Zari Embroidery is an ancient art of embellishing clothes with gold colored threads. The word ‘zari’ literary means ‘gold’ in Persian referring to the fine threads, known as ‘kalabatun,’ which are made from silver coated with real gold. This type of embroidery was used for decorating the clothes of deities and royal persons. In the modern times, synthetic fibers coated with gold coloration have replaced the actual metal wire. Zari embroidery is used in bridal wear, wall hangings, table clothes, purses, handbags, belts, shoes, shawls and other fashion wears.
Zari embroidery is done using a special needle called muthia, which is similar to the crochet needle. The base cloth is usually heavy silk, velvet or satin. This embroidery sometimes involves the use of sequins. A variety of threads are used in a zari work. Kalabattu is a braided variety used for borders and lace-ends. Tikora is a spirally twisted kind used in curves and rounded designs, ‘kora’ is a dull and ‘chikna’ is a shiny type.
Zari embroidery has a range of styles. Zardozi is a heavy and detailed design work done on heavy materials like coat, shoes and curtains. Kamndani is lighter version done on light materials like scarves, veils and caps. Mina gives the effect of enameling. One of the oldest styles is the makaish, done with silver wires.