Large marketplaces like Amazon and ebay are now flooded by cheap items claiming to be real silk. With many prices well below the cost of production of genuine silk a lot of these products are clearly fake. The question here is how do you at home tell the difference?
First a little background. Genuine silk is produced from the cocoons of silk worms who feed exclusively on mulberry leaves. Quality silk is often referred to as mulberry silk for this reason. Silk is much stronger and more durable than substitutes like satin.
In addition silk is proven to be antibacterial, anti fungal and can reduce dust mites and allergies. It is used in clothing for those with atopic dermatitis and eczema as it benefits the skin in these cases.
Silk products can also benefit the skin by forming a moisture barrier and reducing dehydration of the skin. Silk pillowcases to sleep on andsilk eye masks are used extensively for this purpose.Silk lined hats and silk pillowcases also reduce friction in a way satin cannot to reduce frizzy hair and reduce thinning hair being torn out.
The benefits of genuine silk go on and on so it is important to be sure you are getting the real article when purchasing.
There are 2 ways sellers can cheat when advertising silk products. In the simplest method it may not be true silk at all but actually satin or artificial silk which can appear very similar to the untrained eye.
There are a couple of quick tricks (other than the price) which can help you determine if the product is real silk, satin or artificial silk.
1. Rub the Silk
Rub the silk with your hands and see if it feels warm. Only real silk will feel warm when rubbed with your hands so if you can’t detect this warmth it is probably fake.
2. Fold the Silk
If the silk is not too heavy as it won’t be for most worn silk see if the silk can pass through a wedding ring or if heavier a serviette holder. Real silk is more flexible and smooth and so will pass through more easily than a fake silk which will more likely fold.
3. Look at the Lustre
Silk is famous for its lustre. With real silk the colour on the surface should continue to change as the angle of the light changes. Artificial silks on the other hand will give a white sheen regardless of the direction of the light.
4. The Burn Test
The final test is an extreme test. You would only perform this test after you have bought a product and it has developed holes and you want proof it is fake to return it. It is called the burn test. As the name suggests you take a few threads and burn them with a flame.
Real silk will smell like burnt hair, the flame will be invisible and it will stop burning when the flame is taken away. With artificial there will be a flame and the smell of burnt plastic.
The second way sellers cheat is in the grade and thickness of silk used. The thickness of silk is traditionally measured in mommes. One momme is 4.34 grams of silk per square metre or in imperial 8 mommes is approximately 1 ounce per square yard.
It is the mommes or thickness of the silk that largely determines its use and durability. Good quality silk pillowcases and eye masks usually use 19 momme as they provide the best combination of flexibility and strength.
Thicker silks are sometimes used for saris but are not usually ideal for smaller items of bedding.
Many companies are now advertising their pillowcases and bedding as up to 25 momme. Buyers often contact us after purchasing this type of products from competitors complaining that it fell apart and developed holes very quickly.
This is normally because it was in fact only 12 momme or less to begin with and so did not have the durability to sustain normal wear and tear.
Sadly unless you know what you are doing this is hard for the untrained buyer to spot. Price should be the first indicator. A ridiculously low price is a good warning sign.
Guaranteeing you are purchasing genuine silk can be difficult. All genuine manufacturers will have a certificate of independent Inspection guaranteeing the quality of the silk which can be requested.
Ultimately it is best to learn a little about how to spot the fake silk and buy from a manufacturer you can trust.
To learn more please follow the links below
Silk Eye Masks