Antique rugs are more than just a special decorative item in your home. They can truly be part of a unique collection, as some of them are very rare and it would be a shame to use them as you would use any other rug.
Considering that some of them are rather old, made out of special natural materials, and can cost considerable amounts of money, they can be very well regarded as a rare piece of art that is worth collecting.
Before continuing with talking about the most collectible antique rugs, it is worth mentioning that the most expensive rug in the world was sold at the staggering sum of $4,450,000. Yes, we know, the sum can make your brain freeze. But when it comes to collectible, there are enthusiasts that don’t care about the price tag of their desired item.
So, having said all these, let us look at the world’s most collectible and desired antique rugs.
Silk Isfahan Rug
This particular rug may deserve the first position in our list, not just due to its fine materials, but also for its impressive price tag. The silk Isfahan rug is the one we mentioned earlier of selling at the hard-to-believe sum of $4,450,000. The item was sold by Christie’s and was purchased back in 2008.
Still, what led to the highest price tag ever used for a rug? As mentioned earlier, the rug is made out of silk. So, nothing but the purest and highest quality silk was utilized for the making of this rug. Besides this, the craftsmanship is simply stunning. The knot density is incredibly high, a rare occurrence when it comes to handmade rugs, and the colors used were numerous.
This indicates that a high amount of effort and time was invested in the making of this item. Before being sold in an auction, this highly valued rug belonged to Doris Duke, a famous heiress of a tobacco empire. If you would like a silk Isfahan rug, you should know that you can find them at more reasonable prices of just a few thousands of dollars.
The Ziegler Mahal Rug
The Ziegler Mahal rug definitely deserves occupying the second position, considering that it also managed to reach an impressive price tag, of no less than $182,500. Original from the central part of Persia, this gorgeous rug managed to stay in an excellent condition in spite of its age.
The combination of beautiful colors, bright terracotta and light blue, and large print are two other factors that contributed to the increased value and price tag of this rug. Without a doubt, such a rug is an amazing addition to the collection of any rug or ancient items enthusiast. It is worth mentioning that another Ziegler Mahal rug reached a similar selling price, earning its position as the third most expensive rug in the world.
In spite of the fact that it showed some wear and tear due to its age, the beautiful colors specific to Mahal rugs managed to convince someone to pay a considerable amount of $170,500 on it. Who got the rug can recondition and repair the damage and return the rug’s former glory.
The bright colors and unique design of this particular rug would have convinced anyone to pay the spicy price tag that came along with the rug. But, for connoisseurs, this item is a work of art, not just a mere rug. A shade of deep red is the main color of the rug and the pattern is simply breathtaking, even after so many years. Not to mention that the rug was made with a lot of attention to details.
Back in the days, when only wealthy people afforded to decorate their homes with rugs, the highest amount of effort was invested in the making of such items, which explains why antique rugs are so spectacular. The condition of this rug was also superior, so, with the right kind of attention, the rug will make its owner a very happy and proud person for very many years to come.
An Isfahan Rug
The most expensive Isfahan rug was also sold from a collection that previously belonged to Doris Duke, who was known as an enthusiastic rug collector. The truth is that this particular rug, sold at the sum of $116,500, has spectacular colors and a gorgeous design.
In spite of its age, the rug still has strong decorative power and can easily upgrade any interior space. With the right kind of care, such a rug can be enjoyed in a private collection for very many years to come. But, this rug has a special detail that is not commonly met in this kind of rugs. The border of the rug features a unique design representing vine leaves. Isfahan rugs don’t usually come with this kind of designs, which makes this particular rug one-of-a-kind in its group.
It is believed that the inspiration for this pattern came from the Persian rugs that were made somewhere in the 16th century. They are the ones that brought vine patterns into the world of rugs and carpets.
Mohatashem Kashan Rug
A Mohatashem Kashan rug original from Persia managed to reach the top of the most expensive collective antique rugs in the world when it was sold by the famous Sotheby’s for the amount of $92,500. The colors were very well chosen and the design is a very intricate one.
Having such a rug in the room will definitely change the style and entire atmosphere of that particular space. The craftsmanship of this rug is something that must be admired, considering the large number of details this rug provides.
The Mohatashem types are the most sought-after and appreciated rugs of the Kashan group, and this particular piece only proves just how beautiful and valuable such a rug can be. Of course, this Mohatashem Kashan rug managed to exceed the ordinary and provide a pattern that is very hard to find, if not even impossible.
Portuguese Armorial Rug
It is interesting to see that a Portuguese antique rug managed to find its way among the most expensive and collectible antique rugs of the world. Sold at the price of $80,500, it is not as expensive as the ones mentioned earlier, but its price tag is indeed considerable. The details that can be seen on the rug are more than impressive and finely executed.
