Switzerland produces its own silk
For the first time in 100 years, silk is being produced in Switzerland. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
There are records of silk being made in Zurich as far back as the Middle Ages, and a number of workshops sprang up all around the country, but in 1914 the last silk factory was closed in Ticino.
In 2009 a group of innovative farmers got together with the aim of promoting the breeding of silkworms and reintroducing the manufacture of silk products.
Led by Ueli Ramseier, a farmer and textile engineer from canton Bern, they set up the Swiss Silk Association.
So far the association has produced 20 kilograms – enough to make 150 ties and 30 scarves, which are being sold under the label `Weisbrod’.
Breeding silkworms is quite challenging. The insects only thrive in the right climate.
The creatures mate quickly after emerging from their chrysalis, and die a day or so after laying their eggs. There are 12 silkworm breeders in Switzerland.