What do you usually associate with silk? The Silk Road? The idiom "smooth as silk"? Your favorite silk scarf or silk tie? Whatever it is, our knowledge of silk doesn't normally extend far beyond basic history, fabrics and fashion. But in reality, silk has one of the most illustrious and colorful histories unknown to most people. For those looking to dive a little deeper into the fascinating world of silk, here are eight little unknown facts that might surprise you.
Silk is a natural fiber that is produced by the silkworm--the caterpillar larva of the domesticated silkmoth Bombyx mori. The cultivation of silk from silkworms is a process known as silk farming, or sericulture. Silkworms were first discovered by the Chinese around 2,700 BC and for many centuries, the Chinese were the only civilization with the knowledge to make silk but eventually, the secrets of sericulture spread to other parts of the world. Here, we explore how silk is harvested and turned into silk threads.