The most attractive part of the rug is the central medallion. Of course, the surrounding borders cannot be ignored either, as they were made with a high degree of attention to details. The colors are soft but pleasant, giving you the impression that you are looking at a painting, and not at a rug.
Fereghan Sarouk Rug
It is impossible to remain indifferent at the sight of this antique rug. The colors are very much alive even today, as a shade of deep brick red color is predominant in the design of the rug. It is worth mentioning that both the colors and design pattern provided by this item are typical and highly representative for Fereghan Sarouk rugs.
This is why rug collectors are constantly keeping their eyes opened for such rugs, explaining why this particular item was so desired. Someone wanted this rug sufficiently in order to accept to pay the $74,500 that came along with the rug.
For those enjoying the beauty of Sarouk rugs, but not willing to spend such amounts of money, it is worth mentioning that this type of rugs can be found at more accessible price tags.
Some may exceed $1000 while others will go beyond this amount. It all depends on the size, age, patter, and craftsmanship of the rug. But, it is not impossible to enjoy such a rug in your living room.
Clark Sickle-Leaf Rug
We are talking about a particular rug that belonged to the collection of William A. Clark, who was both an entrepreneur and politician. This antique rug was made in the 17th century, featuring the typical bright red color of those days and intricate patterns. The rug was sold at the sum of $33.7 million to a collector that did not want to reveal his identity.
The truth is that this rug has the power to take your breath away, considering that it was made in times when technology was not available and machines were rudimentary. So, the amount of details and finesse of the craftsmanship is truly impressive.
Also belonging to the 17th century, a so-called “Vase” rug, which is more precisely an Oriental antique rug, earned the name of being the most expensive artwork ever made in the Islamic world.
According to specialists, the rug was made by the Kirman weavers, which belonged to the Safavid period. Its colors and design inspire balance and calmness, being relatively simple in comparison with other Oriental rugs. But, even so, the carpet has its unique charm, costing its owner almost $10 million in 2010.
If you are in the market for Persian
rugs, it is important to understand the different types that are
available. This is especially true if you are shopping for antique
rugs as some types are in higher demand compared to others.
What follows is a list of many
different types of Persian rugs. It is not a complete list, but it
does describe the more popular types that are on the market today.
Generally speaking, these antique rugs
have simpler, yet still beautiful designs. Made by the Afshar tribe
located in the southeast portion of Iraq, the rugs themselves use a
brown, ivory, red, rust, and blue color schemes. The older rugs tend
to be smaller in size, which is how you can tell them apart from
modern copies which tend to be bigger.
Featuring motifs from the Caucasus, the
rug itself is quite striking in its color schemes and designs. The
cotton foundation makes it light, yet durable and perfect for those
who want a beautiful rug for their home.
This rug is from the Bakhtiari tribe
and not common outside the Persian region because they are not often
woven for sale outside the region. Instead, they are made to meet the
requirements of the tribe, so finding one on sale is a rare
You’ll see lots of blue or red fields
that feature highlights of green or ivory. There are also plenty of
medallions that are surrounded by a Herati pattern. This
distinguishing the rug from other types, although they do share many
similarities with other Persian rugs.
Also called iron rugs, these are rugs
which are primarily made to withstand foot traffic. They tend to be
long and relatively narrow. Plus, their weave is quite tight and when
combined with the materials used to make the rug, very resistant.
This type of ancient rug will feature
many motifs of floral which are set in ivory or red fields. They will
be highlighted with pinks and blues. Plus, many of the rugs will
feature a medallion in the center, creating a symmetrical appearance.
Long, relatively narrow, and
beautifully designed, this type of rug is woven in Hamedan’s
southern region. You’ll find color schemes of ivory, red, and blue
which makes them quite beautiful along with being durable and perfect
for hallways or display.
This type of rug is distinguished by
its wide borders, strong color palette, and relatively basic, if bold
patterns. Another aspect that distinguishes this rug is the low knot
count and the thick pile of material that makes it quite unique.
This is arguably one of the most common
types of Persian rugs. They feature many different designs and can be
found in most antique shops that emphasize rugs. They offer beautiful
patterns, but their commonality is mostly due to the number of them
which has been made.
This is a large-type of Persian rug
that often features medallions boldly depicted in the center. Such
medallion designs tend to dominate this type of rug. They also has
mostly ivory or red fields with complicated design patterns. For
designers, they are highly prized for their celebrated attributes.
