Tips for Buying Oriental Rugs

When you're beginning your search for the perfect rug it pays to learn some general information. But leave the lifelong study to the experts. Figure out what you like and put yourself in the hands of a rug dealer you trust.

What is an Oriental rug?
Oriental rugs are hand-knotted in a dozen or so countries from Morocco to China. "Oriental design" and oriental style rugs are not handmade. They're machine made. Ads that mention "handcrafted" or "hand-knotted fringe" are meant to confuse the reader by blurring the distinction between real oriental rugs and imitations.
Who makes the best?
All producing countries offer a wide spectrum of qualities ranging from excellent to poor. There is no reason to choose one country of origin over another based entirely on quality.
How can you tell if a rug is made well?
The quality of the wool and the density of the face are the determining factors. Good wool has a springy resilience to it when pressed against with your thumb. It's never dry or dead feeling. The density of a rug is the result of the weavers packing the knots closely together, row by row as they are tied. This can be done with knots of any size. A coarsely woven rug with thicker yarn can be every bit as durable as a finely woven one using thinner yarn. The number of knots per square inch means nothing with regards to quality. The only reason to weave a finer rug is to facilitate a more detailed pattern. This does translate to more expensive, since finer weaving requires more work per square meter.

Remember: All rugs are not created equal. Just because two rugs look alike doesn't mean they are. Most designs are produced in a variety of qualities and in several countries. The value of a rug is determined by its beauty and uniqueness, by the durability of its materials and by the level of workmanship that went into its creation.