• Yarn/Fiber

Unraveling the World of Ultra-Long Cotton: Spotlight on Sea Island Cotton and its Royal Connection

There are various types of cotton grown around the world, and one particular type I will focus on is Sea Island cotton.

Super Long Cptton and Its Global Varieties

Sea Island cotton is among the eight types of ultra-long cotton found globally. Each type has distinct characteristics, value, and a unique name. Here are some examples:

  1. Supima cotton: grown in America
  2. Giza cotton: cultivated in Egypt
  3. Turfan cotton: found in China
  4. Pima cotton: produced in Peru
  5. Soviet long fiber cotton: formerly grown in the Soviet Union
  6. Suvin cotton: grown in India
  7. Baccarat cotton: cultivated in Sudan

What is Sea Island Cotton?

Sea Island cotton stands out with its exceptionally long fiber length, making it one of the longest among the ultra-long cotton varieties (see Photo 1, left).

Longer fibers have less twist when spun into yarn, resulting in a softer finish. They also enhance luster, smoothness, and durability. Sea Island cotton contains more oil and fat than other cotton types, giving it a silky and soft texture.

Sea Island cotton has a specific cultivation pattern. The seeds germinate during the rainy season, while flowering occurs during the dry season. Despite attempts at cultivation worldwide in the past, successful growth is now limited to the Caribbean region. Its annual production is less than 1/100,000th of the world’s total cotton output, making it a rare and highly valued commodity.

The Royal Connection: Sea Island Cotton’s Treasured Tradition with the British Monarchy

Interestingly, the British royal family has a tradition associated with Sea Island cotton. When Queen Elizabeth I took over the West Indies in the late 16th century, she developed a fondness for the luxurious feel of Sea Island cotton. Consequently, the tradition emerged that “cotton products should be made of Sea Island cotton.” In 1981, it is said that Japan donated Sea Island cotton sheets and pillowcases to the British royal family as a celebration of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding.


This article explored various ultra-long cotton types, particularly Sea Island cotton. Sea Island cotton is renowned for its long fibers and luxurious qualities.