Testing The Silk Quality & Purity

The introduction of silk came in the 4th millennium BC. But in India, it was introduced by the Mysore “Tippu Sultan”. In 1785 he sent people to Bengal to learn sericulture and to establish the same in his Mysore Kingdom. Even now Pochampally Ikkat silk sarees fiber is bought from Bangalore.

Silk cloth is considered as best of all textiles. Its feel, luster, softness, and timeless elegance make it the best. But in the market, there are 4 types of silks. But it is tough to identify whether the silk you’re buying is genuine or not until you are the weaver. Mostly impure silk is mixed with polyester. Here are some quick and effective methods that helps you to understand the silk quality & purity.

Burning The Silk

The burn test is quick, simple, reliable method to determine the quality of silk. Here are simple steps to perform burn method.

  1. Take a small piece of silk fabric.
  2. Hold the fabric and light it with a flame.
  3. If it smells like burnt hair because it’s a protein fiber, much like your hair. The ash should be black, crispy, and can be easily crushed into a powdery ash. Then it is pure silk.
  4. If it smells like burning plastic and hard residue, Then it is impure silk.

Silk Touch and Feel

This is not an easy way to test the silk quality. Only people who closely work with silk material can understand the touch and feel of real silk.

  • Rub the silk fabric between your fingers. If it warms up, Then it is pure silk. If it stays cool then it is synthetic silk.
  • Pure silk, meticulously crafted on a weaver’s handloom, often exhibits small irregularities between the fibers, reflecting its authentic, handcrafted nature. In contrast, machine-made fabric is uniformly consistent. Additionally, original silk fibers are delicate and cannot be effectively woven by machines. By touching the fabric, you can easily distinguish between the two, appreciating the unique character of handwoven silk.

Sheen Look

Silk’s natural sheen is another way to test. When you move pure silk under light, it changes color slightly and has a natural, soft glow. Synthetic fibers often have a white, shiny glare and don’t change color subtly.

Ring Test

Pure silk can be pulled through a ring smoothly and quickly because of its fine, smooth nature. Whereas Synthetic fabric bunches up or stops.

  1. Find a smooth ring and a small piece of silk fabric.
  2. Pull the fabric through the ring gently. Check the friction between the ring and the fabric.


Pure silk comes at a high price as it is made using handloom and takes time to make it. Whereas impure silk comes at less cost.

Chemical Test

Take a chemical detergent with a chlorine base (like some household cleaners). Then soak a piece of silk fabric in the solution. Pure silk will dissolve, showing it reacts to the strong oxidant because of its protein structure. Impure silk will not dissolve.

Basically silk becomes impure by mixing it with polyester material. Polyester is easily available, cost-effective, unsustainable, and contains carbon elements, which is not preferred over our skin. So choose your silk fabric carefully. We at JRS Handlooms always offer our customers pure silk Pochampally sarees to our customers.


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