There are two kinds of saffron threads. There are the small “straw” threads and the huge “chord” threads.
Straw thread is a thin, fibrous, unadorned strip of saffron. It has been dried and polished. The thread is about one millimetre or less in length.
Chord, on the other hand, is a fine, heavy, unadorned strip of saffron. It has both a bright red hue and has all the threads removed. This is about two to one millimeter long.
Is the length of a thread measured on the side of the bead on which the thread is going to be formed? For example, if you had a bead of saffron and the thread was going inside it, you could measure the length of the thread and it would be two and a half millimetres. When it’s all said and done, however, the number of threads per gram is only two. You need to work out how many threads are in the bead and then determine their weight.
What’s the relationship between saffron thread weight and the beads’ weight?
The weight of one thread is equal to the weight of its “luminosity” (bright, red colour and thread). The lighter the thread, the greater the luminosity. To obtain a light yellow colour, for example, a saffron bead would need an average weight of 2.4 grams. By contrast, the weight of a thread of saffron of 3 or 5 per cent strength would be half that of a thread of 3 per cent strength. So, a saffron bead’s luminosity can be only as high as 3 per cent! To obtain a strong light yellow colour like that, a good quantity of threads would need to be used for the bead.
How long does a thread go through the beads? One to two centimetres, perhaps, with the smaller beads being only slightly thicker at the end? If the thread is longer than 2 centimetres or less than 1 centimetre, then the bead has to be re-milled. So, the thread of saffron has to be re-milled every 500 or 600 beads. That is a lot of time when you really want to use the saffron thread.
When are saffron threads re-milled? About once per year to add the lightness again. It goes back into the beads
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