cotton rather than being reeled ontospools. This results in a silk that looks and feels more like cotton or wool.

One thing that makes a piece of silk more organic than other silks is whether or not the silk was hand-loomed. Handlooming silk is an important part of what makes silk a sustainable fabric in developing countries such as India. In fact,more than six million individuals are employed in the hand-looming industry and is environmentally friendly, requiring noexternal energy requirements.

Healthy organic silk can be more expensive than synthetic fibers and certain people are known to have allergies to eitherdomestic silk, wild silk or both. Many of the allergies are related to the dietary habits of the silk worm. In addition,organic silk that hasnt been de-gummed to remove the sericin protein from the fiber may cause allergic reactions insensitive individuals.

An organic silk can quickly become non-organic if producers use synthetic dyes to dye the fabric. Most silk threads pickup a great deal of dye and, while they are brilliantly colored, the chemicals in the dye can cause reactions in sensitivepersons. Some producers use environmentally friendly dyes that can be considered organic. Unfortunately, one may not beable to tell anything about the dye just by looking at it.Some of the best organic silks come in their natural, un-dyed form and are considered organic for their lack of chemicaldyes added to the fabric.

Wild silks and organic silk that has been spun are often un-dyed and the consumer will be ableto see that when looking at the fabric.

Be careful that your organic silk is not of the weighted variety. Some manufacturers weigh the silk fabric down byinfusing metallic salts into the fabric. Some of the metallic compounds can be dangerous, including those containing lead,barium, tin and chromium. Weighted silk feels much heavier than non-weighted silk.

In the end, the buyer must decide if the silk he or she is buying is organic enough for them.

Those that are weighted ordyed with synthetic dyes are most likely non-organic.

Those fabrics that have retained their natural color or have beenspun are usually organic and will generally be healthy for you.

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