The Window Covering Lady
The Window Covering Lady
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Dupioni Silk Curtains

Dupioni silk curtains can be a shimmering, silky curtain or a rough, elegant curtain, depending on what you find that's called dupioni. The term, and thus the fabric, is so undefined and so controversial that it's not clear exactly what it is. But silk is a wonderful fabric, and with lining can make beautiful curtains.

Silk curtains are the ultimate in luxury. There are different grades of silk, and dupioni silk is one of the lowest or the highest, depending on who you ask. Some people swear that dupioni silk curtains are not made with silk at all, but with synthetic fibers such as polyester. That's how confusing dupioni silk curtains can be!

The word "dupioni" itself comes in different spellings including douppioni, doupioni, doppione, dupioni, and dupione. It is pronounced "dew-pee-OWN-ee" and is thought to be of Italian origin. The Italian word "doppione" means "duplicate", and that is plausibly close to dupioni silk's nature.

To be dupioni silk, cloth must be woven from silk fibers taken from two different types of wild silk moth cocoons, according to fashionistas. Hardcore dupioni silk purists insist that only silk from two cocoons that became entangled at the time they were woven by caterpillars can be called dupione silk. But these definitions of dupioni silk do not jibe with the facts of the market place.

Dupione silk is one of the cheapest and most plentiful types of silk. A moment's thought will tell you that wild silk must be more expensive than farm-raised silk, because workers must forage in the woods for wild silk cocoons. Also, it is more trouble to raise and weave together two different types of silk, so silk cloth produced that way must be more expensive. Two different types of silk entangled in the same "duplicate" cocoon is the most uncommon thing of all, so cloth made from that marvel cannot be cheap or plentiful. It is possible that dupione silk once was such a rare and costly material, but today the term has been redefined to mean something cheaper and more common.

Modern dupione silk is often woven from broken, coarse cocoons the leftovers and discards of the silk industry. The use of such odds and ends yields a silk of uneven and multi-colored texture. The fashion industry has given the high-falutin' name "dupione" to this basest of all silk cloths. Marketers can get away with such a trick because most people have never seen wild silk, and it’s doubtful that anyone has ever seen a bolt of cloth woven entirely from entangled "duplicate" cocoons. Who's to say that silk obviously woven from vastly different cocoons is not rare and precious dupione silk?

The Thai people say it, for one. In Thailand, where much silk is produced, so-called dupione silk is not called dupione or even "raw silk" or "rough silk". It is simply and honestly referred to as "not smooth" silk.

The word "dupione" has even been co-opted by the synthetic fabrics industry, where some insist that any rough-textured cloth made from uneven polyster threads should be called "dupione".

Despite the fall of dupione silk from mythical treasure to commonplace ersatz, it cannot be denied that dupione silk curtains have an interesting texture and shimmering radiance of colors. Dupione silk curtains can be a delightful addition to your home decor. Just don't let the name or the legends fool you into paying too much for it.

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