In the world marketplace, many cheap types of cotton are also being referred to as “Egyptian Cotton”. If an Egyptian cotton product seems to be a very low price, it is probably not genuine. There are three things to be aware of when you are purchasing Egyptian cotton table cloths. First the contents, some fabrics are labeled as Egyptian cotton when in fact they only contain a tiny percentage of genuine Egyptian cotton ~ 5% or so. Second, the definition of “Egyptian Cotton”, in some dictionaries it is simply described as any finely woven cotton. Third, cotton grown in the country of Egypt may sound expensive and high in quality, but can be any variety. Since American Upland cottons (which are a much shorter fiber) now comprise 90% of the world’s crop, it is a safe assertion that this might be what is in the package.
For example, two sheets, both 300 Thread Count fabrics, both feel very nice and soft to the touch, and they are both labeled as being Egyptian cotton. You can’t see the difference, so why pay a higher price? If you compare these same sheets magnified many times, you can see the difference. Genuine Egyptian cotton has a very smooth surface, with only an occasional tiny fiber raised from the surface. The cheaper cotton fabric has many fiber ends standing up and is made from short staple cotton. The long fibers in Egyptian cotton have a lot more surface and length to “grab” each other, with a lot fewer ends to lift out of the thread. This makes the thread much stronger, and the resulting fabric much smoother and resistant to pilling.
The long fiber of the Egyptian cotton means that there are very few breaks between the fibers when twisted into a thread. However the short fibers of cheap cotton mean that there are many breaks. The short fibers in cheap cottons mean the thread will be much weaker, with a lot more ends to lift out of the thread. The resulting fabric will wear out much faster, and be far more likely to pill.
There are many other factors that will affect the quality of the fabric. Such as the way the thread is spun, the way it is woven, and the way it is dyed and finished. There are many technical variances. There are good methods, and there are cheep methods. The good methods result in fabrics that will remain soft, lustrous and be a pleasure to own. The cheap methods result in fabrics that are cheap, that will pill quickly, and wear out too soon.
Just like Egyptian cotton is a high quality species of cotton, GIZA is one of the highest qualities of all the varieties of Egyptian cottons. It is grown in Egypt and Turkey as well as a few other countries where conditions have to be ideal. Because the fibers are so long, it actually has to be hand harvested in order to keep the fibers intact. Machine harvesting damages the strands.
GIZA is the Egyptian cotton of choice for very high quality cotton goods. It is found in the very best table cloths and in the very best towels. It is also used for the highest qualities of embroidery thread.