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The Linen Tree Scottsdale - Frequently Asked Questions
How long has The Linen Tree been in business?
The Linen Tree was founded in 1977. However, our Scottsdale store first opened it's doors on November 1st, 1988.
How many locations does The Linen Tree have?
Our Scottsdale location is our only location and serves as the longest-standing fine linens retailer within the Phoenix metropolitan area. There was a brief period of time after the store opened in 1988 when there were two locations; the new location in Scottsdale and the original location in Bexley, Ohio. But today, there is only one location. There is another retail store in Topeka, Kansas that goes by the same name; we are not affiliated with that store.
What are your shipping and return pilicies? Do you ship internationally?
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What is thread count and why should (or shouldn't) I be concerned with it?
The phrase Thread Count (TC) refers to the number of threads per inch within a fabric. In the world of bedding, the phrase is most often used to help describe the quality of a cotton sheet. A thread count in the 150-250 range is generally considered sufficient. A higher thread count results in a thicker sheet, adding strength to a fabric while usually resulting in a softer, silkier feel.
That said, judging a sheet by its thread count is sort of like judging a house by the number of bedrooms it has. Just as a "room count" will tell you nothing about the size of each room, the upkeep of a house, nor the location of the house, Thread Count will tell you nothing about the length (and width) of each thread, the feel of each thread, nor a sheet's overall quality of manufacture. Not surprisingly, a 200 TC sheet of fine quality will usually feel much more luxurious than a 1,500 TC sheet of budget quality (and it will also wear much better).
Is Egyptian Cotton better than any other cotton?
Egyptian cotton is widely regarded as the finest cotton in the world, and sheets that are woven from Egyptian cotton tend to be extra soft, supple, and smooth - with two major caveats. For one, a sheet only needs to consist of just a small percentage of Egyptian cotton for it to be advertised as an Egyptian cotton sheet. For two, not all Egyptian cotton is equal. Some of the long staple cotton produced within a small region of Egypt is generally recognized as the best cotton in the world. The phrase Egyptian Cotton has traditionally referred specifically to such cotton, but it can also be used to describe any cotton sourced from anywhere in Egypt, or to describe any cotton considered to be of particularly high quality.
What makes Egyptian Cotton special?
Along the hot, dry desert of the Sahara, the Nile has created an oasis that enjoys extraordinary weather conditions; the two extremes combine to create the perfect storm, ideal for producing the world's best cotton - referred to as Giza cotton. All Giza cotton is assigned a number, the smaller the better as smaller numbers correspond with longer staples and stronger, finer threads. This allows for better continuity from thread to thread, and it significantly reduces the chances that yarns will break and fabrics will pill.
Recognized as Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton, the best varieties of Giza cotton include Giza 45, Giza 70, Giza 87 and Giza 88 cotton. The smaller the number, the finer the thread; each of these cottons boast staples which are longer than 33 millimeters, and are recognized as indisputably the best cotton in the world. Giza 45 cotton in particular is grown exclusively in a small region called Kafir S'AD, responsible for only 0.4% of Egypt's overall cotton production. Traditionally so fine that it could only be used in the manufacture of men's dress shirts, Sferra has recently launched a line of Giza 45 bedding, resulting from two years of research and development. Many of the cotton sheets sold by The Linen Tree feature Giza 70 cotton.
Giza 86, Giza 89, and Giza 90 cottons, referred to as Long Staple cottons, also boast high quality, but are not definitively better than Pima cotton, grown in the Southwestern United States and accounting for about 5% of annual American cotton production. Egyptian cotton grown outside of Giza does not offer particularly special quality.
Traditionally, have Egyptian Cotton sheets been the choice of royalty?
Historically, linen sheets have been the choice of royalty. Linen typically does not feel as smooth as cotton and initially may not feel as soft to the touch; it is also more prone to wrinkles and requires more effort (and money) to grow and weave. However linen sheets boast various advantages over cotton. The fabric can be deceptively soft (and gets softer over time) and is highly absorbent and is a good conductor of heat; as such it stays cool and fresh to the touch under almost any condition. Linen also resists dirt and stains, has no lint at all, and can be dry cleaned, machine washed, or steamed. It is three times as strong as cotton, and as such it can result in a stronger, more durable sheet.
