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Silk is often rightly called the queen of textile fibers and a wonder of nature. No other natural textile raw material has so many qualities. Silk is fine, shiny and meets the highest physiological requirements for clothing. Silk textiles create a pleasant climate in which people feel good. No other textile fiber combines fashionable and noble aspects so well with exceptional wearing comfort.



The birthplace of silk is China, where the silk moth Bombyx mori has been at home for around 5,000 years.

For 3,000 years the Chinese guarded the art of silk making like a state secret. It was forbidden under the death penalty to bring cocoons and eggs across the border. For many centuries, silk fabrics could only be found in China.


Around 200 BC Despite the ban, sericulture found its way to Korea, Japan, India and Persia. In the 4th century AD silk finally came to Central Asia by caravans and in 552 to Byzantium, where the most important silk market was established for a very long time.

Silk in Europe

Around the 9th century, the knowledge of silk farming was brought to Sicily and Spain by the Arabs. Extensive mulberry plantations were established in Lombardy around AD 1,400, and silk farming reached its peak there in the 19th century.


From there the silk spread via the Gotthard to Lake Vierwaltstättersee, where Schappeseide was first processed in Gersau in 1730.


The mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori) belongs to the genus of the scallop

The butterfly hatches out of the cocoon in early summer. Shortly thereafter, the mating takes place and then the female lays up to 400 eggs the size of the head of a pin.


Development in the egg takes 12 days. Then caterpillars 3 mm long hatch. You develop a great appetite for mulberry leaves. A fully grown caterpillar reaches 9 cm in length after molting four times and has a weight of 4 grams.


After 33 days of development, the adult caterpillar begins to weave into a cocoon. It secretes a thin silk thread (fibroin) from its spinneret. To fix it, it surrounds it with silk glue (sericin). During 3 days and 3 nights she wraps around 3000 m of silk thread.

A cocoon weighs depending on the breed and rearing conditions

1.5 to 2.5 gr.


If the cocoons are used to obtain raw silk and not for breeding, the butterfly must be prevented from hatching. Openwork cocoons can no longer be used for raw silk. The cocoons are first softened in hot water and the outer end of the thread is loosened and unwound with brushes. About a third of the 3,000 m long thread can be obtained as raw silk. Seven to eight cocoon threads are combined into grège during the so-called decoiling process.

You need 5-10 kg of cocoons to get 1 kg of raw silk.


The leftovers from the raw silk processing are first boiled (deburred) in a large vat at over 90 degrees Celsius with hot soapy water. The silk glue (sericin) is almost completely removed and up to 40% of the weight is lost. What remains is a fine, soft and white shimmering fiber material, which is processed into slivers ready for spinning by drying, tapping, opening and combing. (1).gif


Due to the precious material, all waste resulting from the extraction and processing of the raw silk is collected and processed as Schappeseide.

Defective and broken cocoons, the outer and inner cocoon layers are used to produce the silk sliver.

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