Silk is a naturally occurring raw material used for various artworks and clothing application and this concept dates back to the ancient times. Some of the past examples of fashion and science applications that involved the use of silk can be found as artifacts in museums and other preservation points. Those who hare interests in history of culture and fashion may find it hard to try and assign exact specific dates for these silk clothing and tapestries. Ancient silk artifacts in these museums can be found well preserved and kept for reference purposes but the determination of their age calls for specific methods.
There are several ways of determination of age and dates for historical samples with some old ways like carbon dating becoming redundant and inaccurate. This only leaves the research archeologist with the option of making guesswork and approximation. A new version of test has however been invented to solve this dating puzzle for silk artifacts in fashion and science. This new chemical technique is made a success courtesy of Mehdi Moini who is a chemist by profession at Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute. Since his arrival at the museum in the year 2010, this scientist has gained access to the silk treasures in the Maryland based institution.
Moini had previously been concentrating on studies that involved protein decay analysis. Materials that are the building blocks for protein can be monitored and their decay rates are established. This can be narrowed down to hourly rate. Silk is a protein derivative which translates to this study being a lime light to the silk date puzzle. The findings could still not be compounded because of a technical problem that called for programming of the timer. Equipment in form of a watch was to be used to harmonize the rates of decay with those timer units in the watch. Dating silk was then ultimately made possible by giving exact timings of the age when Moini discovered that amino acids which make up the protein could be flip monitored. It was a good link for both fashion and science applications.
The use of mass spectrometry and electrophoresis concepts was employed to harmonize these two remote research ideas. The resultant image could then be observed under a microscope to find a lasting solution to the problem of dating silk. This discovery prompted positive reaction form the top administration of the Smithsonian museum led by the curators to analyze all the silk tapestries. Several ancient silk samples were verified in dating from China, France, and the United States among other places since it was proved to be accurate.
Todd Blackledge, a biologist from Ohio based university of Akron acknowledged Moini’s works as one of the most significant describing it as “implications beyond identifying forgeries,”. The biologist is working on studies of the evolution and mechanics of silk with a long focus of the changes that are to be expected form this biological material. The changes that the silk will register as time goes by are the centre stage of his interest and Moini has helped his quest a great deal. This silk dating technique is just the appropriate one in this context.