Unique for its symmetrical design that
uses both wool and silk, the Isfahan rugs also feature a singular
medallion surrounded by vines. The color schemes include rose, blue,
or indigo that is all woven on an ivory background.
Created from wool that is woven over
cotton, Johsaghan rugs usually feature diamond patterns with floral
motifs that make them stand out. The lattice-designs are quite
striking and beautiful, making them a popular type of rug.
A standard Persian rug design that
features a medallion in the center which is surrounded by floral
patterns, these rugs also boast a color scheme which uses blue,
ivory, and red in the mixture. They are usually large, durable, and
quite striking in their appearance.
Perhaps the most prototypical of all Persian rugs, the Kashan is a beautifully-designed work of art. The combination of ivory, red, and blue color schemes that meld together in fine patterns is something that cannot be matched. It also helps that Kashan rugs are created with high-quality wools that are quite durable and hold their color for many years. The distinctive curvilinear patterns helps make this one of the most distinctive antique rugs you can find.
Named after the city of Kerman, Iran,
this is a special type of rug because it is relatively rare on the
open market. They are distinguished by their fine weaves and
pictorial scenes which are often quite elaborate. Using cotton or
wool foundations, the rugs also feature a styling which is
curvilinear and dotted with floral motifs.
Sometimes called Melayers, the
Maslaghan features lightning-bolt designs. You can also find
medallions on the rug with plenty of orange, blue, and red color
made from high quality wool, Nain rugs are quite distinctive and
often feature 300 to 700 knots per square inch. There are intertwined
branches of green or blue amid tiny flowers that are woven into an
ivory or pale background.
The beautiful roses, blues, and reds
are the design and color schemes most associated with this venerable
rug. What makes the Sarouk distinctive is the weft of blue cotton
used for the foundation. This adds density to the rug while also
making it more durable.
Originally from Tabriz, Azerbaijan, this is one of the oldest types of Persian rugs in the region. The combination of wool or wool/silk and silk warp or cotton warp makes them highly prized. They are distinguished by the beautiful patterns that range from floral, tree, scenes of hunting, and teardrop medallions. Most antique Tabriz rugs can only be found in exclusive private collections or museums, so running across one that is available is quite rare.
A very colorful rug, you can find many
of them in markets around the world. What makes their design
distinctive is the latch-hook arranged in vertical rows that also
you like to enjoy the beauty of an oriental rug in your home? But, do
you know the difference between an oriental rug and a Persian rug?
Many people believe that these two are one and the same thing or that
they are related in some way. Considering that genuine oriental rugs
are not that cheap and that there are fakes on the market, you should
know as much information as possible before shopping for oriental
rugs online. This way, you will know for sure what you purchase and
enjoy the high-quality and beautiful ambiance triggered by an
authentic oriental rug.
rugs and how to identify one?
term “oriental rugs” makes reference to rugs coming from various
countries of the Orient or Eastern world. This means India, Turkey,
China, Egypt, Tibet, Pakistan, and Iran. Looking at this, it is easy
to tell that Persian rugs can actually be considered as oriental
rugs. However, it is worth knowing that not all oriental rugs will be
Persian rugs. So, pay a lot of attention to this slight, yet very
important difference between the oriental and Persian rugs.
oriental rugs come from so many countries, they will indeed be
different when it comes to designs, patterns, and materials. Before
deciding to purchase an oriental rug, it is worth setting your
expectancy in regard to this type of item? How would you like your
oriental rug to look and feel? For example, oriental rugs made in
China contain silk fibers, so they will be soft and elegant, and will
usually feature natural landscapes or elements. Oriental rugs, in
spite of their classic design, even worn and faded pattern, have a
unique charm and work amazingly well even in modern indoor spaces.
So, it is definitely worth taking the time to find an oriental rug
that is of high quality and can answer to your needs and preferences.
rugs and how to identify one?
term “Persian rugs” makes reference to rugs made where once was
the Persian Empire. This means the area where Pakistan and Iran lie
today. The majority of Persian rugs are made in Iran, but it is not
uncommon to find this kind of rugs made in Pakistan as well. In order
to be able to properly identify a Persian rug, you must pay attention
to the special characteristics of these rugs. Persian rugs will
feature an outer border that will beautifully outline the rug. This
outer border will be followed by an inner border, which is a bit
thicker and has another border, thinner this time, within it. In the
center of a Persian rug, you would usually find a gorgeous medallion
with a lot of intricate details. The medallion is also surrounded by
small details made to decorate it even more. Another aspect that is
worth having in mind is the fact that Persian rugs are made with rich
and warm colors. You will find these rugs featured shades of deep red
and gold. These two are mainly preferred, but it is possible to find
blue and other colors on Persian rugs, like light green. Because they
are so colorful and adorned with so many details, these are the kind
of rugs that work best inside traditional houses. They have the power
to create a warm and welcoming environment.
