12 Different types of Silk and Sarees made from them
Silk is a natural fabric that speaks luxury and comfort, loved by people of different cultures and traditions for centuries long. Silk production dates back to the 4th millennium BCE in China and first appeared in the Indus Valley around 2450-2000 BC. Though it is used for various industrial and commercial purposes, majorly silk is used in the textile industry. Today, Asia is the largest producer, as well as consumer of silk in the world and silk sarees, amount to 75% of silk consumption. Silk sarees are the most beloved clothing of women treasured for years.
Apart from silk being a single fabric, there is a wide range of types of silks, each of them known for its qualities. This blog will explain the types of silks based on silkworms and fabrics.
Based on silkworms
Mulberry silk is the most common type of silk worldwide, comprising 90% of global silk production. It comes from Bombyx mori larvae which feed on mulberry leaves. Mulberry silk is smooth and very strong and has a natural gloss. It can hold moisture very well. Mulberry silk’s history can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation which was used by the royal family and is still the highest quality of silk available today. In India, mulberry silk is majorly produced by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, and Karnataka.
Kanjivaram silk sarees and Banarasi silk sarees, timeless classics are woven from pure mulberry silk.
Muga silk is obtained from Antheraea assamensis silkworm. These worms are semi-cultivated. Muga silk is only produced in Assam, making it one of the rarest and most expensive types of silk in the world. Muga means ‘golden yellow’ in Assamese which refers to its original colour. It is known for its longevity and is passed from one generation to the other. To make a six-yard Muga silk saree more than 1 kg of silk is needed. Muga silk sarees are known for their golden sheen which makes them superior to other silk sarees.
Eri silk is obtained from Philosamiaricini silkworms found in Northeast India and some parts of China and Japan. Besides Bombyx mori, this is the only silkworm that is fully domesticated. They feed on castor oil plant leaves which gives the silk the name Eri, derived from the Assamese word ‘Era’ meaning castor. The original colour of the silk is white. Eri silk is one of the most sustainable silk fabrics.
Tussar silk is obtained from Antheraea mylitta silkworm. It is also known as Tasar or Tussah silk and comes from the Tussar belt in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Bihar. As it is obtained from a wild silkworm, Tussar silk is strong, heavy and has a rough texture. Its natural colour is a dark brown or grey colour which is later dyed to obtain different shades.
Tussar silk sarees are known for their longevity and there are varieties in Tussar like Handwoven Tussar, Printed Tussar, Embroidered Tussar, Vidarbha Tussar and Kantha Tussar.
Unlike other silk that is obtained from silkworms on the land, Sea silk as the name refers is obtained from a type of sea mollusc called Pinna nobilis. It is made from a silky filament called byssus which is secreted by Pinna nobilis with which they anchor themselves to the sea bed. Sea silk is one of the finest, rare and most expensive silk in the world.
Based on Fabrics
The satin silk is lightweight and smooth. It is shiny and smooth on one side and dull matte on the other. Satin silk is often used for lingerie, blouses, dresses and scarves and is one of the favourite fabrics for designers.
Banarasi satin silk sarees are widely known in the satin silk category.
Chiffon is a slightly stretchable lightweight fabric with a matte feel. It gives a flowy look and can be layered to create different looks. It is the lightest fabric that is soft, silky and sheer and is often used in contemporary wear, sarees and gowns.
Chiffon silk sarees are the most loved saree fabric and are preferred due to their lightweight and soft flowy look.
Crepe is a slightly heavier fabric that has a lustrous matte look. It has a crinkled appearance that gives texture to the fabric and can be easily draped. Crepe sarees are popular and crepe silk is also used to make casual dresses and gowns.
Crepe silk sarees are loved for their majestic look with a mix of tradition and modernity.
Georgette is a thin yet strong fabric that looks like chiffon but has a grainy texture. It is a lightweight fabric that flows and drapes well and is sweat-absorbent. Like chiffon, it is used to make sarees, layered dresses and gowns and scarves.
Georgette sarees are available in a variety of prints. Tussar Georgette silk sarees are a unique beauty with the rich look of silk.
Unlike other silk fabrics, organza is stiff and fluffy that cannot be easily draped but can be folded and set in place. It adds shape and volume to the dress. Organza is a popular fabric for detailed embroidery and beadwork. Organza sarees are perfect designer wear for parties.
There are different types of organza such as Woven Organza, Printed Organza and Embroidered Organza.
Silk cotton as the name refers is a blend of silk and cotton thread which gives the material more durability. It feels soft and smooth like silk and breathable like cotton, making this fabric best suitable for warm weather. It is less expensive than other silk fabrics.
Silk Cotton sarees are a pure class and are lightweight, sturdy and comfortable.
Soft silk fabrics are manufactured from silk and usually have less zari which makes them light and smooth. Soft silk fabrics have a lustrous shine and look as rich as pure silk fabrics. They are used to create a variety of dresses, soft silk sarees are popular among all.
Soft silk sarees are the right mix of traditional and modern silk and have a lustrous shine and give the perfect pleats that are intact. Printed Soft silk sarees come in a medley of colours and patterns like florals, checks and stripes that suit best for occasions.
Shop beautiful silk sarees for any occasion at Tulsi Silks
At Tulsi Silks, keeping the tradition and the craftsmanship of weaving sarees alive is the driving force that makes us combine culture and innovation to give our customers an exquisite clothing experience and carry their Indian-ness for centuries to come.
Tulsi Silks is a leading Indian designer saree store offering a wide range of sarees from traditional to modern. We have over 10,000+ sarees and we are in the business for over 25 years. Visit our retail showroom in Chennai, Tamil Nadu or visit our website to shop exclusive silk sarees from the comfort of your home.