Read about the extensive process below!!


What is Real Zari?

Remember your moms or grandma's old saris?

Those, they save and graciously flaunt for years and years, even till today. Those saris specially the ones which have cotton or silk base and adorned with gold thread designs on it. That gold design was made out of real gold yes 24 carat real gold which was popularly called ‘Gold Zari’ or “Real Zari” back then. It was an asset for them that lasts forever. It was just not a fancy buy it is sure an investment that will remain with you for life generation after generation.

It is generally worn on the wedding day and special occasions. The best thing was that the value of the saris would only increase with time as the gold value would increase. It was surely an investment and definitely not a waste of money.

Zari or Jari is thread traditionally made of gold or silver used in Indian and Pakistani garments to add an unmatched grandeur to ethnic garments. This thread is woven into fabrics, primarily made of silk to create intricate patterns. It is believed this tradition started during the Mughal era in Surat, being linked to the Haj pilgrims and Indians was a major factor for introducing this craft in India. During the Vedic ages, zari was associated with the grand attires of Gods, kings and literary figures. Today, in most fabrics, zari is not made of real gold and silver but has cotton or polyester yarn at its core, wrapped by golden/silver metallic yarn.

The history and origin of zari work. What makes it such a luxury heirloom?

The oldest reference for fabric made with gold is found in the Rig Veda from more than 3,000 years ago. Come to think about it, the use of metallic gold thread and yarns has been a distinguishing feature of historical textiles around the world. From European brocades and Iranian velvets to Chinese silks and Indiansaris, its continuing relevance in contemporary times reflects an enduring human fascination with notions of purity, nobility and precious materials.

The idea of using precious metals is expressed in India through metallic yarn. Known as zari in many parts of the subcontinent, it was originally used in sacred symbolism and to hand-woven fabrics for aristocracy and the mercantile elite. It is one of the rarest and most fascinating weaving traditions from India, where molten silver is processed to become spools of silver threads, electroplated with gold, and then woven into a textile of silk or cotton. Such metallic yarns have also informed the artistry of handmade textiles in other parts of the world such as Europe, China and Japan.

How long does it take to create one pure zari sari? And how many people does it require?

It is difficult to generalise, but it takes two weavers anywhere between four weeks to 36 weeks to weave a sari, depending on the intricacy of the design. Weaving an authentic zari Banarasi sari can take up to nine months.

How are Real Zari threads made?

Traditional gold zari is composed of a flat silver metal thread of 98% purity wrapped around a core of silk. Then it gives a silver thread and further the silver thread is electroplated in order to produce gold zari. This process involves many steps, various machines and skills of several people. This is not an easy task to do.

Step 1:

Silver Melting

Bricks of 98% pure silver are heated and melted to make it to silver rods.

Step 2:

Silver wires making & Skinning

8 Guage thickness silver wire

The silver rods are then taken into a rolling mill and converted into silver wires of 8 gauge thickness. The silver wires have superficial cracks & disturbances on their surface,they need to be skinned. This process gives a smooth 8 gauge silver wire.

Step 3:

Wire drawing process

30 gauge silver wire

25 micron silver wire

The 8 gauge silver wires are then again processed further upto 30 gauge on rolling machines, then that goes into further processes to make it even more finer and the wires are drawn up until 25 micron making it extremely fine to make real zari.

Step 4:

Flattening of the silver wires

The wires we finally get are round in shape and they are flattened on the flattening machine in this stage to wrap them around silk threads. They are reeled alongside in this process as well.

Step 5:

Wrapping of silk threads

In this step the flattened wires are wrapped around silk/cotton threads with help of special wrapping machines. And we get zari. Most of the time yellow silk thread is used for gold zari and white silk thread is used for silver zari.

The yarn/threads can be of any materials such as silk or cotton.

After the wrapping is done, the zari threads get a certain shape. We can see the two components of zari here,

Step 6:


Now the reel of zari threads are ready to be sent for electroplating. This is the process of gold electroplating for converting silver to gold zari.

First the zari is dipped into gold solution so that it gets coated with gold ions.

Step 7:

Color Enhancement

It is then washed and passed through another solution of dichromate to intensify its golden color.

Step 8:

Final Wash & reeling

The enhanced zari gets a final wash before being reeled.

Finally the zari gets divided into hanks and sent for weaving to weavers across varanasi and rest of the country.

Real Zari hanks

Types of zari

. Today there are many types of zaris available, according to the budget and requirement of the weaver and wearer

Real Zari (98% silver + Gold electroplating)

This is the most exquisite and finest form of zari. It is done using 98% silver on core thread with gold electroplating. This was traditionally done back in the days of royalties. Used in all kinds of textiles like banarasi bridal banarasi, kanjivarams, paithanis, jamdanis too. Pictures below are showing different colors of real zari. It can be made silver by keeping the core silk thread white and gold color is achieved using the core silk thread yellow.

Real Gold Zari

  1. Georgette Real Zari

98%silver + Gold electroplating using crepe at core thread

There is one zari made which is more grainy than the regular one, popularly called as georgette zari because of its texture. The core of this zari is crepe instead of silk. Georgette zari is mostly used in geyser textiles or brocade textiles. This zari is equally rich and exquisite.

Georgette zari

  1. Semi Real Zari:

Copper coated with 4% silver + Gold Electroplating

To cut down on the costs of real zari some changes are done in the composition. Instead of 98% silver wire, a copper is used and its coated with 4% silver and wires are drawn. Rest all processes are similar. As far as looks are concerned both the 98% silver and 4% silver base zaris look the same.

  1. Imitation Zari

Copper coated with 2% silver + Gold Electroplating

To cut down more costs this zari is widely used. Sometimes instead od 2% silver only 0.5% silver is used to do the plating. Consumers should be aware that they are paying the right costs for these zaris. Sometimes imitation zari products are handed down in the name of real zari.

  1. Powder Zari

Copper base coated with 0.5% silver + lacquer electroplating

This zari is one of the cheapest zaris available in the market. The base is copper and it is electroplated with lacquer to achieve the golden color. This Zari does not have real gold anywhere. The lacquer is like a solvent like a nail polish. The products made with this powder zari are way cheaper in price and quality as well. The colors tend to fade away when they are exposed to sunlight or alcohol.

  1. Plastic Zari

Plastic base coated with lurex

This is the cheapest zari available in the market and used all over the world.

It is available in different colors. Instead of gold to achieve the gold color in 1% of the cost of real zari.

Powered by AZEXO Shopify page builder
Liquid error (layout/theme line 172): Could not find asset snippets/station-tabs.liquid