differences that set these two types of rugs apart
oriental rug is hand-knotted while the Persian rug is handmade, at it
presents a higher quality when it comes to craftsmanship. The
oriental rug comes from various countries in Asia, like Turkey and
Egypt, while the Persian rug comes only from Iran and, on rare
occasions, in Pakistan. But, in spite of the fact that these two
types of rugs are indeed different, the Persian rug is actually one
of the seven sub-categories of oriental rugs. This is due to the fact
that the term oriental rug makes reference to all the rugs made in
the Orient area, which includes the countries that compose the
However, when it comes to Persian rugs, they are the perfect reflection of a long history and cherished traditions. If painting didn’t exist back in the days, people chose to decorate their homes with rugs, and they used motifs and designs that represented their daily lives and beliefs. Thus, the elements and craftsmanship of a Persian rug will reflect only the skills and traditions that were developed by the people in this area alone. This is why the Persian rug is a very specific kind of rug, while oriental rugs is a group of rugs that includes items with a wide variety of details, designs, patterns, and colors. Of course, oriental rugs are handmade as well, but only if you choose to buy high-quality oriental rugs.
the design of Persian rugs, it is worth knowing that the types of
this particular rug bear the name of the villages where the rugs were
initially created. Because Persian rugs are so closely connected to
tradition, each area developed a particular type of weaving or
pattern. Thus, Persian rugs will have names like Kerman, Kashan,
Heriz, and Tabriz. All these names represent not just villages, but
also cities or nomadic tribes of the former Persian Empire. So, each
time you will opt for a Persian rug, you will actually get a piece of
the local traditions along with the rug. Their colors are also
amazing and they will certainly upgrade the décor of any interior
space. It is worth knowing that it took more than one year for a
Persian rug to be completed, due to its tight knot system that is
made entirely by hand. Also, for the making of one rug, 5 to 6
craftsmen used to work six hours every day until it was completed.
rugs, on the other hand, contain symbol and patterns of the region
from which they came, not of a particular village or tribe. So, they
are more general and diverse in terms of design. A rug that is made
in China, for example, will be made out of silk and may represent the
life of Buddhist monks, as the material and motifs are specific to
that part of the world.
price differences between a Persian and Oriental Rug
probably wonder if there are any price differences between Persian
rugs and the oriental rugs. One thing is for sure and that is the
fact that handcrafted rugs will be more expensive than machine-made
rugs, the kind you can find in almost any store. You will pay a high
price indeed, but handmade rugs and carpets are an investment worth
made, as they will last for much longer periods. All you need to do
is take proper care of the rugs and they will not lose their beauty
price tag of such a rug depends on the size, condition, and age of
the rug. So, they can range from a few hundreds of dollars and can go
up to several tens of thousands of dollars. The best part is that the
offer is varied, so you can find a Persian or oriental rug on the
desired size, which will fit great no matter where you want to place
them. Whether it is the living room, bedroom, or dining room, these
rugs will be an amazing addition that you will cherish for years in a
Just don’t forget to keep an eye on the particularities of these rugs when looking to purchase one, in order to make sure that you will get the real thing. Unfortunately, there are quite enough fakes on the market that doesn’t go near the quality and charm offered by authentic Persian or oriental rugs. While it is good to know the distinct signs of each type and what sets them apart, you can always ask for the opinion of an expert, especially when you’re looking to spend consistent amounts of money. After all, you want to make sure that the rug you are about to purchase will indeed offer the degree of quality you are looking to find.
the end of this guide, you will have the basic knowledge required to
identify a Persian rug and set it apart from an oriental rug. Still,
looking for oriental rugs online involves certain risks you should be
aware of. Make sure you choose your provider right, to avoid any
unpleasant surprised. See if the provider can offer proper
information about the rug and it the business is reliable, by
checking out reviews and what customers have to say about it. With a
bit of care and attention, you will become the happy owner of a
gorgeous oriental or Persian rug, depending on your preferences. If
you’re looking for an indoor style upgrade, any of these two rugs
will help you get there.
“To design a home is to design happiness.” Everyone wants their home to look the best. Rugs are one of the best décor items for enhancing the beauty of your home. A rug has the power to entirely modernize a room like other decor items. Itadds classiness and comfort to any living space. They possess the ability to enhance the decorative proportion of a space.
