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Gilded fabrics

DNMUM398179 | 10/8/2017 | Author : Gargi Gupta | WC :502

A designer label is making saris from zari made in Benaras’ last, traditional zari workshop, says Gargi Gupta
JUST BEFORE MONDAY
There’s a story my mother liked to tell about her mother who once brought out an old Benarasi sari to give to an itinerant utensil seller in exchange for some pots and pans. The utensil seller, my mother said, took the sari, rubbed the zari design between his fingers and immediately agreed to give my grandmother whatever she wanted. “It was pure zari, made of real silver and gold. Naturally, he was very happy. He must have taken it to a jeweller who would’ve melted the zari to extract the precious metal,” my mother said, still somewhat chagrined.
That was then. If the utensil sellers were to try something similar today, they’d most likely get zilch. For much of the zari used these days is something called “powder zari”, in
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