• Image


    Vark, Varak, Varakh or Varq is a foil of very pure silver used for garnishing Indian sweets. The silver is edible, though flavorless. Large quantities of ingested elemental silver can cause argyria, but the use of varakh is not considered harmful to the body, since the quantities involved in normal use are minuscule. This however is only true as long as the foil contains only high purity silver. One study has found that about 10% of the foils found in the Indian market were made of aluminium. Of the tested foils, 46% of the samples were found to have the desired purity requirement of 99.9% silver, whereas the rest of the 54% were substandard with some even containing toxic cadmium.

    Vark is made by pounding silver into a sheet a few micrometres thick, and backed with paper for support; this paper is peeled away before use. It is extremely brittle and breaks into smaller pieces if touched. Vark sheets are laid or rolled over Indian sweets made from dates, nuts and various fruit and vegetable based rolls or sheet candies.

    Vegetarian lobbyists claim that vark is hammered between layers of animal fat or hide and is thus a non-vegetarian product. However, there are certain vegetarian options of vark available in markets.