One can decorate its house with a wide variety of rugs like Persian rugs and oriental rugs, shaggy rugs, and Turkish rugs etc available in the market. They come in different sizes, colors, patterns, geometric sizes etc. One has to carefully examine the kind of rug he wants for its living place. While choosing the best rug for your living space, one needs to consider the following parameters:
Rugs come in many different sizes, styles, patterns etc. One requires a different rug for a dining room, bedroom, or living room. You can measure the size of the area for which you require these rugs. Most of them come in standard sizes like 6′ x 9′, 8′ x 10′, 9′ x 12′, 10′ x 14′, and 12′ x 15′. You can choose the one that best fits your living space.
The design is not just about the math, it’s often all about balance. Rugs usually come in many unique styles and patterns. One has to select the best pattern rug that complements the area for which he is choosing. For a dining room, you can choose a rug that goes well with your furniture. Some of the best Persian and Oriental rug styles are Nain Persian area rug, Bakhtiari Persian area rug, Gabbeh oriental area rug etc.
When it comes to material, the most important thing to think about is how hard you’re going to be on the floors. You need a rug that is durable in wear and tear. The Persian and oriental rugs are the best choice for one’s living space. They come in 5 different materials that include wool, cotton, jute, silk, and animal hair. Silk and wool are lovely as they give a spectacular bit of shimmer to the room.
Color plays an important role while choosing rugs. Opt for a neutral or single color if there are already too many colors in the space. Keeping in mind the color of floors and walls is an essential thing while selecting the appropriate rug. On the other hand, you can prefer a bright color or bold pattern rugs to give a new dimension to space.
One parameter to be considered while choosing rugs is your budget. Everyone wants best in less money. One can shop the affordable Persian rugs for his living area online. Get the estimate of the type of rug you want from the best online rug websites and get the best one for you.
Now you are all geared up to select the best rug for you. So, go ahead and choose one that fits your budget, looks beautiful in your room, and perfectly go with your decor!
When it comes to a rug, most of the people confuse between Oriental and Persian rugs. For many people both the types are same. But it’s not like that; there are lots of differences between them. Whenever you visit a store to buy real and cheap Persian rugsor oriental rugs make sure you are aware of the features of both types.
A right knowledge or an expert advice can help you get a traditional and real carpet to enhance the beauty of your house. You should not spend the money to buy such things that can’t give you complete satisfaction and happiness.
Here are some guidelines that can help choose a rug of your choice:
These rugs are one of the favorite choices of the people. The country in which these are crafted is Iran, modern-day Persia. People also consider these rugs high in quality because these can stay for the long-duration without losing their shine and value and as its get older the value goes up since the rug gets more valuable
Material that is basically used for crafting these mats is sheep wool. Before the Industrial Revolution Nomadic Tribes were common in Iran who took sheep as a source of food, trade, and wool.
From that time, artisans are creating the intricate patterns in their carpets by tying thousands of knots in a rug by hands.
Do you know why a Persian rug can survive for the years? No?
The reason for it is that they are well oiled with lanolin – a natural wax found in domestic sheep wool.
A traditional Persian mat is designed basically in four patterns:
In this design pattern, you will find a repetition of the geometric or floral pattern across the entire field.
This pattern features an oval, a circular or contrasting design in the center of the carpet. The central feature can be a geometric design, contrasting blank space, and even a text or animal shape design.
A compartment is somehow similar to an all-over pattern. It has also repeating pattern of discrete geometric of floral designs, each compartment can be diamond, square, or an interlocking design.
This pattern style is normally asymmetrical. It does not mean that such rugs have an uneven design. It means when a carpet is folded in half, the design on one side differentiates from the design on another side.
The colors that are used to dye the wool are indigo, red, rust tones, ivory, sage, and golden yellow.
An important thing that is necessary to know is that all Persian rugs are considered Oriental rugs. But all Oriental rugs are not considered Persian rugs.
These mats are crafted in some different countries other than Iran such as:
Oriental carpets also have the similar designs patterns like Persian rugs in some way. They often contain the flora and fauna patterns using a more curved lines quality than Persian design. Such carpets designs also include mountains, lakes, trees, and fields.
Many patterns also create the three-dimensional effects that include the flowers, trees, and clouds in their designs.
These carpets are colored with rich blue, apricot, yellow, and some slight pink tones.
These were some basic differences that can help you find the real Persian or an Oriental rug. You can visit a well-known store of your place where you can get a good Persian rug sale for buying an authentic thing for the decoration of your home.
Handmade Persian rugs rank as some of the most popular rugs, but identifying an authentic Persian rug is often difficult. Doing your research is an important step in purchasing a quality carpet, from understanding the different materials and construction methods to identifying an authentic rug. Learn all about this style with our Persian rugs guide.
