Mulberry Silk: The King
A major portion of the silk produced worldwide comes from this variety. Mulberry comes from silkworm which breeds on the leaves of mulberry plants. In India major mulberry silk production comes from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir, almost 90% of the mulberry silk comes from these regions. Mulberry silk is unique and special because it is the highest quality silk available for purchase. It is more refined than other types of silk. Products made from 100% Mulberry silk are among the most durable and produce the most luxurious silk goods. Mulberry silk contains a natural protein called sericin that reduces the possibility of an allergic reaction hence forming a healthy and safe choice for those with allergies.
Tasar (Tussah) is copperish colour, coarse silk mainly used for furnishings and interiors. It is less lustrous than mulberry silk but has its own feel and appeal. Tasar silk is generated by the silkworm, Antheraea mylitta which mainly thrive on the food plants Asan and Arjun. The rearings are conducted in nature on the trees in the open. In India, tasar silk is mainly produced in the states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa, besides Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Tasar culture is the mainstay of many a tribal community in India..
This golden yellow colour silk is prerogative of India and the pride of Assam state. It is obtained from the semi-domesticated multivoltine silkworm, Antheraea assamensis. These silkworms feed on the aromatic leaves of Som and Soalu plants and are reared on trees similar to that of tasar. Muga culture is specific to the state of Assam and an integral part of the tradition and culture of that state. The muga silk, an high-value product is used in products like sarees, mekhalas, chaddars, etc.
Also known as Endi or Errandi, Eri is a multivoltine silk spun from open-ended cocoons, unlike other varieties of silk. Eri silk is the product of the domesticated silkworm, Philosamia ricini that feeds mainly on castor leaves. Ericulture is a household activity practised mainly for protein-rich pupae, a delicacy for the trial. Resultantly, the eri cocoons are open-mouthed and are spun. The silk is used indigenously for preparation of chaddars (wraps) for own use by these tribals. In India, this culture is practised mainly in the north-eastern states and Assam. It is also found in Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa.