Sea Silk

Learn about rare sea silk. What is sea silk, how is it made, and what is it used for. For more info please click:

Sea silk is a fabric that is produced from the byssus filaments of mollusks that allow them to attach themselves to the seafloor. These filaments are most commonly harvested from the Pinna nobilis (shell is pictured at the left) mollusk found in the Mediterranean area.

The production of sea silk dates back many years and has been found in Egyptian burial sites. This form of silk was and remains popular due to its extremely light weight, softness and insulative properties. These properties are a direct result of the extremely tight weave that can be created due to the fineness of the filaments. In fact sea silk can be woven tighter than traditional silk resulting in all the same properties of silk but on a more impressive scale.

Sea silk is produced by harvesting the byssus filaments, spinning them into a thread, treating the thread with lemon juice and weaving it into a cloth. The lemon juice gives sea silk its distinctive golden color as a result of chemical interactions; thus the color never fades.

Today sea silk is still popular though much more difficult to come by due to the difficulty of harvesting byssus filaments. Overfishing and global pollution has caused a sharp decline in Pinna nobilis populations; thus the raw material for sea silk is rarely harvested.