Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, the "Goddess of Silk", and wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, is credited with inventing the loom and introducing silkworm cultivation to China 5,000 years ago. The cultivation of silk worms requires a very demanding level of care and knowledge and the secrets of silk were closely guarded by the Chinese for 2,000 years. Revealing those secrets or attempting to smuggle silk worm eggs or cocoons out of ancient China was an offense punishable by death. The early use of silk was reserved exclusively for the Emperor, selected relatives and the very highest of his dignitaries, who no doubt went to bed each night luxuriating in their silk sheets.

Silk was gradually introduced to other classes of Chinese society and became one of the principal commodities of the Chinese economy over time. Eventually the use of silk became widespread, not only for clothing, bedding and decoration, but also for industrial purposes, including musical instruments, bows and strings, fishing lines, a variety of bonds, and the world's first luxury rag paper. During the Han Dynasty, lengths of silk were given value comparable to pounds of gold and were used as salary for civil servants, to reward outstanding subjects and to pay taxes (which were also accepted in grain). Silk became additionally useful in China as a trade currency with foreign countries.

Sericulture, or silk cultivation, was brought to Korea by waves of Chinese immigrants, approximately 200 BC, and traveled westward to India in the next century. It is said that in 440 AD, a prince of Khotan courted and won a Chinese princess who hid silkworm eggs in her voluminous hairpiece and thereby smuggled them out of China. Khotan kept the secret. In approximately 550 AD, two Nestorian monks arrived at the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's court with silkworm eggs hidden in their hollow bamboo staves and the Byzantine church began cultivating and producing silk themselves, also guarding the ancient secrets of silk production. Persia mastered the art of silk weaving techniques by the sixth century.

By the time of the Second Crusades in the 13th century, Italy began silk production with the introduction of 2000 skilled silk weavers from Constantinople. Eventually, silk production became widespread in Europe, and silk production has continued to grow worldwide ever since. China however, still maintains its position as the world's leading producer of silk.

The production of silk is a long process that demands close attention and particular care. In the wild, silk is produced by a variety of insects. Commercial production is dominated by the Mulberry Silk Moth, Bombyx Mori the cocoon fed on mulberry. The blind, flightless moth, Bombyx Mori, lays 500 or more eggs in just four to six days and dies soon afterwards. The eggs are the size of a pinpoint. One hundred eggs weigh only one gram. One ounce of eggs produces approximately 30,000 worms, which will eat a ton of mulberry leaves to produce twelve pounds of raw silk.

Two conditions must be met to produce high quality silk. One is preventing the moths from hatching out, the other is perfecting the diet on which the silkworms feed. The temperature for storing silkworm eggs must be kept at 65 degrees F, and gradually increased to 77 degrees, the correct temperature for hatching. Once the eggs hatch, the baby worms feed on fresh, hand- picked and chopped mulberry leaves every hour (producing a munching sound like heavy rain on a rooftop), until they reach maturity. Thousands of feeding worms are kept on trays that are stacked one on top of the other until they are ready to enter the cocoon stage. A newly hatched silkworm will multiply its weight 10,000 times within a month, changing color and shedding its whitish-gray skin several times. When the time comes to build cocoons, the worm will produce a jelly-like substance in its silk glands that hardens on contact with the air. The environment at this stage, must be controlled to protect the growing cocoon from loud noises, strong smells and drafts. It takes three to four days for a silkworm to spin a cocoon around its body.

Silkworm cocoons are complete when they reach the appearance of puffy white balls. After eight to nine days, the cocoons are ready to unwind. During this stage, the cocoons are maintained in a warm, dry environment until they are steamed or baked to kill the worms, or pupas. The tightly woven cocoons are then dipped into hot water to loosen the fine filaments, which are unwound onto a spool. Each cocoon is comprised of a filament between 600 and 900 meters long. One silk thread is made from five to eight of these super fine filaments twisted together, which is then ready to be woven into cloth.

The cultivation of silk yields a natural, luxurious fabric that has long been valued for its sheen, its durability, its fluidity and its elasticity. The light reflective quality and wide versatility of silk make it a highly desired fibre that can be put to many uses today, just as it was in ancient China. Bed linens made from natural silk are lightweight and cool in summer and warm in the winter, making them a great choice for all seasons.
Silk bed sheets and pillows are beautiful, luxurious and practical, providing the ultimate in sleeping comfort year round.