Deciphering Zari Types in Sarees: Your Essential Buying Guide

by Kunal Maurya on Jan 29, 2024

Deciphering Zari Types in Sarees: Your Essential Buying Guide

Unraveling the Golden Threads: The Art of Zari in Varanasi


Varanasi, a city woven with cultural and historical richness, is also the home of the exquisite Zari textile craft. Zari is a traditional form of weaving that uses fine threads, often made from precious metals, to create intricate patterns on fabric. Shyam Sunder Jaiswal, a connoisseur of Zari from Jhingan Sahu Zari Manufacturers, reveals the types of Zari prevalent in Varanasi’s fabric lexicon.

The Varied Faces of Zari

  1. Real Zari: The epitome of luxury, Real Zari consists of threads made from 98% silver, which is then plated with 24-karat gold, denoted chemically as Au. The base yarn, which can be either silk or cotton, affects the price of the Real Zari. Silk, being a protein fiber with a chemical composition of fibroin, adds to the Zari’s value, while cotton, composed of cellulose, provides a more economical base.

  2. Semi-Real Zari: A clever blend of tradition and economics, Semi-Real Zari uses threads made from 96% copper (Cu) and 4% silver. The threads are subsequently electroplated with real gold, mimicking the luster of Real Zari at a more affordable cost.

  3. Tested Zari (Powder Zari): Powder Zari is a more cost-effective alternative, made from 98% copper and a mere 2% silver. The golden hue comes not from gold but from a solvent-based lacquer, giving the threads their characteristic shine without the use of precious metals.

Zari Types and Saree Pricing: A Comparative Overview

Type of Zari Base Metal Composition Gold Plating Core Yarn Material Economic Value Starting Price Range of Saree
Real Zari 98% Silver 24-Carat Gold Silk or Cotton Most Expensive Approx. ₹75,000 
Semi-Real Zari 96% Copper, 4% Silver 24-Carat Gold Silk or Cotton Moderately Priced Approx. ₹45,000
Tested Zari (Powder Zari) 98% Copper, 2% Silver Lacquer for Golden Hue Cotton Most Economical Approx. ₹32,000


The Kasauti Test

A fascinating aspect of Zari is its authenticity, which can be verified using a Kasauti Stone, a touchstone used to test the purity of gold. When rubbed against the stone, Real Zari will leave a gold streak, confirming its quality and composition, while Powder Zari will not.


This section of the blog post has been tailored to reflect the precise content shared by Shyam Sunder Jaiswal, offering a deeper look into the materials and methods of Zari making in Varanasi. The distinctions between the various types of Zari highlight the blend of craftsmanship and science that goes into creating these magnificent threads.

To witness the fascinating journey of Zari making in Varanasi and hear the insights from a master craftsman, watch the full video here.

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