Many people are aware of the iconic image of Cleopatra being delivered in a rug to Caesar's apartments in Alexandria. Or linen bag, according to some historians.
Who really knows, but as she was used to the best things in life, we would like to think that the wrap was made from the finest queen size Egyptian cotton sheets.
Nothing so romantic, unfortunately, couldn't happen - the textile, as we know it today, was first made in the 1820s by a Frenchman, apparently from some cotton plants he found growing in a Cairo garden.
Whatever its origins, the fabric is now well renowned for its qualities and enjoys an impressive reputation world wide.
We do note that some lesser quality bedding material is listed as "Egyptian" standard. But beware imitations! The name is trade-marked to protect the source. Although the cloth doesn't have a monopoly on comfort and sumptuousness, many people accept it as a benchmark in luxury bed clothes along with linen and silk.
This material is incredibly soft and very strong because it is hand-picked and not stressed by machine harvesting. The premium-quality fabric maintains its softness and retains its color through long use and regular washing. Super softness is achieved by using the Satin Weave technique that arranges the yarns in a certain way.
EC bedding is often listed by thread count with higher figures being generally more expensive.
It's generally believed that the higher the count the softer and tougher the fabric - the Cotton Egypt Association say so directly. Not everyone's in agreement with that sentiment as you will see from the results of a blind test run by the respected Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab back in May 2019.
They compared 500 to 1000 thread cotton materials and the testers say they could not distinguish between them for softness and feel. There was a similar outcome reached after the GH Lab tested the durability of both.
They did say that the higher count looked marginally less creased after tumble drying. It also seemed to have a slightly better grip on the base of the fitted sheet.
Generally, tumble dry the bedding at a reduced temperature and remove from the dryer before it's completely dry to fold and iron. Bedclothes tend to get softer after a few initial washes.
We're making no suggestions in this post on what might be your best choice. We reckon any of the selections shown will meet your expectations - we're confident about that simply because many, many thousands of satisfied buyers have said so.
We based our options on a 4-piece queen size to show the price differences between thread counts. The set comprises one flat sheet, a fitted sheet and two pillowcases. All options will fit mattresses up to 18 inches deep.
Each pattern comes in numerous colors and set arrangements to suit different bed sizes - too many to list in this article. There is also a choice of functions including some with bed skirts and duvet covers.
Click through any image or link to read up on the alternatives on offer. Whatever you choose to buy you can guarantee one thing - a great night's sleep.