Zardozi work is a type of embroidery in India. This style of embroidery has been in existence in India from the time of the Rig Veda. It prospered during the Mugal Emperor, Akbar, but later a loss of royal patronage and industrialization led to its decline. Today it is popular in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Bhopal, and Chennai. The art of Zardozi was revived along with many traditional methods of embroidery in the middle of this century. Zari work was mainly done in Chennai and Zardozi in Hyderabad until a few decades ago. Today, Lucknow is home to this finest work of gold and silver embroidery.
Zari embroidery is done with a crochet hook using the metallic thread and appears like chain stitch. Zardozi is an extension of the same. Zari elements like coiled wire, dabka, tilla, beads etc are used to create the motifs. Zardozi can alternatively be called metallic applique embroidery. The process involves tracing out the design on the cloth preferably rich fabrics like silk, satin velvet etc. The fabric is stretched over the wooden frame and the embroidery work begins. Each zardozi element is picked up by the needle and incorporated appropriately into the pattern by pushing the needle in the fabric.
The process of creating zari threads and zardozi elements was rather complicated earlier. It needed a lot of patience and precision. Today the modern means may have made the task a little easier but still the adeptness and delicate handling remains the same. Zardozi and zari garments have become very popular and make elegant evening and ceremonial ware.