One region of India that is especially noted for its exceptional and unique silks is the far northeastern state of Assam. Assam produces three different types of silk that are collectively known as Assam silk but which vary greatly in appearance. The Assam silks are Muga, Eri and Pat.
1. Muga Silk is renowned for its glossy fine texture, durability and natural golden amber glow. Reputed to be the second most costly fabric after Pashmina, Muga silk looks like spun gold and for 600 years only the royal families of Assam where allowed to wear muga silks. The golden hue increases with time and washing. Muga silk is naturally stain-resistant and is never bleached or dyed. Muga silk fabric is naturally organic and untouched by chemicals, but it is not a “peace” or “vegetarian” silk because the silkworm is killed before it can emerge from the cocoon.
2. Eri Silk is a fine silk that is almost as white in color as the Bombyx mori silks. Even though Eri is spun from the cocoons of domesticated silkworms, it is a “peace silk” because the Antherea assamensis silk caterpillars are not destroyed in the cocoon but are allowed to emerge as moths and live a full lifecycle. Because the Eri silk fibers are more uneven and the cocoons are damaged when the moth emerges, Eri silk is spun rather than reeled. Eri silk has the look of wool mixed with cotton but the feel and softness of silk. Muga and Eri silks are from silkworms that are only found in the Indian state of Assam.
3. Pat Silk or Mulberry silk of Assam is a variety of domestic silk in Assam, India. It is usually brilliant white or off-white in colour. Its cloth can dry in shadow. The larvae of the Pat Silkworm’s preferred food is nuni (white Mulberry plant: Morus alba) leaves. The silk has a natural white tint and is known for its durability and glossy texture. Pat silk, like other Assam silks, is used in products like mekhelas, chadars and other textiles