What is "Zari" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 16-Apr-2024 ( ago)
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Zari: The Golden Thread of Luxury and Tradition

Zari, the glittering golden thread that breathes life into fabrics, has an intriguing tale spun across centuries. From its roots in Persia, it traversed trade routes to grace the courts of ancient India, where it became a symbol of wealth, royalty, and divinity. Today, it continues to adorn textiles, adding a touch of opulence to every thread it embraces.

The Origin of Zari

The origins of Zari can be traced back to ancient Persia. However, it was in the royal courts of India, during the Mughal era, that Zari weaving reached its zenith. The emperors, known for their extravagant tastes, patronized this craft, leading to the creation of intricate designs woven with gold and silver threads. Over time, Zari became an indispensable part of Indian textile traditions.

Types of Zari

  • Real Zari: Made with pure gold or silver threads, this is the most expensive and luxurious form of Zari.
  • Imitation Zari: A more affordable alternative, imitation Zari is made from silver electroplated copper wire.
  • Metallic Zari: This type uses metallic polyester film and is the most common due to its durability and affordability.

Tips for Handling Zari

  • Dry clean only: Zari work is delicate and can be damaged by water and harsh detergents.
  • Avoid direct ironing: Place a cotton cloth over the Zari work before ironing to prevent direct contact with the iron.
  • Storage: Wrap Zari embellished textiles in a muslin cloth and store in a dry place to prevent oxidization and discoloration.
  • Air periodically: To maintain the sheen of the Zari, air the textile periodically to prevent moisture build-up.

Major International Manufacturers and Users

  • Surana Zari Thread: A renowned name in the Zari manufacturing industry, Surana Zari Thread is located in India and produces a wide range of Zari products, including real, imitation, and metallic Zari.
  • Kalabhai Zariwala: Based in India, Kalabhai Zariwala has over a century's worth of experience in producing high-quality Zari threads for a global clientele. Their products are used in a diverse array of textiles, from traditional saris to haute couture.
  • Metalina Zari: Located in India, Metalina Zari produces a wide range of Zari products. They are known for their innovative approach to maintaining traditional craftsmanship while implementing modern technologies.
  • Zari Exports: Zari Exports is a leading exporter of Zari products from India. They supply to a diverse range of sectors, including fashion, home dcor, and crafts.
  • Manav Zari: Manav Zari, based in India, is recognized for their quality Zari products. They serve various industries, including fashion, costume design, and home dcor.

Applications of Zari

  • Fashion: Zari is extensively used to embellish traditional and high-fashion garments, giving them a touch of luxury.
  • Home Dcor: Cushion covers, table runners, and curtains often feature Zari work for a sophisticated aesthetic.
  • Accessories: Bags, scarves, and even footwear can be adorned with Zari for an added sparkle.

Preservation of Zari

The preservation of Zari is crucial in maintaining its lustre and quality over time. The longevity of Zari textiles is impacted by several factors, including the quality of the metal used, the craftsmanship, and how it's handled and stored. Prolonged exposure to air can cause oxidation, leading to a dull appearance. Similarly, the application of high heat can discolour the threads. Proper storage and gentle cleaning techniques can help to preserve Zari embellished textiles for many years.

Significance of Zari in Indian Textiles

Zari's golden sparkle has been adding charm to Indian textiles for centuries. It plays a significant role in traditional Indian wear like sarees, lehengas, and sherwanis. During Indian weddings and festivals, which are filled with bright colours and ornate decorations, Zari work's intricate designs and golden glimmer stand out prominently.

In the royal era, Zari was seen as a symbol of luxury, used exclusively for the outfits of kings and queens. Over time, this royal touch has become available for everyone, but its charm and elegance remain timeless.

Furthermore, Zari has been contributing immensely to the livelihoods of many artisans in India. Its production involves several intricate steps, including flattening, twisting, and electroplating, all of which require skilled craftsmanship.

Environmental Impact and Innovations

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of metal-based Zari. It has been linked to soil and water pollution due to poor disposal methods of the synthetic metal waste. This has led to a rise in eco-friendly alternatives to conventional Zari, such as Gota Patti work, which uses small pieces of zari fabric in applique form.

Moreover, innovations have been introduced to make Zari more sustainable. One such innovation is the development of Zari threads from recycled plastic. These new threads not only reduce environmental impact but also bring down the cost of production, making Zari accessible to a larger population.


As we delve into the fascinating world of Zari, we can see its shimmering threads are intricately interwoven with history, culture, and tradition. A symbol of luxury and craftsmanship, Zari continues to adorn textiles across the world with its timeless appeal.

Zari is a type of thread made of fine gold or silver wire used in traditional Indian garments. This thead is woven into fabrics, primarily made of Silk to create intricate patterns.

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