Overview of Persian Rugs
The Persian rug label applies only to rugs handmade by artisans in Iran. The area was once known as Persia, which is where the rug name originates. The earliest Persian rugs served a practical purpose as floor mats to keep cold floors warm. The weavers eventually began incorporating motifs into the designs, often connected to the specific geographical area where the rugs were made. The rugs became symbolic of nomadic cultures, making them meaningful and valuable.
Persian rugs are most often hand woven by nomadic artisans in Iran. Wool is the most common material used to make the rugs. It is soft yet durable, and wool is readily available to weavers in Iran. While local wool is often used, Iranian weavers sometimes use imported wool from New Zealand or Australia. Early nomadic weavers used wool from their own sheep to create the rugs.
Silk is sometimes incorporated into Persian rug design, but natural silk is very costly, so it isn’t used as often as wool. While silk is a very fine material, it is also very strong. Still, silk rugs aren’t recommended in rooms with high foot traffic. Some rug designs use a mixture of wool and silk to emphasize certain details while keeping the overall rug highly durable.
Persian rugs typically feature intricate detailing and beautiful designs, which makes them a bit like artwork for your floor. The quality materials and time-tested construction methods render authentic Persian rugs highly durable, long-lasting and able to withstand foot traffic. Many old Persian rugs are still in existence.
How to Identify a Genuine Persian Rug from a Fake Persian Rug
Because Persian rugs are so popular and potentially valuable, you’ll find many imitation versions on the market. Manufacturers and vendors try to pass off these rugs as the real thing, but there are very distinct differences, particularly in the quality. Fortunately, you have a few different methods of checking out rugs to make sure they are authentic Persian rugs.
Persian Rug Country of Origin Labels
Look for a label on the back side of the rug as your first clue about whether or not it is authentic. If it is a genuine Persian rug, it should list the country of origin as Iran, as all authentic Persian rugs are made here. If the label lists the country of origin as Turkey, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Nepal, India or Pakistan, the rug isn’t considered a true Persian rug. Instead, it falls under the more general term of Oriental rug. That doesn’t mean the rug is poor quality. It simply means it’s not an authentic Persian rug.
Hand-Knotted Persian Rugs
Traditional, authentic Persian rugs are made by hand using natural materials. You can identify a genuine hand-woven Persian rug by folding the rug back onto itself. Look at the base of the pile, where you should be able to see the distinct rows of knots. Another way to determine if a rug is hand-knotted is by looking at the back of the carpet. When the piece is hand-knotted, you should be able to see the design on the back of the rug, not just on the front. Machine-made rugs tend to have thicker backings without a visible design showing.
When considering a hand-knotted Persian rug, the type of knot can indicate if the rug is an authentic Persian carpet. Persian rugs traditionally feature a single looping knot. Turkish rugs, in comparison, use a double looping knot. If you’re looking at antique Persian rugs, look for single-loop knots. Modern Persian rugs may use the double looping knot, so this test may not hold true if you’re looking at brand new Persian rugs.
Persian Rug Patterns and Designs
Persian rug designs and patterns tend to fall in certain categories. Recognizing those designs can help you identify a true Persian rug and choose a style that fits your preferences. More than 2,500 years ago, when Persian rug design developed, the patterns varied based on the specific tribes weaving them. Every village had slightly different styles and patterns, which often related to the specific religions, traditions, history and geography of that particular village.
Rugs created in Iranian cities often follow design plates, which tell the artisan which color to use for each knot. Rugs made in villages or tribes may also use this template method. However, many of these rugs are also designed through the creativity of the individual artisan weaving the rug. Tribal and village rugs tend to have a more raw appearance because of this creativity. While some people prefer the perfection of a template-designed rug, others prefer the authenticity of a raw design.
Some of the styles and their distinguishing features include:
Abadeh: A large center diamond and smaller corner diamonds characterize this style, named after its city of origin.
Afshar: These Persian rugs often feature geometric patterns with a large central design featuring squared medallions. Red and blue are common colors for these rugs.
Ardebil: Named after a province by the same name, this style is characterized by a diamond medallion and small fish in the design.
Baluch: Blue, red and brown often dominate these small Persian rugs.
Bidjar: Known for durable, compact pile, these rugs often feature a fish pattern, medallions or floral motifs.
Birjand: Light red, vivid blue and ivory are the colors commonly used on these rugs, which feature borders with lots of detailing.
Gabbeh: This distinct style of Persian rug often features a simple design, usually with rectangular elements with animals integrated into the pattern.
Hamadan: Named after one of the oldest cities in the world, this style of rug often features a varying pattern with repeated elements, including medallions.
