Buying Oriental Rugs
Myth #1: Oriental rugs are identified only by design
Design is only one component used to identify Oriental rugs. A technical analysis of the rug’s materials, construction, dyes and design is the method used to identify rugs.
Myth #2: All Oriental rugs appreciate in value
Most post-World War II rugs do not appreciate in value, nor will most rugs purchased new today appreciate in value. Consumers most likely paid more for some rugs in the 50s, 60s and 70s than they are worth today.
Myth #3: All old rugs are worth a lot
Condition is important when determining value. An old rug in poor condition is just an old rug. an old rug in good condition may also be without value if it lacks artistic merit. However, some old rugs are worth repairing and their value will increase with proper restoration.
Myth #4: Persian (Iranian) rugs are better than rugs from other countries
Some older, traditional Persian rugs (pre-WWII), such as Ferahan Sorauk, Motashem kashan, Tabriz, Bijar and Heriz tribal pieces, and other noteworthy examples will always have a market in the right conditions. Since the fall of Shah of Iran in 1979 and the embargo on Persian goods in 1987 (lifted March 1999), other countries have improved and increase their output of rugs. The quality of Persian rugs since the 1960s has gradually deteriorated. It is my opinion that the quality will return slowly in smaller quantities and higher prices. They have a lot of catching up to do.
Myth #5: Never clean or vacuum Oriental rugs
About 80% of soil in rugs is dry particulate matter. It acts as sandpaper and wears out the rug. Because some rugs are thick, if they are not regularly vacuumed and cleaned, the soil will become so embedded that it is impossible to remove all of it. Beware of any rug seller who says a rug should never be cleaned. What they really mean is the rug will not withstand cleaning due to the condition, foundation painting, or some other hidden defect.
Myth #6: Knot count is the best indication of value
The value of only a few traditional Persian rugs is partially determined by knot count. Examples are Nain and Isfahan. The value of silk rugs is also partially based on knot count. New, mass-produced rugs from China, India and Pakistan come in a variety of qualities and designs. Generally speaking, the more knots per square inch, the higher the price per square foot. Once these mass-produced rugs are used, their value in the secondary market is not based on knot count.
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