Silk Persian Rugs What You Should Know
Some silk rug dealers neglect to tell you that the silk Persian rugs they're selling to you are comprised of artificial silk. This problem happens mostly with carpets coming from those countries that weave both artificial and real silk Persian rugs (IE: Turkey, India, and sometimes Pakistan), but artificial silk rugs are never woven in Iran, and you never find such a thing as a "Persian Artificial Silk Rug".
Natural, real oriental silk carpet is a fibrous protein made up of a number of amino acids. It is produced from the cocoon of the silk worm. To harvest the silk, the cocoons are heated, or boiled to kill the silk worms. Then they're unwound into single fibers, which are then spun into thread or silk yarns.
When dyed, silk fibers are saturated with rich colors, and have a distinctive, almost translucent luster. Silk is extremely high in tensile strength, exceeding that of nylon. It has been estimated that if a single silk fiber with a diameter of a pencil could be produced, the fiber could lift a 747 aircraft.
Unfortunately, there are transient distributors of low-integrity who sell artificial silk Persian rugs for the same price as real Persian silk rugs. Artificial silk is easily made of mercerized cotton, or rayon fibers. It does not come from the cocoon of a silk worm. Cotton fibers are mercerized by being stretched under controlled tension, at room temperature, while being treated with a caustic soda solution. This causes the fiber to swell, and makes it much more lustrous and reflective. Rayon is made almost entirely of pure cellulose.
It is produced by first dissolving cellulose to a thick yellow liquid, called viscose. The viscose is extruded through tiny holes into a chemical bath that makes long filaments that are spun into thread or yarn. Artificial Persian silk carpet is not a long lasting quality fabric, and loses its lustrous shine quickly. Its durability is less than that of wool.