Kanjivaram silk sarees, also known as Kanchipuram sarees, are renowned for their timeless beauty, intricate craftsmanship, and luxurious silk fabric. Originating from the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, India, these sarees have been a symbol of grace and tradition for centuries. To the untrained eye, distinguishing between an authentic Kanjivaram silk saree and a counterfeit can be challenging. However, with a little knowledge, you can uncover the elegance of a pure Kanjivaram silk saree. Here’s a guide on how to identify one:
1. Check the Silk Quality:
- Authentic Kanjivaram sarees are crafted from pure mulberry silk, known for its natural sheen and softness. When you touch the saree, it should feel smooth and luxurious against your skin.
- Examine the saree closely for any synthetic or blended fibers. Pure Kanjivaram sarees do not contain polyester or other synthetic materials.
2. Look for the Silk Mark:
- The Silk Mark is a certification label issued by the Silk Mark Organization of India. It guarantees the authenticity and purity of silk products, including Kanjivaram sarees.
- Ensure that the saree you’re considering carries the Silk Mark label. This certification provides assurance of genuine silk.
3. Inspect the Zari Work:
- Kanjivaram sarees are famous for their intricate zari work, which is typically made of pure gold or silver threads.
- Gently rub the zari between your fingers; it should feel soft and pliable. Real zari will also leave a mark when scratched against a black stone.
- Be cautious of fake zari made from metallic-coated plastic threads, which may feel stiffer and appear less lustrous.
4. Analyze the Patterns and Motifs:
- Traditional Kanjivaram sarees feature intricate and symmetrical designs inspired by temple art, nature, and mythology.
- Genuine Kanjivaram sarees have their motifs woven into the fabric, not printed or embroidered on top. The reverse side of the saree should reflect the pattern as well.
5. Check the Border and Pallu:
- The border (selvedge) and pallu (the decorative end piece) of a Kanjivaram saree are vital elements of its design.
- Authentic Kanjivaram sarees often have wide and richly adorned borders and pallus with distinct patterns.
6. Feel the Weight:
- Pure Kanjivaram silk sarees tend to be heavier due to the dense silk weave and intricate zari work. The weight can vary depending on the design and amount of zari used.
7. Conduct a Burn Test:
- While this should be done with caution and only by experts, burning a small strand of silk can help identify its authenticity. Genuine silk will burn slowly, smell like burning hair, and leave behind fine ash.
8. Seek Reputable Sellers:
- Purchase your Kanjivaram saree from reputable and trusted sellers or showrooms that specialize in authentic handwoven sarees. Well-established stores are more likely to sell genuine products.
9. Price Consideration:
- Authentic Kanjivaram sarees are an investment due to their craftsmanship and quality. Be skeptical if the price seems too good to be true, as it may indicate a counterfeit product.
In conclusion, owning a pure Kanjivaram silk saree is not just a possession; it’s a piece of art and heritage. By paying attention to silk quality, zari work, patterns, and certification labels, you can confidently identify an authentic Kanjivaram silk saree and enjoy its timeless beauty and cultural significance for generations to come.