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Investment

There are two ways to consider Oriental rugs as an investment:

A.  Long term (New Oriental carpets)

B.  Short term (Semi-Antique & Antique carpets)

Depending on its size, age, quality of material, closeness of weave, rarity of design and colour combination, authenticity and condition, the value of an antique carpet can vary between $5000 to $200,000. As rare works of art, their value will continue to appreciate in the future more than a new rug.

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Materials

Natural Wools are the main material used in carpets. However, cotton, silk, goat hair, camel hair and and occasionally precious metals such as silver, gold and copper threads are also used in making an oriental rug.

Several factors determine the quality of wool in a carpet:

  • Climate is of utmost importance, as well as the diet of the sheep, the chemical composition of the water, and the altitude at which the sheep have lived and grazed.
  • The age and the part of sheep from which the wool is taken.
  • The softest and most luxurious wool is obtained by combining the young sheep in winter time, and is known as Kurk wool.
  • The wool from the shanks and belly is also very lustrous and pliable
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Oriental Rug Weaving Station

Weaving

A special characteristic of oriental carpets is that they are hand knotted. They are composed of three parts: the warp, the pile and weft. The warp is the combination of threads, usually of cotton and in some cases wool or silk. They are arranged vertically in parallel lines between the two ends of a loom. The pile is the visible surface of the carpet; it is made up of short threads of wool, silk or combinations of both knotted on the warp. The knots are placed in rows across the width of the carpet, never along the length.

The weft consists of one or more threads, nearly always of cotton, woven between one row of knots and the nest. There are basically four types of looms: horizontal, fixed, vertical, and Tabriz-type vertical. Persian / Senneh and Turkish / Ghiordes are the two types of knot, mainly used in carpet weaving.

Oriental Rug Maintenance

Oriental rugs do not have to be washed every year. Surface cleaning at home, with one of the good oil-based soaps and water can be done whenever it is needed, or once every two years. Depending on the condition of your carpet, thorough washing is needed only once every 10 years and should be done by the professional cleaner.

For regular cleaning, the use of any hard bristle brush is strongly recommended. Brush your rug from one end to the other, stroking against the weft. Finally brush lightly against the run of the pile. This method has been in use since the oriental carpet originated. It is simple and carefree. However the use of a regular suction/brush type vacuum cleaner is also suggested. During vacuuming, avoid catching fringes.

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Old, Semi-Antique, & Antique Carpets

When it comes to the description of the age of an oriental carpet, such concepts as “old, semi-antique and antique” are extremely vague. When new carpets may be a little stiff and dye mature, the colours become mellow and the carpet becomes more beautiful. As a rule, older carpets are more valuable than new. They are rare, their patterns deviate more often than those currently available, and they acquire their own patina.

In judging antiques, the historian of art will consider only carpets manufactured in the 18th century or earlier. The custom authorities and dealers classify all carpets over a century old an antique and thus they are duty free. As a general rule, carpets up to 50 years of age are considered to be “old” carpets; between 50 to 100 years they are “semi-antique”; over 100 years they are “antique”.

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Hand-made versus Machine-made Carpets

Oriental carpets differ greatly in general appearance. A machine-made oriental design carpet is made on a power loom and will look more even, precise, square and mechanical than a hand-made rug. A hand-made oriental rug will always have some variations in design, workmanship, colour or size. The back side of a hand-made rug will show the clarity of design and colour combination more clearly than a machine-made rug. A seperately made fringe and selvedge are sewn on the body of a machine-made carpet. However, a hand-made rug, by virtue of the warp and weft, has the fringes and selvedge as an integral part of the carpet.

An oriental rug lower would prefer to use any other type of floor covering rather than a machine-made copy of a carpet. This is because the machine-made oriental carpet, regardless of its authentic design is not considered an authentic oriental rug – even if they are manufactured in Persia. It is required by law that the machine-made rug be labeled as “Oriental design or style”. There will always be a great difference between the price of a hand-made and machine-made carpet, and both can never be compared for durability and artistic value. One will always have the human touch while the other is simply machine-made.

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Abrash

An abrash or belt of different shade, is a variation in colour- typical of some vegetable dyed carpets. It may occur spontaneously in weaving, when the previously dyed yarn comes to a fend and new skeins have to by dyed for the same rug. Since they do not use any modern technical methods, the wool is boiled for varying lengths of time, resulting in a darker or lighter shade in colour.

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