Today, many of the world's rich and famous sleep on Egyptian Cotton linens. However some prefer linen sheets, and some prefer to sleep on silk sheets. One of the most popular bedding collections at The Linen Tree is SDH Legna, woven from 100% wood pulp (the resulting fiber is known as lyocell).
What is the difference between linens and linen sheets?
Linen sheets are sheets that are woven from linen, which is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum Usitatissimum. The word 'linens' refers to sheets and fabrics in general. The tradition of calling all textiles "linens" dates back to the middle ages in Europe, where linen was an especially popular fabric.
Today, cotton has far surpassed linen in terms of popularity, but linen still has it's fans and it remains more popular in Europe than in the United States. It is not uncommon for our customers to inquire about linen sheets after sleeping on them for the first time at a European hotel.
What is the difference between a sateen weave and a percale weave?
When weaving sheets, different finishing techniques can be employed to accomplish a desired result. The most common finishes include: sateen, which pushes as many continuous threads as possible to the sheet surface in attempts to emulate the smooth, lustrous qualities of satin; percale, which utilizes a traditional basket weave in order to emulate the strength and breathability of pure linen; and jacquard, a strong and resilient finish that allows for the creation of woven patterns by individually arranging the warp (lengthwise) threads.
What makes some cashmere different than other cashmere?
Cashmere is a fine wool fibre sourced from the neck region of Cashmere goats. All cashmere tends to serve as an excellent insulator, but the finer the fibre, the softer the cashmere.
The fine-ness of wool is measured by the micron - the smaller the number the finer the fibre and softer the wool. Wool that is ordinarily used for sweaters and blankets, will often have an average diameter in the vicinity of 25 microns. Cashmere fibre has an average diameter of no greater than 19 microns - most commercially sold cashmere will typically have an average diameter in the vicinity of 19 microns. Grade A cashmere is less common, but it is pure and it boasts an average diameter as fine as 14 microns.
How do I judge the quality of an innerspring mattress?
To judge the quality of a mattress' innerspring unit, three factors must be taken into account: coil design, coil count, and coil construction.
A good place to start is the coil design. The three most popular options are pocketed coils, continuous coils, and offset coils. Pocketed coils are mostly independent from one another; as such, they allow for greater body contour and little motion transfer. They can be an ideal option for light sleepers who share their beds, which has made them an exceptionally popular choice in recent years.
However, despite their popularity, a pocketed design also results in poor weight distribution per coil, which increases strain on the innerspring unit where you are heaviest, eventually resulting in sag. A pocketed coil design often lends itself to a non-durable mattress; it takes great detail, care, and coils to overcome this limitation. The VI-Spring mattresses we sell at The Linen Tree feature pocketed coils, but will still last decades. Fun fact: the coils used are made of Vanadium steel in a manner mostly unchanged since VI-Spring's proprietors introduced the pocketed-coil mattress at the turn of the 20th century.
A continuous coil system is, generally, the opposite of a pocketed coil system. It may have many coils, but they are all interconnected; in fact, all coils are shaped within a single piece of continuous metal. This lends itself to greater firmness and durability, but also greater motion transfer and decreased contour. To overcome this limitation, Bonnell and other open coil constructions are more popular; relatively inexpensive to manufacture, they feature hourglass-shaped coils to try and strike a middle ground between a pocketed coil system and a continuous one. Although relative to pocketed and continuous coil systems, the Bonnell design arguably combines the worst of both worlds as much as it combines the best of both worlds.
Offset coil construction, as is found in Royal-Pedic innerspring mattresses that we sell at The Linen Tree, is a more upscale alternative to Bonnell designs. The circles at the top and bottom of each coil are flattened to create a hinging action within the mattress core. This allows the mattress to better conform to your body, yet it also allows the coils to be connected to one another via helicals. In short, this means that contour is increased without a significant impact on support nor durability, and motion transfer is further limited as well.
