Silk reflects light and colour better than any other natural fibre. That is why the material is also called “le noble fil” or “the queen of fibres.” The manufacture of grey goods, thread, and textiles from silk requires great expertise. Silk has been processed in Zurich since the Middle Ages. In the 19th century the silk industry rose to become one of Switzerland’s most important commercial sectors.


The silk moth, Latin Bombyx mori, originates from China and is a domestic animal. Without human help it could not survive in the wild. The freshly hatched caterpillars must be fed on cut mulberry tree leaves as the young animals are unable to eat whole leaves unaided.

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Silk Thread

In order to produce raw silk cocoons are placed in a water bath. Using small brushes, the ends of the threads from several cocoons are grasped simultaneously and carefully wound. During the unwinding seven to eight silk threads, which are each several hundred meters long, are processed to form raw silk, the so-called Grège.  

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Silk Textiles

Since antiquity, shiny silk fabrics in all patterns and colours have been very popular as luxury goods. They arrived in the West from China along the Silk Road where they found thankful buyers amongst the elite of the Persian and Roman empires.

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