Heriz: These rugs, produced in the northwestern Iranian city of the same name, feature distinct designs with large right-angled medallions and large corner sections.
Isfahan: Isfahan rugs feature known for their thin construction with a high knot density. Designs often replicate mosque tile work or garden designs.
Kashmar: Traditional Kashmar rugs typically use cream, light blue and ivory in the designs.
Mashad: Rugs from the holy city of Mashad often feature medallion patterns and often come in large sizes.
Nain: Nain rugs are very popular and often feature a middle medallion plus arabesques and floral patterns.
Navahand: Small nomadic designs surrounding a large central medallion commonly decorate these rugs. They use a cotton foundation, which produces notable softness on the rug.
Tabriz: These Persian rugs often feature a central medallion with arabesques, weeping willows and cypresses surrounding it. The four seasons motif is also popular with this type of carpet, as are ancient palaces and ruins.
Persian Rug Weaving
Persian rug weaving traditionally uses a hand-woven technique that takes several months to a year or more to make. Machine-spun Persian rugs aren’t considered true Persian rugs in the traditional sense, but they can provide a suitable stand-in if you have a limited budget yet still want the look of a Persian rug.
Hand-Woven Persian Rugs
As the name suggests, a hand-spun Persian rug is a carpet made by hand. On a hand-knotted Persian rug, the artisan creating the rug ties each knot individually by hand. Each piece of the pile is wrapped around the foundation and then tied. Handmade rugs are more expensive due to the time-consuming construction method, but they’re also more valuable. They tend to gain value, making them an investment in addition to a home décor item. If you choose to sell an authentic, hand-knotted Persian rug in the future, the rug won’t lose value.
These handmade rugs are made on a loom. Horizontal looms feature four wooden bars as the frame, with the distance between the bars determining the width and length of the rug. Stakes or nails secure the loom to the ground in a horizontal orientation. The weaver typically sits on the ground to create the rug. This style of loom is popular for nomadic weavers, as it is much easier to assemble and disassemble. Rugs made on horizontal looms tend to be smaller.
Vertical looms stand upright and are often found in workshops or in cities rather than nomadic areas. The vertical loom also has four sides. The weaver sits or stands near the loom to create the rug.
Hand-knotted rugs start with a foundation of warps, which are vertical strands running through the rug. They create the structure for the rug. The artisan weaves and ties the individual pieces of wool around those warps to form the design. A weft strand goes between each of the rows. The wefts are inserted after each row of knots is tied. The tightly packed weft strand keeps the knots firmly in place.
These authentic hand-woven Persian rugs are unique and individual, even if they are made from a pattern, because they are tied by hand. They take months or years to make, so you get the satisfaction of knowing a lot of care and artisanship went into your rug.
Machine-Woven Persian Rugs
Modern production methods have changed the Persian carpet manufacturing business to some degree. While many rugs are still hand-knotted by artisans, rugs may also be woven on a power loom. These machine-woven rugs aren’t considered as valuable as hand-knotted rugs, but they still offer the traditional motifs and patterns at a lower cost.
Considering a Persian Rug? Here Are a Few Things to Look For
Knowing how to spot an authentic Persian rug is an important first step in making your purchase. Several other factors help you narrow down the options to find the best carpet for your home. Look at the following details to make your selection.
Persian Rug Sizes
Persian rugs come in a variety of sizes, from small accent rugs to large area rugs and long runner rugs. Measure your area carefully to help you decide what size to order. Determine how much of the floor you want the rug to cover. You can also use your measuring tape to determine how a Persian rug of a different size might fit into the space. For example, you might find an antique rug you love in a size slightly smaller or larger than you want. Testing out different sizes helps you decide if that rug will still work for your space.
Persian rugs for sale vary in price, with size being a major factor. Large Persian rugs naturally cost more because they take longer to make and use more materials. You can get a small Persian accent rug for a moderate price if you want the authentic quality without investing in a large Persian rug. If you’re on a limited budget, consider bumping down to a smaller size to get Persian rug quality while staying within your price range.
Handmade or Machine-Spun Wool
Before artisans weave the wool into the carpet, it goes through the spinning process, which essentially twists the fibers together into a long, continuous strand. The wool used to make rugs is either hand spun or machine spun.
Wool that is spun by hand is generally more costly and valuable. When spun by hand, wool tends to have irregularities in the twist simply because the person spinning the wool tightens it more in certain areas inadvertently. It also has more texture than machine-spun wool and offers greater strength. Hand-spun wool absorbs dye well, making the colors vivid. However, there may be some difference in color since tighter-spun areas absorb less dye than looser areas. You may also notice a difference in how the wool feels on hand-spun Persian rugs. It tends to have a soft, fleecy feeling. Essentially, hand-spun wool creates a more authentic, handmade feel and look to the rug.
