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what is an oriental rug?

Persian, Caucasian, Chinese, and European (French, English) rugs represent a timeless form of art and cultural expression. However, when stripped of this age-old mystique, these rugs have a few distinctive features. First, all Oriental and Persian rugs are made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, or silk. These fibers are hand spun into various threads and yarns which are then hand-knotted or flat woven to produce unique patterns and designs. Also, each rug’s design, pattern, and construction pays tribute to the specific geographic location in which the rug was produced like the Near East, Middle East, Far East, and the Balkans.

Hand-knotted rugs are the most labor intensive of any technique. Master weavers painstakingly tie each individual knot to the warp yarns—the internal structure of the rug— to make up the overall length of the rug. These individual knots make up the thick, plush, surface, or pile, of the rug. The number of knots per inch generally signals the rugs durability and value. Most importantly, no two hand-knotted rugs are alike. There is no way to make an identical duplicate of a hand-knotted rug!

Flat woven rugs are produced on large wooden looms where a master weaver will tie vertical pieces of yarn (warps) and then cross weave horizontal pieces of yarn (wefts). Wefts are then compressed to create patterns within the rug. Unlike hand-knotted rugs, flat woven rugs have no pile.

Like any fine work of art, Oriental and Persian rugs appreciate and become more valuable over time. During their long year history, quality rugs have been a standard of luxury. Unlike traditional carpets which are designed to collect filth and be thrown out, fine rugs are durable goods. Rugs are elegant investments which are meant to be kept and preserved. A fine rug is no different from any other great piece of art which you would proudly present in your home.

Antique Oriental and Persian rugs are generally the most valuable. There are two primary reasons for the value of these items as collectable commodities. The first is there scarcity. Unfortunately, many of these antique rugs have been lost, and their ever increasing scarcity makes them treasured collectables for rug collectors. The second is the beauty of these mature rugs. Like a fine wine, time has a way of mellowing certain colors and features of the rug while enhancing other. This natural aged beauty cannot be duplicated artificially.

Quality Persian and Oriental rugs, when properly cared for, can last a lifetime. Genuine rugs are often passed as heirlooms from one generation to the next. Naturally, when considering a purchase of such significance, a client should have a grasp of the factors which affect the durability and value of a rug. With the beginner in mind, Rugs of Nations has composed a short list with some introductory suggestions and recommendations. Beginners and collectors alike should contacts gallery staff if you have additional questions.

Age

If you are buying an antique (100 years or more) or semi-antique (50-75 years old) rug, be sure to examine it thoroughly. Check for moth damage, stains, brittleness, patches, and sections which have undergone repair. Any visible damage—no matter the size—affects the value of an antique rug. Skillfully made repairs will have far less of an impact on the value, however, this is something you must be mindful of and bring to the attention of your rug consultant. As location is to Real Estate, condition is to the valuations of an antique rug.

Beauty

Genuine Oriental Rugs are works of art. The labor involved in the weaving and knotting of these unique rugs is as demanding as that of a fine sculpture or perceptive artist. While beauty is often thought of as a subjective concept, it still plays a fundamental role in determining the value of any rug. Look for the complexity and intricacy of the rugs design. Also, pay attention to the colors and texture which make up the rug. All of these features make up the overall beauty of the piece, and will ultimately influence the value of the rug.

Construction

Many Persian and Oriental Rugs are categorized by knots per square inch. The higher the knot count, the finer the rug. The materials used in the rugs construction, whether it be silk, cotton, wool, or combination other materials, will help determine the value of the rug and predict its longevity. Typically the most expensive rugs are made of natural silk, and the most durable natural fiber rugs are made of spun wool.

Design

Once upon a time, a rug's design could identify the country in which it was manufactured. The design itself was just like a bar code. However, as the world has become increasingly globalized in trade, the distinct lines of production have blurred. Artists borrow inspiration from the world around them. This includes the once geographically distinct patterns and styles of the rugs from other lands. Popular designs have been adapted for reproduction and mass manufacturing. It may require an expert eye to identify a rug's origin. But you should never worry about questioning your rug consultant about the rugs design and origin. Furthermore, any fine rug gallery should be willing to stand behind their product as both genuine and authentic. At Rugs of Nations your satisfaction is guaranteed.