Beyond coil design, the more coils in a mattress, the more a mattress will conform to your shape. Additionally, more coils means better weight distribution amongst coils, which lends itself towards better durability and support. Most Queen-size mattresses feature a coil count between 250 and 1,000 coils, with 390 being considered the minimum recommended amount. Many Queen-size Royal-Pedic mattresses feature at least 800 coils. Most VI-Spring mattresses contain more than 2,000 coils in a Queen.
But, quality over quantity. The quality of a coil is heavily affected by it's metal, it's shape, and it's manufacture. Many popular innerspring mattresses on the market feature 13-16 gauge metal - the lower the number, the stronger, heavier, and firmer the coils. The Royal-Pedic mattresses that we sell at The Linen Tree feature 14.5 gauge coils, and their box spring units feature ultra-strong 8.75 gauge coils. The tighter a coil is wound (this is often measured by the number of working turns that it has), the weight of your body is spread more evenly throughout the spring. This results in both a softer, and more durable mattress. Both Royal-Pedic and VI-Spring coils feature six turns a piece (hence the name, VI-Spring).
Lastly the care used during the manufacture of a mattress will, obviously, also help to determine the durability and strength of an innerspring unit. Royal-Pedic mattresses are made by hand, and the coils used are essentially baked in an oven, cooled down and then baked in the oven again to ensure strength. VI-Spring adds vandium to its steel.
What are the differences between latex and memory foam?
Good quality memory foam is a polyurethane foam that is specially processed with an open cell structure. Activated by temperature, it slowly conforms to your body by, essentially, detecting surface temperature. Different densities create different firmness levels. High levels of contour can result in excellent pressure point relief; but the slow nature of the contour as well as chemicals contained within the foam as well as a tendency to sleep hot make memory foam mattresses as hated by some as they are loved by others.
Natural latex foam rubber does not contour as well, but it is more durable, much more responsive, chemical free, hypoallergenic, temperature regulating, and it has a rejuvenating bounce to it. Different densities as well as different manufacturing techniques can be used to achieve different levels of firmness, durability, and even contour. Royal-Pedic's 7-zone latex core for example, found in its Royal Latex mattress, features seven strategically designed firmness zones to increase body contour and support without sacrificing the quality and firmness of raw materials.
Is it important to buy natural latex as opposed to synthetic?
Synthetic latex is an attempt to recreate the benefits of natural latex by combining 4 laboratory chemicals. It is not as durable as natural latex, and by definition it contains chemicals. Its manufacture is cheaper than natural latex; this is typically the only reason it is used.
Buyer beware: just because latex is advertised as "natural latex," does not mean that it is natural latex. Synthetic latex is often blended with natural latex in varying ratios, and there are no accepted guidelines to determine what does and does not constitute "natural latex."
What is the difference between Talalay latex and Dunlop latex?
Dunlop and Talalay refer to popular manners of latex manufacture. The Dunlop process sees that latex is vulcanized in a waffle iron after it has been whipped in an ammonia-based soap. This process results in ultra-durable latex which can maintain its consistency for decades. It also results in an extra-firm bed.
Talalay latex manufacture is a more recent innovation. Essentially, latex is vulcanized in a process that increases durability without introducing any chemicals to latex and without significantly increasing firmness. Talalay latex is both more popular and more expensive, compared to Dunlop latex.
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Which is better: Egyptian Cotton or Turkish Cotton?
Egyptian cotton, at least the extra long-staple varieties, is regarded as the finest cotton in the world. Turkish cotton, grown by the Aegean Sea, is often used in bath towels as it also boasts a relatively long staple, is cheaper, has good structural integrity, and is not as absorbent as Egyptian cotton and hence it dries faster. This does not mean that Turkish cotton makes for a better bath towel, it simply means that additional care is needed when manufacturing an Egyptian Cotton towel. Abyss' flagship Super Pile towel, for example, is woven from 100% Giza 70 Egyptian cotton. The towel is a staple at The Linen Tree and is considered by many to be the single best bath towel on the market.
What are parabens?
