Silk Formation and its History

We all might have seen ads on Television about different silk sarees

So many varieties of sarees such as Kancheevaram, banarasi, Assam silk sarees etc are available in the market

It is an amazing fact that the silk for these products are produced by tiny silkworms

The rearing of silkworms for the production of silk is known as sericulture

Let's take a look at the history and the different types of silks available

Silk was said to be produced first in China and they hold the position for the largest producers of silk in the world

Currently, India are the second largest producers of silk in the world

These are the major varieties of silk found in our country

Mulberry silk is the most popular kind of silk among these

It is more popular because it has a very good lustre and it is soft. It has a creamy white colour

Let's see how silk is produced from these silkworms

The given image shows an outline on the life cycle of a silkworm which produces the mulberry silk

This is how an adult silkworm looks like

When it reaches sexual maturity, it lays eggs on the leaves of plants such as mulberry

When the eggs are hatched, the larval forms of the silkworm are produced

The larvae then develop by feeding on the mulberry leaves. This process usually lasts 28-30 days

These larvae then enters the ext stage of their life cycle. They are formed into cocoons

Usually it takes 5-7 days for the complete formation of cocoon around the worm

Silk for commercial production is isolated from the silkworm cocoons

For the isolation of silk, the cocoons are collected in large numbers

The cocoons are then heated in boiling water, which will help in loosening the filaments

Unfortunately, this heat also kills the silkworm inside the cocoon

After washing, one end of the thread is passed through an eyelet and reeled onto a wheel

An eyelet is used to take a single filament from the bunch and reel it to the wheel

After reeling the silk thread, the final texture of the fabric depends on the pattern of twisting the silk thread

This silk is then processed and used for the production of clothes and other fabrics

Since the process in turn kills the larva, sericulture has been criticized by animal welfare and rights activists


The rearing of silkworms for the production of silk is known as sericulture

China is the world leaders in the production of silk while India holds the second position

Common types of silk found in India are Mulberry, Tussar, Eri and muga silks

When a new silk worm is produced, it forms a structure called cocoon and the silk is isolated by heating the cocoon in hot water and reeling the silk with a wheel