Man, this Christmas turned out to be a lonely one. All but two friends went out of town to enjoy time away from this horrible snow-filled winter and I couldn’t even get those two leftovers (no offense) to come to my place to chat. I guess they left me with no choice but to go out of town as well. Anyway, I stayed at a friend’s place in Toronto for a few days but I’m BACK! Sorry to have kept you all waiting.
Anyway, I remembered what I missed last time (and why I missed it)! There’s a simple test you can do on silk to test its authenticity, but it has a small drawback that the silk will get destroyed in the process, so it’s probably not very practical to use this method on anything you just bought or plan to use for a while (which is why I forgot about it – it was intended). This is called the burn test, and basically, all you have to do is – you guessed it – burn the silk (see why it was destructive?).
Anyways, when you burn the silk, there are a few things you should pay attention to as they will tell you about the authenticity of the silk. First of all, remember what I said about the nature of silk before? It is mostly protein and very similar to human hair, so when you burn silk, the smell is just like burning hair. Not the most pleasant smell I know, but it means you are burning protein, instead of some fake silk made from petroleum. The second point you should notice is that, real silk fibers should be resistant to ignition, and very soon after you remove the silk from the flame, it will self-extinguish. This is because protein tends to resist oxidation which is what burning is doing. Polyester and other petro-based materials, on the other hand, burns persistently. The third and last point to pay attention to is what the ash looks like. Real silk leaves ashes that are crisp/brittle and crumbles to dust easily when touched, whereas fake silk leave ashes that are sticky and usually not flaky at all.
Here is a picture that shows you what the flame and ashes look like when you burn a piece of real silk vs a piece of fake silk.
And that was that. With that out of my mind, there are two more topics to discuss before I can end this series, and they are *drumroll* the price guide for silk shopping, and how to care for your silk. Since I still need to do some more research for a comprehensive price guide, the next topic I will cover is how to properly care for your silk. Stay tuned!