An authentic oriental silk rug rug is the perfect holiday trophy, but how do you know you’re getting the real thing and not some mass-produced imitation? To make sure you don’t get ripped off, you need to know what to look for, any warning signs, and where to start your search. So here’s a quick guide to picking out the perfect Persian rug.
Start looking in the right place
Unsurprisingly, you’ll find the best persian silk rugs in and around the area formerly known as Peria, which we now call Iran. This isn’t to say that you can’t find quality carpets in other countries. In fact, China, Afghanistan, Turkey, India, and Morocco are all famous for producing quality, handmade rugs. Many of these countries are difficult to get to, and some are not particularly tourist-friendly at this moment in time. However, Turkey and Morocco are popular destinations and great places to find your perfect rug. You can pick up a carpet from one of the boutiques in the big cities like Marrakesh, although a trip to the more rural areas could save you some serious cash. Rugs in the small town of Ayvacik, Turkey, costs about a third of those sold in the capital.
Know what to look for
Many first-time buyers have been duped into buying a machine-made carpet, and a machine can never reproduce that handmade effect. Firstly, an authentic oriental rug will always use natural dyes. These include deep reds from crushed insects, rich blues from the indigo plant, vibrant oranges and evocative purple and yellow shades. Artificial colours will never have the same impact as the natural versions. They’ll look tired and dull in comparison. And if you’re still unsure if you’re looking at the real thing, bend the carpet between your hands and look carefully at the fibre threads. Natural dyes produce a rainbow effect on each fibre, and you’ll see various shades of the same colour. Synthetic dyes colour each strand evenly.
Learn about the knot count
An authentic rug must always be knotted by hand or hand-woven on a loom. When a machine does all the work, the knots on the reverse of the carpet will look suspiciously uniform, just as if its come straight off a production line in a nearby factory. With a handmade rug, you should see around 120 knots per square inch. This is a sure sign your rug was made by a person and not a machine. In other words, you’re looking out for the human touch.
Learn to haggle
Haggling is part of the fun of buying your carpet. It can be an unfamiliar (and even unnerving) experience for some people, which leads them to overpay. But don’t get emotionally involved in the haggling process. Treat it like a little bit of pantomime and have some fun. Make sure you give as good as you get and never be afraid to walk away! Remember, it’s all part of the game.