One of the most common mistakes of many first-time Persian rug buyers is to associate its value with the number of knots per square inch. Sure, the knot size and type play a huge factor in the value of an oriental rug, but it is not a single determining factor. There are a lot of considerations in assessing the value of an Oriental rug.
Here are some considerations to check when appraising a Persian rug’s value and quality.
Age and condition
Topmost considerations in appraising vintage and antique Persian rug are its age and condition. Certified appraisers look into these two considerations when evaluating a rug.
Authentic oriental rugs made some hundreds of years ago are rare pieces. Due to this scarcity, these heirloom artworks command a higher market value. The rule of the thumb: the older the rug is plus and the better the condition, the more valuable the rug gets.
However, there are some rugs that ring a higher value despite some restoration and repair. There are some other factors that can affect its overall valuation. They are well worth the investment despite some flaws, dents or imperfections here and there.
The aesthetic appeal, construction and durability of an oriental rug depend largely on its craftsmanship and materials. As such, these two are considered as major factors in determining a Persian rug’s value.
The most common materials used in making authentic Oriental rug are wool, silk, cotton, goat hair, metal threads, and camel hair. There are many synthetic materials now used for modern rugs. Also remember that not all wool materials are the same. By closely inspecting a Persian rug, you’ll see and feel the significant difference in the grade of the wool used as well as the quality of weaving and construction.
In certain parts of Persia, particularly in area at higher elevation, they tend to raise sheep that produce more luxurious coats – as such with better rug pile. In terms of construction, hand-spun rugs produce considerably more natural looking and softer pile than machine-made rugs. These all affect the value of the rug.
Dye and dying technique
Authentic Persian rugs that were made some hundreds years ago were all made from natural dyes. Obviously, natural dyes produce better quality oriental rugs compared to synthetic chromium dyes. The more natural a rug’s color looks, the more value it gets. Natural dyes produce saturated and less intense color. The quality of color is more complicated and difficult to reproduce using synthetic dyes.
Unlike today’s synthetic dyes, natural-dyed rug materials require special skills and are more laborious to produce. Moreover, natural dye specialists have become a scarcity making these natural-dyed oriental rugs even more valuable.
Structure and knot density
Even if Persian rugs come from the same country, not all of these rugs use exactly the same patterns, structures and weaving techniques. The practice of weaving has been passed down from generation to generation. A trained appraiser can even trace the exact tribe of origin of a Persian rug.
Although knot size plays a key role, the more important determinant of a rug’s value are how the knots are tied and the density of the wool. To quickly assess the durability of a Persian rug, you can check its handle. If the handle feels flimsy in your hand, then it could be loosely woven. A good rug should have a supple and sturdier handle.
Uniqueness of the rug
Rare, unique rug designs are generally more valuable. Because of the commercialization of rugs, there are rug designs that are called in the industry as “programmed rugs.” These are Persian rugs that can be ordered in different color combinations and sizes.
When picking an oriental rug for investment, always go for one-of-a-kind rugs. These rugs are better than “programmed rugs” not just in aesthetic appeal but also in potential long-term value. These uniquely designed rugs, whether new or old, are great investments.
Origin of Persian Rugs
The origin of a rug impacts its value too. Some tribes, villages or regions that are renowned for producing high quality Persian rugs would be more valuable compared to some other rugs. The highly desired rugs from Qashqai in southern Persia and Heriz in Northwest Persia are more valuable than any other Persian rugs you will find.
Rugs coming from these rug-weaving communities command such a high value because of their condition. When appraising a rug, make sure to check where it came from to properly assess its values. Persian rugs coming from popular weaving tribes and villages are definitely a great long-term investment.
There is no single factor that can determine the quality and value of a Persian rug. When appraising an oriental rug, look into its overall value: the combination of visual appeal, construction, age and origin, condition, materials used, and weaving techniques employed. Don’t fall in the trap of relying solely on the knot count of a Persian rug!