It might suffice to say that silk comes from the fibers of the silkworm's cocoon, but to leave it there would be like saying that wool comes from sheep.
When it comes to the cultivation and harvest of natural material for textiles, the art of Chinese sericulture is undoubtedly the most complex and intriguing by a wide margin.
There are a large variety of creatures capable of producing silk on the planet, but the prized Mulberry Silk Moth and a handful of close relatives are the exclusive suppliers for the commercial silk industry.
We can simply refer to this humble insect by the popular term 'silkworm', but it's actually not a silkworm at all, rather it's a moth pupa.
Hatching the Eggs
The process begins when a female lays her eggs in a naturally pristine and controlled environment. In a space roughly the size of your laptop, about 100 moths could be expected to deposit around 40,000 eggs.
The eggs are fertilized by the male, incubate about 10 days, then hatch into little silkworms (or caterpillars, if you prefer).
Feeding the Silkworm.
The infant hatchlings are put under a fine layer of gauze where they are pampered on a generous diet that can include lettuce, Osage orange and mulberry leaves. Those dining exclusively on mulberry leaves will eventually produce the finest silk.
After indulging continuously for about six weeks, they suddenly stop eating and change color.
Spinning the Cocoon.
The silkworm has reached maximum size and attaches itself to a frame, tree or shrub in a rearing house. Over the next 3-8 days, it spins a silk cocoon by rotating its body in a figure-eight motion over 1/4 milion revolutions.
The cozy cocoon is formed by nearly a kilometer of silk filament comprised of fibroin, a protein material.
Harvesting the Filament.
Once completed, hot air, steam or boiling water is applied to the cocoon to soften it and allow it to be gently expanded by hand on a wooden rack, where the ball of silk thread becomes a sheet of lighter, softer and more lustrous fibers.
Next, it's hand-stretched again on a larger rack to make a thick bundle of silk floss.
Final Production and Processing.
Supplied with hundreds of raw bundles of silk, our craftsmen position themselves at the four corners of each bundle and gently stretch the silk to the appropriate dimensions of the comforter size.
Bundle by bundle, layer by layer, the Luxana Silk comforter slowly begins to take shape. Typically, it can take between 100 and 400 of these thin layers to complete the comforter, depending on the desired thickness and bed size.
With the silk floss layers carefully stacked together, they are then sealed inside a luxuriously soft outer shell of 100% viscose from bamboo to eliminate shifting and bunching.
With production complete, the comforter is then subjected to a stringent regimen of quality testing before finally receiving the Luxana Baby label as the official seal of approval.
The final result is an extemely efficient, lightweight and luxurious Luxana Baby comforter.