Zari & Zardozi – Threads of Gold #AtoZChallenge 2017

And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…………

the familiar words of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” kept playing in my head all day long as I thought of what to write for the last post of this challenge. Can there bebetter way than to end with the glitter of Zari & Zardozi ?

Threads of Gold

Zari or gold thread is a popular embellishment for Indian garments. Brocade or  fabric with woven gold thread is an absolute must for every festive and auspicious occasion. You must have noticed the generous use of gold thread in most of my posts.

The thread that is used to weave in designs is basically made out of covering a core yarn out of a flattened metallic strip made from real gold or silver. In the olden days, the yarn was obviously pure silk but in modern times it can be viscose, cotton, polyester or even a multi filament fiber.

[Tweet “Did you know that there are three kinds of Zari or Gold Thread ?”]

Image for real Zari Thread
Surat in Gujerat is a leading manufacturer of real zari thread

Real Zari is made of real gold or real silver alloy. In the olden days the metal was flattened and then wound on silk yarn.

With the discovery of electroplating, this process was replicated using cheaper and more ductile methods like copper. The copper was treated with chemical tints to make it look like real gold. This is known as Imitiation Zari 

This is obviously very expensive and very rarely used these days. However, before you fling out your granny’s old zari sari, it would be worth checking out the quality of the zari used – it may well be worth its weight in gold!

Image for metallic zari thread
Metallic zari thread is stronger and lighter than real zari thread and is often preferred in embroidered or Zardozi work


The high cost of metals made Zari saris less affordable so the weavers resorted to Metallic Zari which is a man-made yarn also known as M Type Yarn. This is completely lightweight

[Tweet “Did you know that Surat is the world’s largest producer of Zari thread?”]




Image for zardozi
                                                  My one and only itsy bitsy piece of zardozi


As you can see, I am not very fond of Zardozi. This very heavy and elaborate work uses different kinds of zari thread. It also uses beads, semi precious stones, sequins , seed pearls and all kinds of decorative stuff .

While Zardozi is mentioned in Vedic literature like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, it reached its peak during the Mughal Era.  During that time, Lucknow was renowned for its Zardozi work.  And, believe it or not, this form was popular to decorate tent walls, tapestry , wall hangings and even accessories for Royal Elephants and Horses!

The  decline of the Mughal era also meant the decline of this art.

But the old tradition of using zari or threads of gold have made a come back in recent times. With widespread use by fashion designers especially in modern wedding attire the glitter is back in India’s textile tradition.




I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief journey into the fascinating traditions of Indian textiles. If you’ve missed any of them, you could click on the links lined up below. It has been a learning for me too!

Y  X  W  V U  T  S  R  Q  P  O  N  M  L  K  J  I  H  G  F  E  D  C  B  A

Join me and hundreds of other bloggers participating in the #AtoZ Challenge 2017. I’m also linking this up to Write Tribe, #UltimateBlogChallenge #Blogboost and @ Blogchatter.


My thanks to  Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out andthe co-hosts of this year’s challenge.

Alex J. Cavanaugh @ Alex J. Cavanaugh
eremy Hawkins @ Hollywood Nuts
Heather M. Gardner @ The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing 

J Lenni Dorner @ Blog of J. Lenni Dorner

Image for BellyBytes

Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. Beautiful fabrics and the gold thread makes it even more unique. I was lucky enough to receive a piece of fabric from India that is embellished with the gold thread. It’s a black satin fabric with beautiful flowers all outlined in the gold. Congrats on your completion of the challenge!

  2. Your posts are a masterpiece and I gotta play catch up with them soon in May.

    Zari and Zardosi are unique and grand with their rich, royal look.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge with such impeccable posts!

    Blog: natashamusing
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  3. What a gorgeous post. I love the old world feel of Zari and Zardosi. Zari, specially can lift an ordinary piece of embroidery to an extraordinary level. I’ve come here only at the end of the challenge. Congratulations for maxing it. I’ll hang around and look some more.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Of growing children and social etiquetteMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your appreciative words. This challenge has been a tough one and I too have missed some of your posts . Will visit them by and by . See you !

  4. I have loved your posts, and am looking forward to the ebook 🙂 i love zari, gota, and embroidery.. and basically, just the wonderful diversity in textiles we have in our country! Thanks for the education & introduction to unknown facts!
    Congrats on a great AtoZ 🙂
    Ishieta@Isheeria’s recently posted…Numerology Predictions – May 2017My Profile

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