Fine metal thread called zari is woven into or embroidered onto many fabrics from India. When the wire is wrapped or woven to form intricate textures and shapes, it is called zardosi or dabka. Zardosi often includes crystals, sequins, and pearl beading. High-quality zardosi is so finely and evenly worked that it's hard to see the individual coils. On very light fabrics, the zari thread is satin-stitched and pressed flat in a style called kamdani. The word for a particular type of embroidery may vary by language and region.
Related terms: kalabattu, kasab, and salma-sitara embroidery; chickna and kora wire threads, karchobi, dabka, kalabutan
Other spellings: zardosi, zardosy, jardosi, zardozi, zaari, jari, jaari
These are some of my favorite zari, zardosi, and dabka pieces.
A silk saree with a traditional woven zari border:
Khadi silk saree with woven zari border
A zari-woven fabric:
Zardosi work and dabka embroideryClassic zardosi work on a traditional silk kameez.
Detail of zardosi and dabka embroidery:
Look for zardosi coils curving over a line of dabka, outlined by zari chain stitches.
Dabka and zardosi work on a georgette saree:
Some vintage embroidery styles:
A vintage silk jacket-style kameez with heavy zardosi embroidery.
Mughal-style dabka work on silk:
A silk tissue wedding lehenga from the 1980s with dabka embroideryi: