Shopping: how to buy a Persian carpet

Persian rugs, which are made in Iran by skilled artisans, are some of the most sought after rugs available. Persian rugs are highly respected for their quality, durability, and beautiful craftsmanship. A genuine Persian rug, depending on its age, size, and quality of craftsmanship, can fetch many thousands of dollars or even millions. Iran is the world’s largest producer and exporter of any handmade carpets. They supply three quarters of the world’s total hand-woven carpet output.

There are many different types of Persian rugs available on the market. Some are genuine and of good quality, some are machine made to resemble a traditional Persian rug, and some are collectible as antiques, worth exorbitant amounts of money. Buying a Persian rug can be difficult if a buyer does not know what to look for. Many people are concerned about buying a genuine Persian rug and that they are paying the right price for what they are getting.

Overview of Persian Rugs
A Persian rug is one that is made specifically in Iran by skilled artisans. Traditionally, Persian rugs differed from rugs from other countries, such as Turkey, by the style of knot that was used in the fabric weave. A Persian rug that is smaller than six by four feet is known as a Q?licheh, and a rug that is greater than six by four feet is known as a Q?li, or Farsh. Persian rugs offer an attractive floor covering for any type of room or hallway space. They are durable, comfortable, and feature many different attractive designs, patterns, motifs, and colors.

Persian Rug Materials
Persian rugs are most commonly made from wool, although cotton rugs are often seen. There are a variety of different wools that Persian rugs are commonly made from, including camel hair wool, Manchester wool, and Kork wool. Some older, antique rugs are made from silk, although these are very expensive and are less durable than wool rugs. Silk Persian rugs are quite rare and are often displayed as wall hangings instead of used as floor rugs due to their value.

Many new rugs are made from less traditional materials, such as silk blends, mercerized cotton, and synthetic fibers like olefin.

Persian Rug Knots
Traditionally, a Persian rug was made using a single looping knot, while a Turkish carpet was made with a double looping knot. However, contemporary Persian rug makers are more commonly using either of these two types of knots. If buying a genuine Persian rug that the seller claims is old or antique, then it should be made using the traditional single looping knot method.

One way to identify a genuine handmade Persian rug from a machine-made rug is to look at the underside to see if the pattern is visible through the backing. If the pattern does show through, it is a good indication that it is handmade. A machine-made rug tends to have a thick backing, and the pattern will not show through. Also, when folding the rug back on itself and exposing the base of the pile, a handmade rug should show the rows of knots.

Persian Rug Patterns and Designs
Persian rugs are made with particular layouts and designs, and these designs have changed very little throughout history. Many of the designs have been passed down through generations of family carpet weavers. Persian rugs generally feature one of four layout patterns: an all-over layout, a central medallion layout, a compartment layout, and a one-sided layout. Persian rugs also feature particular motifs that have different meanings, and these motifs can be used to identify the region where the rug was made.

Persian Rug Weaving Techniques
Traditionally, all Persian rugs were hand woven. A genuine hand - woven rug is far more expensive than a newer machine-made rug. A buyer should not be expected to pay the same amount of money for a machine-made rug compared to a handmade rug of the same size.

Hand-Woven Persian Rugs
These types of rugs are considered to be of the highest quality. It takes many man hours to finish a genuine Persian rug. The quality of craftsmanship of a handmade Persian rug is evident in the shape of the patterns and designs on the rug. Persian rugs can be hand knotted, hand tufted, or flat weave rugs. Hand knotted is the most expensive type of hand woven rug, and flat weave is the least expensive. Many Persian rugs are made using either horizontal or vertical looms.

Machine-Woven Persian Rugs
A Persian rug that is machine made is not considered an authentic Persian rug. There are many imitation Persian rugs that can look very similar to a genuine rug, although these should always be much less expensive than a hand-woven rug. If a buyer likes the look of a Persian rug but does not want to spend a great deal of money, a machine-made rug with Persian designs is a great way to have the look that a Persian rug offers without the high price tag.

What to Consider When Buying a Persian Rug
When it comes to buying a Persian rug, there are so many options that it can seem a bit overwhelming. Determining a budget is the first step. Then, a buyer should decide where the Persian rug will be placed for sizing purposes. In order to get the best quality rug for any particular budget, it is best to consider the size, quality, and age of the rug.

Persian Rug Size
Not surprisingly, the larger the rug, generally, the more expensive the price will be. When looking to purchase a Persian rug, it is important to have exact measurements of what size rug is needed. Persian rugs are available in all different sizes and shapes. Being aware of the size helps to narrow down the search, and being flexible on the size (considering a smaller rug, for example) can reduce the overall price.

Persian Rug Quality
The quality of any Persian rug can vary dramatically. Quality affects the value of the rug significantly. There are a few points to consider when looking at the quality of Persian rug, such as knot density and the type of wool and dye used.

Persian Rug Knot Density
The knot density, how many knots per square inch are present in the rug, is a major contributing factor to the quality of the rug. On average, Persian rugs range from 30 to 300 knots per square inch. Rugs with 30 knots per square inch are very coarse and of lower quality. Rugs with 300 knots per square inch are very thick, of high quality, and generally very expensive.

Hand-Spun or Machine-Spun Wool
Hand - spun wool rugs use wool fibers that are spun by hand. These are considered more valuable as the handmade method gives uniqueness to every different rug. Machine-spun wool rugs give a more even and uniform look to the rug.

Synthetic or Natural Dyes
A natural dye Persian rug is generally up to 30 percent more expensive than a synthetic dye rug. Natural dye rugs are more limited in the variety of colors available, and they do not tend to hold their vibrancy and intensity as synthetic dye rugs do. Natural dye Persian rugs are considered more authentic, and therefore, more sought-after and pricier.

Persian Rug Age
A Persian rug that is 100 years old or more is considered to be an antique. A rug that is between 50 and 99 years old is referred to as a semi - antique rug. Antique Persian rugs are considered to be a very collectible item. And a well-kept, genuine handmade Persian rug will increase in value over time.

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