The Ancient Chinese Discovery of Silk – Fit for an Emperor

by | Silk | 0 comments

The famous Chinese philosopher and politician, Confucius, tells us the myth and legend of the discovery of Silk.

It has been said that the Chinese Empress, Leizu was enjoying a cup of tea with friends in her garden under a Mulberry tree when suddenly, a silk cocoon accidentally fell inside her cup. The boiling tea softened the silk and loosed the natural glue that holds the cocoon together.  The empress quickly removed the cocoon and as she did it began to unravel. She soon realized it was one single thread. She was amazed by this and decided to try and weave other pieces of these threads together to create a piece of fabric.

After seeing the remarkable fabric this created, she showed her husband Emperor Huangdi. He too was amazed and encouraged her to carefully examine and study the life of a silkworm further. She found it fascinating the way in which the silkworm went about creating this precious cocoon.

After much learning, the Empress persuaded her husband to gift her a grove of Mulberry trees to begin farming silkworms (which is now called Sericulture)

She slowly began developing ways to cultivate an environment that was best suited to farm silkworms so that they produce best quality cocoons. It is said The Empress invented the silk reel, an implement use to combine several silk threads together. She also invented the silk loom used to weave silk together.

In Ancient China silk farming was strictly done by women only. They were responsible for the whole process. Nurturing the silkworms, harvesting the cocoons, and weaving the silk thread into fabric.

It of course is uncertain if this legend is true, however the Empress  Leizu is referred to the “Goddess of the Silkworm and Sericulture”  in Chinese mythology.

Traditionally Silk was reserved only for Emperors, and at certain times throughout history was considered more valuable than gold.

What is inside your duvet?


Silk duvet inners are made using pure 100% silk batting in different togs to create the ideal weight and warmth for the season or climate.

Silk batting is identifiable by the sheen on the silk.

In South Africa in particular, we use 3.2 tog for summer duvets and 6.4 tog for winter duvets.

Custom tog silk duvets can be ordered and manufactured by special request. The lowest tog is 2 tog which is required for full coverage.


Polysester is the material used to create hollow fibre duvet filling. It essenially tries to immitate silk but apart from looking similar to silk in some respects, it does not have the same temperature regulation capabilities or the longevity.

Hollow fibre is much cheaper than silk or any of the feather fillings. 

Hollow fibre is light, is springy to the touch and retains it’s puffiness fairly well. It is not possible to reinvigorate hollow fibre like Silk duvet inners. 


Feather filling, including various grades of duck down are the most common and popular fillings found as duvet fillings around the world.

Goose and duck down have very good thermal properties, helping to regulate temperature and as with Silk, the tog of the duvet determines what climate it is ideal for.

The tog of top quality duck/goose down duvet inners require less feather material to achieve the same tog rating. 

What is a tog rating

The tog rating is a measure of the warmth of a duvet. It indicates the ability of the duvet to trap and retain heat and and when combined with the ability of the filling materials heat regulation properties, means, the higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet.

The tog rating system provides a standardized way to communicate the thermal insulation of a duvet. Here’s a general guide to tog ratings and their corresponding warmth levels:

2.0 to 6.4 Tog

These are lightweight duvets suitable for warmer weather or for people who prefer a cooler sleep environment. Our Silk Duvets are made in 2 different togs, 3.2 tog for summer and 6.4 tog for spring/winter.

At we manufacture to order and are able to customize any duvet to the tog rating you require.

Silk Duvet Inner 3.2 Tog

Silk Duvet Inner 6.4 Tog

6.4 to 10.5 Tog

These are medium-weight duvets, suitable for cooler nights or for use in bedrooms with average temperatures.

12 to 13.5 Tog

These are heavyweight duvets designed for colder seasons or for individuals who tend to get cold during the night.

Over 13.5 Tog

These are extremely warm duvets, ideal for very cold climates or for individuals who are particularly sensitive to cold.

It’s important to note that personal preferences and individual factors, such as room temperature and personal body warmth, also play a role in choosing the right tog rating. Some people may find a lower tog rating sufficient even in colder weather if they tend to sleep warmly, while others may need a higher tog rating for extra insulation.

It’s a good idea to consider the tog rating in conjunction with the material and construction of the duvet to ensure the desired level of comfort. Additionally, some duvets come with options for different tog ratings on each side, allowing users to adapt to changing seasons or personal preferences.

In the case of silk tog ratings, it is possible to tie tie two of the summer duvets (3.2 tog rating) together to create a Spring Dub=vet. (6.4 tog rating)