Quick Rug Guide

When you purchase a machine made rug you’ll be the first and last owner as it has no investment value. On the other hand, you also need to know that not every handmade rug is an asset or investment, no matter what stories you hear.

Lets assume by looking at the back of the rugs you can differentiate between the handmade and machine made rugs, and you recognize that a quality handmade rug is considered to be work of art. The topic of handmade rugs, in particular those from Persia, is remarkably complex. This brief is only a basic guide to encourage you to think and ask the right questions.

The actual value of a rug is determined by number of factors. These are defined in terms of rugs origin, craftsmanship, knots per square inch (KPSI), design, colours, fabric, age, size, and condition.

Origin: the country, city, town or village where the rug is made. For example Persia (Iran), India, Afghanistan, Turkey, Caucasian, Central Asia, China or others. Rug are usually named after their origin, tribe, famous person or a type of design.

Craftsmanship: this is the skill of the individuals involved in making the rugs. For example creating a masterpiece would involve the best skilled individuals.

KPSI: Rugs with a higher KPSI reflect the skill and devotion of the craftsman; with a higher KPSI more intricate and detailed patterns are achieved in the rug design.

Design: this is the most important feature of a rug; for an inexperience it is not obvious make out, in fact just like other type of art. Different people have different tastes; however, there are rugs which instantly appeal to most whilst other rugs tend to grow on you with time.

Colours: Natural versus chemical dyes, used for colouring the wool/silk fabrics. Natural dyes are more appealing to the eye and are colour fast; furthermore they fade to a pretty muted shade of original colour, if exposed to strong and prolonged sunlight. Older and antique rugs are mostly natural dye productions. Three to four is the ideal number of colours in a rug; subtle variations in colour shades are nice (natural dyes).

Fabrics: A rug piles are knotted in wool, silk or mixture of both fabrics; cotton is commonly used as the foundation (wrap and weft), however wool foundation rugs are common amongst tribal rugs, while extra fine rugs are mostly silk based.

Condition: Some of most priceless rugs around the world museums are in pieces and are well worn. It is not suggested you choose such carpets, because it is not practical and you are not an expert/collector. A good condition rug should be straight, have no colour mixes, no low piles, clean, healthy looking fringes and edges.

Size: size of a rug is proportionate to its value when comparing the price for exactly the same quality and origin etc. Larger sized rugs tend to be better investments as well as being a more luxurious.

Age: Older Persian and Oriental rugs are an excellent investment and quality if in good condition and purchased at the right price due to their uniqueness as well as their superior attributes.

In general, rugs crafted in urban areas such as Tabriz, Kashan and Kerman are more elaborate and have intricate designs therefore tend to be more expensive. The nomadic rugs by the Turkman, Kurd, Baluch, Qashgai and Lori tribes have simple designs and are becoming increasingly popular.

Due to our evaluation and repair/restoration experience we have learned that customers buying at auctions, quickly arranged sale in hotels, from tourist traps abroad, door-to-door salesmen, or from an unwarranted dealers, is a highly risky business. The origin, quality and the price of the rug cannot be verified. Furthermore, damaged rugs, even those ready to crumble, may not be visible to the inexperienced. You may end up with a rug which is not suitable for its intended purpose without an option to return. Dealing with an established and reputable trader guarantees a risk free purchase.