The Treasures of Silk - Top Luxury Rugs

The Treasures of Silk - Top Luxury Rugs - Arrant Luxury

Why Choose a Silk Rug?

The legacy of silk is no secret to the artsy and to the ones with a heart for luxury. Renowned for its opulence, silk finds its perfect match in hand-knotted oriental rugs.

The age-old method of hand knotting lends itself to crafting high-quality silk rugs. Renowned for their exceptional strength and mesmerizing beauty, silk rugs are cherished as timeless pieces of art, that revive households for generations. For centuries, silk has stood as the epitome of luxury, with its sumptuous softness and radiant lustre giving away a heavenly cool and decadent touch. Whether traditional, oriental or modern, silk rugs are truly the apex of luxury.

The Roots of Silk

Have you ever wondered about the origins of silk? Silk, known for being the strongest natural textile globally, traces its roots back to ancient China over five millennia ago during the Neolithic age. The discovery of silk was initially a closely guarded secret of the Chinese.

The enigma of silk production started to unfold as information gradually reached other regions like Korea and India, where silkworms were covertly transported out of China during the 1st Century BC.

As centuries passed, silk became more accessible, transitioning from its raw form to exquisite rugs, thanks to the establishment of 'The Silk Road.' This historic trade route interconnected various regions, spanning Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and Southern Europe. Chinese merchants engaged in silk trade, exchanging this luxurious material for diverse goods, including gold and precious stones.

Even today, China remains the predominant global silk producer, contributing 60% to the world's silk production.

The Process of Making Silk

Silk, the raw material for these exquisite rugs, is derived from the fibers found within the cocoons of moth larvae, commonly known as silkworms. These caterpillars feed on mulberry leaves during their early life stages and then spin cocoons over 3-8 days, to crawl within the cocoons. The mulberry leaves undergo a transformation into liquid silk within the silkworms' bodies, a substance used to construct the cocoon. The process continues until all the liquid silk has been utilized.

Following cocoon formation and a few days of the silkworm's presence inside, the cocoons undergo heat treatment using hot air and steam to eliminate the pupa, allowing for the unwinding of the cocoon. Boiling the cocoon further facilitates this process, contributing to the sumptuous softness of silk rugs by removing the Sericin, a protein created by the caterpillars.

The unwound silk is loaded onto a reel and attached to another stand, creating a continuous string. To enhance strength, multiple silk filaments are combined into a single strand, twisted to form bundles of yarn called 'skeins.' This preparation makes the silk easier to dye and work with.

The dyeing process is relatively straightforward due to silk's composition, primarily consisting of a protein called 'fibroin.' This characteristic enables easy dye absorption, resulting in vibrant and rich colors. Once dyed, the silk is loaded onto spools or tubes, ready for the intricate weaving process that transforms it into the luxurious silk rugs we admire.

Hand-knotted Persian Silk Rugs

While silk may be perceived as a delicate material, it paradoxically results in strong and high-quality hand-knotted rugs. The strength of silk lies in the length of its fibers, with unraveled cocoons producing threads that can extend up to an impressive 25,000 meters. This natural strength, combined with the fineness of silk, allows for immense detail in making rugs, particularly evident in rugs with a silk foundation. The smaller knots achievable with silk enable the crafting of exquisite patterns and designs that add to the aesthetic of any space.

The appeal of silk in luxury rugs stems from its exquisite softness and captivating lustre. This sheen is accentuated in hand-knotted rugs, thanks to the nap of the pile or 'pile direction.' Essentially, the play of light on the rug's surface varies depending on the direction, offering a distinct impression from every viewpoint.

Given the elevated cost of silk, it is frequently amalgamated with other materials in the creation of contemporary rugs. The blending of fibers provides a balanced compromise between the two distinct finishes. Alternatively, silk may be strategically confined to specific sections of the design. This strategic blending has gained popularity in crafting modern luxury rugs, introducing a compelling contrast between the textures of wool and silk, thereby infusing the design with added depth and complexity.

Artificial Silk Rugs

The market has witnessed a significant surge in the popularity of artificial silk rugs in recent times. These rugs, crafted from materials like viscose, rayon, bamboo silk, art silk, banana silk, tencel, and mercerized cotton, offer an alternative to traditional silk rugs. Despite slight variations in the manufacturing process of each material, they all share a common origin in cellulose (plant matter) chemically treated to mimic the appearance of silk.

In contrast to genuine silk rugs, the fibers of artificial silk rugs are notably weaker, boasting a tensile strength of 1,000 folds or less, as opposed to the robust 8,000 folds found in silk rugs. This distinction makes the pile of artificial silk rugs highly susceptible to crushing and damage.

Moreover, artificial 'art-silk' rugs may pose challenges in handling spillages. The quality of artificial silks varies widely and cleaning them can be problematic. Instances of watermarks may occur, especially in plain designs, and cleaning often necessitates professional intervention, with no guaranteed results.

The Authenticity of Silk Rugs

When on the quest for a genuine silk rug, navigate through the market with caution. Some rug vendors intentionally mislead customers into believing they are investing in a real silk rug, only to discover it's an imitation silk. While a remarkably low-priced rug is likely not crafted from authentic silk, it's crucial to note that a high price tag doesn't guarantee authenticity either.

Discerning the authenticity of a rug involves employing a few simple tests. One non-intrusive method is to briskly rub the rug with your hand. Genuine silk exudes warmth, while artificial silk retains a colder feel. For a more dependable test, consider burning a few strands of yarn from your rug. Authentic silk, being a protein-based material, will emit a scent reminiscent of burnt hair, with the fibers transforming into a ball of crisp ash. In contrast, imitation silk, composed of cellulose, will produce ash with a chalkier texture and a scent akin to burnt paper. 

Luxury Silk Rugs at Arrant Luxury

A silk rug, whether full silk or a blend, epitomizes sophistication, making it an ideal choice for infusing an extravagant ambiance into any room. 

At Arrant Luxury, explore our extensive collection featuring exquisite wool and silk rugs that cater to diverse tastes.

Navigate through our online oriental hand-knotted silk rug collection or reach out for personalized advice on selecting the perfect traditional rug for your space.


Where are silkworms found?

Silkworms are harvested across many regions now but originate to the countries of India, South America, China and Africa.

How is the silk fiber developed for luxury Persian silk rugs?

Silkworm cocoons are boiled in water or steamed, killing the silkworm which eventually dislodges it from the cocoon. The cocoon is used to make silk threads.

What country is the largest manufacturer of luxury silk material?

China is the largest manufacturer of silk.