4 Questions About Persian Rugs You’re Afraid to Ask (But Should)

Light Bulb in a Thought BubbleQuestions About Persian Rugs You Need to Ask

Come prepared- know your budget, room dimensions, and the colors that will work in your room. Get to know the different styles of rug and what you like by doing a little research. Our simple handbook on buying a Persian rug is a good place to start.

Keeping all this in mind will help you feel less intimidated when shopping online or at rug dealers/galleries.

Here are a few more tips to help you on your rug hunt.

Do you know the origin of most fine rugs?

  • Origin of Persian Tribal Rugs: Bakhtiari, Bakhshaish, Borchelu, Gabbeh Hamadan, Heriz, Hussainabad, Koliai, Kurd, Luri,Mahal, Malayer, Nahavand, Qashqai, Senneh, Shiraz, Sirjan, Tarom, Wiss, Zanjan, Oushak.
  • Origin of Persian City Rugs: Afshar, Ardabil, Baluch, Bidjar, Esfahan, Farahan, Joshaghan, Kashan, Kerman, Kashmar, Klardasht, Lavar, Mashad, Nain, Qum, Sarab, Saruk/ Sarough, Tabriz, Varamin. These are both ancient and modern day cities.

Many fine rugs come from Persia and can also be called Iranian carpets. Outside of Persia you will find fine rugs in: China, Afghanistan, Morocco, Nepal, Tibet, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. Depending on what part of Iran the rug was woven in, it will be given a sub name like: Isfahan, Nain, Qum, Tabriz and Mashad to list a few. The design of the rugs reflects the providence where it is hand woven. There are many different patterns and designs that have subdivisions of origins like the famous rug from the Iranian city of Isfahan: The Tree of Life.

Handmade quality rugs are built to last and pay for themselves over time when they appreciate in value. Not knowing this may make you think they are expensive. A well made silk or wool rug can last more than 100 years. Rugs also filter the air in your home and provide comfort for years to come. Appropriate maintenance will keep them looking their best and extend their longevity. Make sure to factor in the cost of professional cleaning every three to five years when purchasing a fine rug.

Some rugs are one-of-a-kind antiques, these attributes do make the rugs more valuable, scarce, and increase the price. Asking the right questions and doing research will help you determine whether an antique rug is right for you.

While you may feel intimated and afraid to, we encourage you to ask away! And we’ve even put together a list of four questions you may be afraid to ask, or just didn’t know to ask but absolutely should ask anyone selling fine rugs like Persian and Oriental rugs.

  1. You say this rug is hand-made, but is it hand-knotted or hand-tufted?

Some less-than-scrupulous dealers may say a rug is handmade, leading you to believe that each of the rug’s thousands upon thousands of knots have been tied by hand. However, a hand-tufted rug is woven by looping and securing the fibers with a special tool and glue. It is important to double-check that the dealer isn’t trying to sell you a “hand-tufted” rug. These are worth much less and don’t last long. There’s nothing wrong with buying a tufted rug, just know it should be much cheaper than a handmade rug.

Tufted rugs are made with a tufting gun looping threads through material not knotted or secured but covered by a layer of synthetic glue.  A hand-tufted rug is not a genuine hand-knotted rug.

  1. Will you show me the back of the rug, please?

Some rugs are quite large and heavy so a less than trustworthy rug dealer may use the rug’s heaviness as an excuse not to show you the rug’s back. The pattern on the back of a genuine hand-knotted rug will be almost as bright and detailed as the front of the rug. The back of a hand-tufted or machine-made rug will be blocked by a solid backing or feel very different than a handmade rug. The dealer may be reluctant to show you the back of a rug he’s said is hand-knotted but actually is not.

Insist upon seeing the back of any rug that is supposed to be hand-knotted, no matter how heavy the rug and how difficult it may be to turn it over.

  1. Why is this rug, of the same size as that one, more expensive?

Don’t be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t make sense to you. Chances are the reason one rug of the same size is more or less expensive than another is because one of the rugs is of far better quality and/or design than the other. Reasons one rug is more expensive than another include having more knots, being made of a better material like wool or silk, or it’s an antique and one-of-a-kind.

  1. May I take the rug home to see if it works in my house?

Many people assume that such expensive items as hand-knotted rugs can only go home with them if they’ve purchased it. But rug dealers are different: they understand that picturing a rug in one’s home is not the same as actually seeing it on one’s living or dining room floor, so they are quite happy to allow you to take the rug home for a day. (You’ll need to leave your credit card information- as well as sign a contract that stipulates that should you want to return the rug, you’ll bring it back in the exact condition as when it left the dealer’s showroom and if you choose to keep it the full amount of the rug will be charged to your account.)

If you’re shopping for a new rug, call 972-733-0400 and schedule a tour.

Infographic about questions you should ask a rug dealer