Zari or Zari Work as it is known, is an intricate art of weaving threads made of fine gold or silver. These threads are further woven into fabrics, primarily made of silk to create intricate patterns. The designs are so exquisite that apart from the monetary value attached to these threads, the fabric also gets an overall rich & a beautiful look. The art of Zari has been associated with the Aristocratic & Royal Persona in India for a long time. It is one of the most famous & elaborate techniques in metal embroidery. For long, Zari has been an art associated with the aristocratic and royal persona in India. In Persian, the art is known by the term – Zardozi.

Due to a decline in royal patronage, Zari which was once the jewel in the crown of Indian fabric craft, has now become restricted to some pockets in the country. It is sold mainly in urban cities like Lucknow and Chennai, where silk fabrics in the form of zari work sarees and Lucknowi suits are quite popular. Nowadays, Zari is not made of real silver & gold, but has polyester or cotton yarn at its core, wrapped in silver/golden metallic yarn. It has now been recognized by the Government of India as one of the most ancient forms of handicraft.

Zari is produced by twisting a flattened metallic strip made from pure gold, silver or a metallic polyester film around a yarn made of silk, cotton, polyester etc. These zari threads are processed to increase the brightness of gold plating, giving it an aesthetic look. Zari, which once enjoyed a lot of royal patronage, has slid down due to high costs of precious metals such as gold and silver. In keeping with the times and in a bid to appeal to various income groups, Zari has gone through some changes and extensions.

Sarees, kurtas and salwars with zari are essentially worn during very special occasions such as weddings, and festivals.  Fabrics with Zari lend a regal look to the person wearing it. Zari work lehengas are the essence of bridal trousseau. They are known for the refined work, exquisite patterns and exceptional grace. Zari contains the weaves of gold and silver. The metal, specially the silver weaves react to the atmospheric air and looks dull & old. To maintain its shine, the best thing is to wrap them in soft cotton or a muslin dhoti. This prevents them from any reaction.