Back To Silk Menu

Recognizing Real Silk

The question is, "how can you be sure that the silk fabric item you wish to buy is actually 100 percent Thai silk and not the imitation, which is made of polyester?" There are five basic guidelines for determining the answer to this question. Consider the

Price

There is a big difference in price between the I 00-percent silk items and the imitation items. Generally for a 100-percent silk item you should expect a price of anywhere from 600 Baht to 2,500 Baht, depending on the item, whereas the same item in imitation silk will be priced at anywhere frown 100 Baht to 250 Baht. In both lines of course some larger and more extravagant pieces will be priced higher, but as a guide these ranges should be sufficient.

Weave

The weave is another area which will allow the shopper to immediately see the difference between the real silk and the imitation. The real silk weave is completely handmade of a natural fibre and thus clearly shows small flaws or joins in the thread along the warp and the weft. The imitation polyester, on the other hand, is a machine-made fabric and has a perfect surface with no flaws or bumps. This aspect can be most important to the unknowledgeable shopper in that what appears to be perfect in polyester is actually the imitation of real silk.

Lustre

Lustre is the third guideline feature, and a small light test shows whether a fabric is real or imitation. The 100-percent Thai silk is made with one color for the warp and one color for the weft. This is what gives Thai silk its natural sheen and lustre and it's what makes Thai silk so unique in terms of color tones and blends. Thus, when you hold a piece of 100-percent silk up to the light the overall color tone will change depending on the angle of light. With the imitation, regardless of what light angle you hold it in, it shines white.

Print

Whether a fabric is real silk or imitation is also easy to determine by looking carefully at the print. A 100-percent Thai silk piece will have the printed pattern on one side with only an outline of the print on the reverse side. When both sides are held up to the light, only the full print side will change color. The colours are not evident on the reverse side. With an imitation print, the pattern print and colours can be seen on one side while a plain color can be seen on the reverse side; and, both sides shine white when held to the light.

Burn Test

The final feature here is the Burn Test. If you take a thread or two of 100-percent Thai silk and light them with a flame, it will leave a fine ash and smell like burnt hair. As soon as the flame is taken away the threads will stop burning. When the imitation silk is lit, on the other hand, it will drip, it will burn black smoke, and it continues to burn after the flame is taken away . This Burn test is really unnecessary if you're familiar with the other features discussed above. It is, however, a certain way to determine authenticity when in doubt.

Summary

Thai silk is one of the finest fabrics in the world. It has very distinctive features that are fundamentally different from the Chinese, Indian and Italian silks. One could not say that any one of the four types is superior to the others, but the process of manufacturing, the patterns and colours used do make the silk types different. With the high regard in which Thai silk is held throughout the world, we hope the information in this article will assist shoppers in getting what they want. There are, to be sure, some who would prefer the lower priced imitation product because of its lower cost value, but for those who expect the real thing, we want to make sure you have the information to avoid disappointment.

Back To Silk Menu