Parabens are a class of generally synthetic chemicals widely used as preservatives within cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The are cheap, effective (as a preservative), and there is no evidence conclusively linking them to health problems. However, there is evidence suggesting that they are a health hazard. Parabens have estrogen-like properties and it has been suggested that they cause breast cancer; in fact, one recent study of 40 breast cancer patients found that parabens esters were present in 99% of breast cancer tissues examined (see here). Results from a separate study suggest that parabens may accelerate skin aging and DNA damage (see here).
Most soaps, lotions, and candles sold by The Linen Tree feature fine natural ingredients and are completely free of parabens.
What is a triple-milled soap?
Triple-Milled soaps, also known as French-Milled soaps, are bar soaps manufactured according to a traditional process pioneered in 18th century France. These soaps may feature the same ingredients as any other soap, but after the soap is initially crafted it is dried into crystals, then rolled at least three times between rollers. The paste is then pressed into soap molds, and the end result is an extra-dense, highly concentrated soap bar.
In other words, the Frech-milling process allows soap-makers to fit more ingredients into a smaller soap bar. This can result in a soap bar that lasts a really long time and has a richer lather when compared with drug-store soaps. However, phrases like "triple-milled" should not necessarily be confused as inferring particularly great quality. The best soaps simply feature the best, natural ingredients, proper fragrance, and are manufactured with great care.
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What are ceramics?
The word ceramic refers to any nonmetallic, inorganic (non-biological) material that becomes solid as a result of a heating and subsequent cooling process. Most ceramics contain clay, and the word "ceramic" comes from a Greek word for "of pottery," pronounced "keramikos."
Popular ceramics used in pottery and in tableware include earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, and bone china. Earthenware may consist of almost any clay or clay-like material, and is heated to 1700 or 1800 degrees fareinheit for several hours. Pit fired earthenware dates back to 25,000 B.C. although it was not known to be manufactured outside of East Asia until the 18th century. Earthenware is slightly porous and has a classic look and feel. It is occasionally used by manufacturers of luxury dinnerware, but such cermaics must be made with great care as earthenware generally lacks the durability of stoneware and porcelain.
Stoneware may contain materials such as quartz and feldspar and is more dense than earthenware and is fired to a higher temperature. Like with earthenware, its general definition means that quality can differ fairly significantly from piece to piece. The finest quality of ceramic is porcelain. Porcelain requires the finest white clay (iron-free kaolinite) and is heated to temperatures of 2100 to 2500 degrees fareinheit. Porcelain represents the strongest and most dense ceramic material, and is impermeable to liquids without requiring any glaze - although, they are occasionally glazed for decorative, or stain-repellent purposes. There are different types of porcelain, including bone china, which is a soft-paste porcelain that consists of, ideally, at least 25% bone ash. The bone ash does not make porcelain stronger - if anything the opposite may apply - however it does help to achieve unique and attractive color tones for decorative purposes without sacrificing much, if any, strength.
What is fine china?
Generally, the word china refers to any ceramic tableware. The phrase "fine china" refers to porcelain dinnerware. The country, China, is where the art of porcelain manufacture was essentially born. Additionally, a defining feature of porcelain (fine china) is that it contains Kaolinite, also known as China Clay.
How can I judge the quality of fine china?
While there is no easy way to decisively judge the quality of porcelain dinnerware (fine china), there are some basic steps you can take. When you hold porcelain up to a light, you should be able to see the shadow of your hand behind the porcelain. When you strike porcelain with your fingers, you should hear a resonant ring. Porcelain should be smooth to the touch and lustrous (or otherwise boasting a translucent quality).
What is sterling silver?
In the US, a silver material must consist of at least 92.5% pure silver in order to be considered Sterling Silver. All Sterling Silver is marked to ensure its authenticity. Sterling Silver flatware is generally considered the heaviest and most expensive flatware on the market. Sterling Silver may require special washing instructions, but may generally be washed in a dishwasher if specific guidelines are followed. It is however important that Sterling Silver does not come in contact with stainless steel, as contact with stainless steel can damage Sterling Silver.
Which makes for a better tablecloth - cotton or linen?
Generally speaking, linen is stronger and more absorbent than cotton, and is more naturally resistant to dirt and stains as well. Cotton is easier to care for, and can be treated in a manner which creates stain resistance.
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