Copyright 2010 – Kimberly Clay

One mark of a well-heeled home is often that first thing you see on the entryway floor – a beautiful Persian rug. Since Persian rugs are such a valuable piece of art, it pays to ensure you are investing in the genuine article, rather than one of the many imitations that can be found in most showrooms.

Oriental Rug? Persian Rug? What’s the Difference?

An Oriental rug is one that has been hand-woven in cities, towns, and villages across Asia. Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, and the areas near the Mediterranean Sea are all well-known for their beautiful Oriental Rugs. The Persian Rug, however, comes only from Iran, and is considered to be the finest of any rug in the world.

How to Spot a Good Quality Rug

Learning to spot a good quality Persian rug takes time and patience. When shopping, learn to study several rugs before you make a decision, and keep these tips in mind when you begin your search:

  • True Persian rugs are made in Iran. Very fine reproductions can be made in other places with traditional methods, but they are not true Persian rugs.
  • How does the rug move? If it folds like a blanket, it’s probably handmade, and that’s what you want to see.
  • Check the knots at the sides of the rug. They should blend seamlessly with the design. An abrupt change in color indicates a machine-made rug.
  • Look at the corners. Handmade rugs will not be perfect; their corners might not be entirely even, and the knots might have small imperfections.
  • Measure the number of knots in one square inch of a synthetic rug, and then compare the number of knots to that in a Persian rug. The Persian rug will have twice as many knots, if not more. This attention to detail is what makes Persian rugs so special.
  • The colors of the Persian rug should not fade dramatically, nor should they bleed. You can test for this by pressing a damp, white washcloth to the rug. If color leaches away, it is not a true Persian rug.

Ensuring a Sound Investment

To learn even more about your Persian rug, ask for the purchase history of the rug—though there might be some exceptions, most reputable and established dealers will have this in writing. Also ask for information about the pattern, and take the time to verify what the dealer says.

The pattern of a Persian rug is named after the city, town, tribe, or village where it was created. Bokhara, Kashan, and Turkeman patterns are rare and becoming more so as time goes on, so you can expect to find them priced in the upper ranges. However, they are also the most frequent targets of reproduction, so be doubly-sure what you are purchasing is the genuine article.

A good Persian rug is not only a beautiful, functional work of art, but a wise investment as well. As with anything worth your hard-earned money, learn about what you’re purchasing, take your time and invest wisely!

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