About Silk

Silk is both a fiber and a fabric. The fiber is made by the silkworm when it spins its coccoon for its transition to a moth (Bombyx mori). During the coccoon stage, silk-makers will unravel the silk, spin it and transform it into thread that can be turned into a variety of fabrics. This is, unfortunately, fatal for the silkworm. However, enough silkworms are allowed to mature to continue the species which is now completely dependent on humans for survival.
Other insects also produce silk, but only the fiber from the silkworm moth has been able to be harnassed to make fabric. Scientists are making headway in research on creating spider silk in the laboratory; it is 10 times stronger than kevlar and thus would be a valuable textile for military and other uses.

However, it is silk from the silkworm that made the Silk Road famous. Silk has a lustrous, almost shimmery finish. This is because the fiber is triangular in shape like a prism and refracts light at different angles; this gives silk its characteristic and prized sheen.