A machine-spun Persian rug is generally less expensive. It has a more uniform look to it compared to hand-spun wool rugs. Some people prefer that uniform look, while others prefer the more organic look of hand-spun wool. Machine-spun wool also absorbs the dye more evenly, which creates greater consistency in the coloring. Persian rugs made with machine-spun wool tend to have a more even, finished look.
If you look at a hand-spun rug next to a machine-spun rug, you can likely notice the differences if you pay attention to the consistency of the color and the look of the pile. Choose a hand-spun wool rug if you like a more rustic, authentic look with some variations throughout that give it a handmade look. If you prefer a more polished look with no variation in the coloring or the pile, look for a machine-spun Persian rug.
Natural or Synthetic Dyes
The color palette found in Persian rugs comes from either natural or synthetic dyes. Natural dyes are more traditional for this style of rug, making them a more popular choice and a more costly option. Early Persian rugs used vegetable-based dyes, and many people still feel Persian rugs should only use vegetable dyes. Rugs tinted with natural dyes tend to have a more limited color palette than synthetic dye rugs. However, the color is often very saturated and beautiful without being overly harsh. The colors almost seem to have a glow to them.
Yarn colored with natural dye also blends well with other colors. The natural dye seems to create a harmonious look no matter what colors are paired together. This is because while certain natural components used to create the dye have a prominent color, they also tend to have elements of other hues in them. For example, madder, which is used to create reddish dyes, also reflects blue and yellow, so it blends with neighboring colors that have those hues in them. Synthetic dyes are monochromatic, so they won’t reflect those other colors.
While natural dyes are traditional, synthetic dyes have been used in the rugs for more than 100 years. The synthetic dyes expand the range of colors available to weavers when compared to vegetable dyes. However, vegetable dyes tend to have a more natural look. If you look closely at a rug colored with vegetable dyes, you’ll notice some variation in the coloring rather than one consistent color. This variegation adds to the character of the rug, adding a pleasing, irregular effect. While there is some debate on longevity, natural dyes are generally considered to last longer than synthetic dyes.
Much like the hand-spun versus machine-spun debate, deciding between a rug colored with natural dye or synthetic dye often comes down to the look you want. If you want a traditional feel with some slight irregularity in the coloring, choose a rug made with natural vegetable dyes. If you prefer consistency in color with a wider range of color options, look for a rug made with synthetic dyes.
Persian Rug Age
Authentic Persian rugs gain value over time, especially when they are well maintained. Genuine Persian rugs can cost thousands of dollars, particularly if they are antiques and have been well maintained. They are valuable and highly collectible, which can make true antique rugs expensive and difficult to find.
Modern rugs are often made to look like antique Persian rugs. Buying from a reputable dealer is important to avoid getting tricked into buying a so-called antique rug that’s actually not old at all. In some cases, you might decide to buy a new rug designed to look old on purpose. You get the look of an antique rug without the high price tag that comes with a true antique Persian rug.
You can find Persian rugs in a variety of styles and designs both antique and new. Many of the designs remain very traditional, even on newer rugs. If you like a particular traditional style but don’t want to pay for an antique rug, you can likely find a similar design in a new Persian rug.
If you do buy an antique Persian rug, ensure you know the condition of the rug first. Some older rugs have visible wear or are fragile because of their age. You’ll pay more for a well-maintained antique rug, but it will last longer than one that is worn or frayed.
Where to Buy Persian Rugs Online
Browsing Persian rugs online lets you easily compare the detailing, price, size and other features. You typically get a much wider variety of styles and patterns online, and you can easily search for specific patterns, styles or sizes of rugs. Cheap Persian rugs online should be considered carefully. Buy from a trustworthy online rug retailer to ensure you’re getting an authentic Persian rug of high quality.
The general Persian rug style fits well into almost any design scheme, but there are some major differences in the actual designs. You’ll find everything from large, geometric patterns to ornate, intricate detailing. Browse the different types of Persian rugs to find the style that best fits your preferences.
From there, hone in on the particular color scheme that works well with the furnishings you already have in the room. Wool naturally resists stains, but darker colors in high-traffic areas tend to hide stains and dirt better than light-colored designs. For example, an ivory-based design in your main living area or entryway may not be the best color choice.
Following our Persian rug guide helps you select a quality, authentic floor covering perfect for your space. Rug Source offers a wide selection of discount Persian rugs online. Browse our selection, and work with our dedicated sales team to find a floor-covering option that fits your needs and preferences.