Buying an Oriental rug is an important decision. Although our best customer is an educated one, we realize that not everyone has had an opportunity to learn about rugs. Here is some information we hope might help you make a more informed decision about purchasing an Oriental rug.
Buying a rug that you love will in the long run give you more pleasure than a rug that seems to be a bargain. In the world of rugs, there are seldom true bargains. Rug dealers almost always know more about rugs than their customers. Dealers have been involved with rugs for many years. G.O.B.’s ("Going out of Business" sales) are unfortunately ubiquitous and dishonest. One must also be wary of discounts that seem too good to be true. Any rug dealer offering outrageous discounts must be pricing his rugs too high to begin with. Hotel auctions and one-day traveling or seasonal rug sellers never offer top quality rugs. Ultimately you must come to trust the dealer, and this can take more than one afternoon.
Those new to rug buying should expect their eye to develop. They will come to appreciate quality that might not be obvious at first. Natural vegetal dyes and handspun wool are descriptive terms that have implications regarding quality. There is more to a good rug than meets the eye. One can learn the feel of good wool and the look of natural dyes. This too will take time.
Design, color, size, lifestyle, price, quality. These are all important factors that will help you decide what the right piece is. We encourage you to take us up on our no obligation, 3 day in-home approval program so that you can try a few rugs out before you make a commitment to an heirloom piece.
Unsure where to start? No idea what size you should be looking for? Start here, with our Rug & Room Layout guides.
Work with a reputable dealer.
Good dealers will have rug books in their library. Ask the dealer what books they particularly like. Hopefully they loan or sell reference books as a service to their customers. One should avoid "going-out-of-business" sales and hotel auctions that advertise "seized goods". You won't find either the best rugs or the best prices. There isn't a better bargain than the rug you buy from an honest, informed dealer.
Recognizing a quality rug.
Rugs in our shop have a distinctive look and feel. They are hand knotted of hand-spun wool which is washed only with mild soap and water before being dyed. This process helps to retain the natural lanolin that makes wool such a wonderful fiber. Rugs made of this wool resist stains better and last longer. Our rugs also look different because of natural dyes, which are derived from vegetal matter. The abrash, or color striation, that is achieved from the combination of using natural dyes on hand-spun wool is highly desirable. To produce this effect, the dye is naturally absorbed differently in the thicker and thinner areas of the hand-spun wool; this does not occur in mechanically spun wool as that is too consistent, nor does is occur in rugs made from synthetic materials, such as polypropylene or nylon. Vegetable dyes are a renewable resource, are non-toxic, and have a lovely glow about them. You will find our rugs beautiful, unusual and affordable.
Where do our rugs come from?
Rugs and carpets come to us directly from village cooperatives and tribal communities. Aryana rugs are made by Turkoman tribal weavers in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, or just over the border in Afghanistan. These rugs are woven of raw, hand-carded, hand-spun Karaqul wool from Afghanistan. Because of hand-dipped natural dyeing techniques, high lanolin content, and the uneven density of hand-spun wool, color variation (abrash) will occur. This variation is prized by collectors of fine rugs. From Afghan refugee weavers now in Pakistan we also get our Antique Aryana, Hazara, Bamiyan, Faryab, Nooristan, Shums, Aamu and Sumac weaves.
Our Folk Life™, Kentwilly™, Euphrates™, Rubia™, Fine Rubia™ and East Falls™ rugs are made in northeast Turkey by ‘Woven Legends’. Kurd weavers delight in a profusion of bright, primary colors. The Azeri™ weave is heavy, presenting a Bidjar-like density. The wool comes from fat-tailed Karaman sheep. Plants and roots used for the vegetal dyes are locally grown. Each village forms its own cooperative, joining with other villages to establish dye centers and weaving schools for young people. We will be happy to loan you an educational video ("This Beautiful Country") which presents the Azeri™ weavers of northern Turkey.
From "Project for Cultural Survival" we receive rugs made by Tibetan refugees in Nepal, as well as traditional Ersari Turkoman tribal weavings from Northern Pakistan. Tibetan rugs are woven of lanolin-rich Himalayan Highland wool. This long-wearing luxurious wool results in rugs soft enough to be used as sleeping mats. Younger weavers present us with ‘gaon nauksha’, fantastic folk rugs that depict village, jungle or city life. All dyes used are indigenous to Nepal.