Persian rugs create a spectacular sense of mystery, tradition, and sophistication that no other accessory can match. Their intricate patterns and varied colours bring a little Old World class to our new work studies and living rooms.
However, if you’ve ever shopped for a Persian rug, you know that the most beautiful ones cost a lot of money, especially when they come from authentic retailers. Many consumers try to get around the price barrier by purchasing from generic shopping websites like eBay or Amazon – but can you really get the same quality for a lower price if you shop on these websites? Read on to find out how to not only gauge the quality of the rug but apply that knowledge to online shopping.
Why Do Persian Rugs Normally Cost So Much?
Many manufacturers mimic Persian rugs to give consumers the same classy look at a lower price, but real Persian rugs come from skilled artisans in the Middle East (notably Iran). True Persian rugs come with a particular kind of knot – the Senneh or Persian knot. This single-looping, asymmetrical knot creates a unique weave that contributes to the overall strength and durability of the rug. When you buy a Persian rug, you don’t just pay for the materials. You pay for the experienced craftsmanship that made it, and you pay for its beauty and durability. Persian rugs can outlast generations, turning them into priceless heirlooms that could cost thousands or even millions of dollars. In fact, Persian rugs appreciate while they age – the older the rug, the higher the cost.
How Do You Find an Authentic, High-Quality Persian Rug?
You can tell you’ve found an authentic rug by looking for a few key features:
Authentic craftsmen and manufacturers create rugs out of wool, although some make theirs out of cotton (try to stay away from cotton). Craftsmen typically use camel hair wool, Manchester wool, and Kork wool in their rugs.
Authentic rugs have a natural dye instead of a synthetic one. They’ll look less vibrant (and less fake), and they won’t hold their colour as well, but they’ll give your home a distinctly Old World flair.
Some artisans use the Turkish knot instead of the Persian knot, so you should watch for that. The Turkish knot looks symmetrical and has a double loop instead of a single loop. You should also look at the back of the rug to see the pattern and knots there – an authentic rug won’t have a synthetic backing (you must stay away from rugs with their back covered with canvas).
The Knot Density
Knot density is similar to thread count in sheets or towels. The higher the knot density, the better the quality. High-quality rugs have about 300 knots or more per square inch, and they usually look thicker.
Authentic Persian rugs have four different possible layouts:
- Central medallion
Look up images in your preferred search engine to see what these terms mean. If your rug doesn’t match these patterns, it likely isn’t authentic.
Most authentic Persian rugs will have a label on them telling you about the country of origin. Look for the label before purchasing (if the label has the name of the retailer on it, it might not be authentic).
How Do You Apply This Knowledge to Online Purchases?
Unfortunately, when you shop for Persian rugs online, you can’t always verify their authenticity, especially on general shopping websites. If you find a website for an authentic dealer, you can normally trust its claims and reviews. However, general shopping websites don’t give you the same luxury. Research online the credibility of the seller first. But, you can make your purchases based on the information placed on the ad. A legitimate seller will take pictures of the labels and the knots at close range, and he or she will include a description of the rug’s authenticity and quality on the caption next to the pictures. Use the guide in the section above to gauge whether the rug fits the asking price.
A Note of Caution
While you definitely can find Persian rugs for cheaper prices on general shopping websites like eBay, remember that unskilled individuals sometimes post ads, too. They may not know about the authenticity of their rug, or they may knowingly charge full price for a knockoff. Once you’ve read the ad and looked at the pictures, contact the seller to see if you can verify the truth of his or her claims. Ask to see a live video feed of the rug. Or, perhaps ask about sending you a written agreement discussing false advertising – if the rug isn’t what you expect, ask for your money back. It’s always important to exercise caution. Take screenshots as proof, and remember that shopping websites like eBay and Amazon allow you to report fraudulent sellers.
A Persian rug will make an elegant addition to your home, especially if you have experts maintain it throughout the years. Use these tips if you must buy a rug online to make sure you purchase a real one for the right price when shopping online.