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Egyptian Cotton Info

About Egyptian Cotton, courtesy of St. Geneve

The correct definition of this cotton is that it is a particular variety of cotton noted for its very long and strong fibers. Just as tomatoes come in different varieties such as cherry and beefsteak, cotton also comes in many different specific varieties. Some are very inexpensive, and some, like true Egyptian cotton, are expensive.

As with anything in this world, if you educate yourself you will make informed decisions. The most uninformed decision is one based solely on price. This is usually because you end up paying too much because the article does not perform, and you have to go through the whole process all over again.

In the world marketplace, many cheap cottons are also being referred to as "Egyptian Cotton". If an Egyptian Cotton article seems to be a very low price, it is probably not genuine. There are three things to be aware of when you are purchasing Egyptian cotton linens. First of all, there are the contents - Some fabrics are labeled as Egyptian cotton when in fact they have a tiny percentage of genuine Egyptian cotton ~ say 5% or so. Second of all, the definition of "Egyptian Cotton" in some dictionaries is simply any finely woven cotton ~ this does rather leave the door open. Lastly, cotton grown in the country of Egypt may sound expensive and high in quality, but can be any variety. Since American Upland cottons (which are a much shorter fiber) now comprise 90% of the world's crop, it is a safe assertion that this might be in the package

Referring to the image on the right, the ivory colored sheet on the right sells for about four times as much money as the copper colored one on the left. They are both 300 Thread Count fabrics, both feel very nice and soft to the touch, and they are both labeled as being Egyptian cotton. You cannot normally see the difference, so the customer is left wondering why they should pay the higher price.

If you compare these same fabrics magnified many times, you can now see the difference. There is an enormous difference in the quality of these two fabrics. The genuine Egyptian cotton has a very smooth surface, with only an occasional tiny fiber raised from the surface. The copper colored fabric has many fiber ends standing up. It is obviously made from an inexpensive, short staple cotton, because of this "furring".

The long fibers in Egyptian cotton have a lot more surface and length to "grab" each other, with a lot fewer ends to lift out of the thread. This makes the thread much stronger, and the resulting fabric much smoother and more resistant to pilling.

The long fiber of the Egyptian cotton means that there are very few breaks between the fibers when twisted into a thread. However the short fibers of cheap cotton mean that there are many breaks. There are a lot more fiber ends and these show up on the surface.

The short fibers in cheap cottons mean the thread will be much weaker, with a lot more ends to lift out of the thread. The resulting fabric will wear out much faster, and be far more likely to pill.

There are many other factors that will affect the quality of the fabric. These factors include: the way the thread is spun, the way it is woven, and the way it is dyed and finished. There are many technical variances. There are good methods, and there are cheap methods. The good methods result in fabrics that will remain soft, lustrous, and a pleasure to own. The cheap methods result in fabrics that are cheap, that will pill quickly, and wear out too soon. They are not a pleasure to own.

Just like Egyptian cotton is a high quality species of cotton, GIZA is one of the highest qualities of all the varieties of Egyptian cottons. Most of St.Geneve bed linens are made of GIZA Egyptian cotton. It is grown in Egypt and Turkey as well as a few other countries where conditions have to be ideal. Because the fibers are so long, it actually has to be hand harvested in order to keep the fibers intact. Machine harvesting damages the strands. 

GIZA is the Egyptian cotton of choice for very high quality cotton goods. It is found in the very best bed linens and in the very best towels. It is also used for the highest qualities of embroidery thread.

As with anything in this world, if you educate yourself you will make informed decisions. The most uninformed decision is one based solely on price. This is usually because you end up paying too much because the article does not perform, and you have to go through the whole process all over again.


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