True luxury has only one color – GOLD. Thanks to a new coating process developed by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), a nanometer-thin layer of pure gold now lends ties and pocket handkerchiefs that authentic gold sheen.
After putting in close to 10 years of research and experimentation, the team at EMPA research institute have finally created the fabric with the finest and thinnest threads of silk, and coated that with pure gold, in order to create the actual golden fabric which we might earlier just fantasized about. The specialized device, which emanates a purplish glow when in operation, bombards a chunk of gold with a stream of fast-moving argon ions, which dislodges individual metal atoms. The now gold-laden gas jet is directed at a silk thread which gets coated with a thin, nanometer or so layer of the metal as it’s slowly pulled through the ion (plasma) stream. The EMPA team claims this is the world’s first textile to sport gold that won’t come off in the weaving and washing process.
Currently the production of the gold plated cloth has been limited, hence only select set of products have been made. This includes bow ties, pocket handkerchiefs, and full length ties.The full length tie comes with a price tag of $8,500 a piece. One of the first customers for the gold fiber was Weisbrod-Zürrer AG, a spinning mill which specializes in exclusive decorative textiles, ties and accessories and which has also partnered Empa projects in the past.
The St.Gallen embroidery Jakob Schlaepfer will use the high-tech golden thread in her haute couture collection winter 2012/13.
There is little chance that these exclusive gold ties will become mass produced fashion accessories in the near future, even at full capacity production is limited to a maximum of 600 pieces annually for the world market.