The silk production process is also known as Sericulture. It started in China 4800 years ago.
A worm, the Bombyx mori aka silkworm, makes the silk.
Larvae hatch out of small eggs after 14 days. The larvae then eat mulberry leaves.
They eat for more than 40 days.
Then, they start making their cocoon. They spin their cocoon for 5 to 8 days.
The cocoon is made of silk. It’s one filament of silk, about 1000 feet long, secreted by the salivary glands of the worm.
The chrysalis inside is then killed by steam, boiling or by laying in the sun.
The cocoons are loosened in hot water and unwound.
A single thread filament is too thin to use on its own, so they combine many threads to produce a thicker, usable fiber. They do this by hand-reeling the threads onto a wooden spindle to produce a uniform strand of raw silk. The process is a tedious one as it takes nearly 40 hours to produce a half kilogram of Thai silk.
The silk fabric is then soaked in hot water and bleached. After, the silk can be dyed in many different colours. Traditional Thai silk usually don’t use chemicals to dye and is hand woven, each silk fabric is unique and cannot be duplicated by commercial means.
Therefore, an authentic traditional Thai silk is about 10 times more expensive than artificial silk.
It takes more than 2000 silkworms to make 500g of silk.