If you really want to buy a 100% Silk fabric but you are not sure about the fabric you want to buy in a store or on a market, here some help to recognize it.
Do a Touch test.
This is a quick spot test that one can do especially before buying a silk fabric. The idea is to rub the silk with your hands. If you feel warmth on rubbing it, go buy it! It’s real. With artificial or synthetic silk, it is impossible to experience warmth on rubbing. One more thing, real silk sounds like walking on fresh snow. It crisps. Think about crisping a piece of tin paper. Aluminum foil; now you know.
Perform a Ring Test.
If the silk that you are planning to buy is not very heavy, this test is perfect! Genuine silk can be easily threaded and pulled through a wedding ring because silk is naturally flexible and smooth. On the other hand, artificial silks would scrunch up and would be impossible to pull through.
Consider the price.
Of course, real silk is almost ten times costlier than the synthetic ones. Sometimes the synthetic silk is priced much higher and looks like silk to an untrained eye but mostly low price is a very good indication of its poor quality. The reason you should know the secrets to recognize a real Silk. It happens to us more than once. You think you buy a real Silk, but it isn't....
The Lustre of the material.
Silk is especially known for its lustre. The lustre is usually because of the combination of threads which gives a particular sheen to the material. The colour on the surface appears to change as the angle of the light changes. Artificial silks, however, gives a white sheen no matter what the angle of light falling on it.
Look at the Weave.
Hand woven silk boasts of uniqueness. There are minor variations in the evenness of the texture which is quite noticeable. But fret not! These are natural and expected. These imperfections are what lend distinction to the product. Machine woven silks look perfect. They are flawlessly even in texture and hence… lacks character! Synthetic fibers look perfect too even though sometimes slight imperfections are deliberately included so that they could pass off as real silk.
Note that Dupion silk looks a bit "messy". But that is correct. Look at Dupion characteristics to understand the difference.
Perform a Burn Test, if possible...
This is perhaps the best and most definitive test to find genuine silk. You can take a few threads from the material and burn it with a flame. Genuine silk burns with smell of burnt hair. When you burn the edge of real silk fabric, the flame is invisible and it will stop burning as soon as the flame is removed. The ash produced hence, is black, crispy and brittle. It turns to powder when twisted in fingers.With the artificial silk, it is quite the opposite. When synthetic silk is burnt, there is a flame and smell of plastic. No ash is produced. Needless to say, you might need to exercise caution with this step. You don’t want to end up setting fire to the silk shop or a marketplace.
If you really need to know, consider a Chemical Test. If you have a lab with necessary chemicals on the standby, ready for some experimentation, what’s stopping you? Or maybe you know a chemical student who wants to do the test for you ? For starters, you need: Mix all the below and dip a small piece of silk that you want to test into the solution. Real silk dissolves in a few minutes while artificial silk would not dissolve.
Remember that Old is Gold.
The older the silk gets, the more beautiful it becomes. With the fake silk, it is quite the opposite. The fake silk tends to fade with time. But again, it is a better idea to buy a genuine silk rather than end up with a fake one.Now that you are armed with some really good tips for the next silk shopping spree, sleep easy. You are going to get the silk fabric you so rightly deserve.