Spider Silk

Last Saturday, I made a trip to the Victoria and Albert museum. My first trip there! (Which is very negligent considering how long I’ve lived in England and near London, but hey ho).

I plan on making many return trips as the museum is huge and has an amazing collection.

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I only got to see one exhibit that day as I was due to be some where else. But I made a special trip to see the Golden Spider Silk, because there’s really nothing else like it in the world.

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Every fiber of that cape is made from the silk drawn from the Golden Orb Spider. Being on less than friendly terms with spiders, the videos of how they did it made me squeamish, but it didn’t lessen my amazement at the quality of the fiber or the end result. The silk actually comes out that golden colour!

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There was a cape and a shawl and they took years to make. I would have liked to have known how much they estimate their worth, but being one of a kind, I imagine it’s hard to put a market value on them.

These items were made as part of a revival of the spider silk industry. It was at its height in the 1800s. One of the books on display even said there was a bedroom where all the bed hangings were made of this stuff. Considering how long it took to make a cape and shawl, that’s amazing affluence.

I highly recommend popping into see them. They are quite a site to behold.

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Written by Pilbeam