Fancy a little sparkle in your knitting? The other day I came across an interesting article in the 14 September edition of Straight Furrow, New Zealand’s Rural Weekly.
Sandra Finnie reported that a team at the Victoria University, New Zealand have discovered a process to use nontechnology to refine gold and silver on a molecular scale and then impregnate the metal particles into wool. According to the article, when in micro form, the light reflecting properties of the gold and silver particles show up in the wool as a range of stable, colourfast colours. The resulting colours range from green, blue, pink, purple, peach, yellow and grey. The wool fibre becomes colourfast, rub-fast and wash-fast.
Fascinating! I wouldn’t have thought you could get such a range of colour just from gold and silver. From what I could see of the photo of the wool, it appears to be just like any other yarn (in terms of look and feel). Just in case you’re wondering.
I can see quite a demand for this in places like China and India, in particular, where gold and silver are traditionally highly valued for their decorative effect in fabrics.
I was interested to see that the research was largely funded by the World Gold Council, London and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, with some support from the merino industry and Wool Partners International.
Professor Jim Johnston from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University is seeking NZ$2 million in funding to take this research to the next level of manufacturing the fabrics and textiles and market them overseas. Interested investors are invited to contact Prof. Johnston a line at jim DOT johnston AT vuw.ac.nz.
Now, if only someone would also spin a bit of this into yarn for knitters. Would that be great!?