A couple of days ago I bumped into a short video, while browsing the internet. I was awed by what I saw and I was left wondering how I had never heard about this before.
After that, I went searching, and here is some of what I’ve discovered.
“[This] ancient thread, known as byssus, […] is mentioned on the Rosetta stone and said to have been found in the tombs of pharaohs.
[…] It was the finest fabric known to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and one of its remarkable properties is the way it shines when exposed to the sun, once it has been treated with lemon juice and spices.
[…] The raw material comes from the glistening aquamarine waters that surround the island. Every spring [Chiara] Vigo goes diving to cut the solidified saliva of a large clam, known in Latin as Pinna Nobilis.
She does it early in the morning, to avoid attracting too much attention, and is accompanied by members of the Italian coastguard – this is a protected species. It takes 300 or 400 dives to gather 200g of material.” (Source)
Chiara Vigo is thought to be the only person alive, who still knows how to harvest, spin and weave this precious fiber. This is truly a craft on the verge of extinction.
There’s not much to say about it, except how saddening it is to see how much is being lost in terms of traditions and culture. And, in this case, also in terms of biodiversity.
If this is also something new to you, here are some resources to learn more.
Talk to you soon!