Monthly Archives: March 2015

Green Dyes in Oriental Rugs

Before synthetic dyes were introduced in the late 1800’s, Oriental rugs were dyed with colors extracted from the surrounding environment including plants, minerals and even insects. These dyes are usually called vegetable dyes. At an early age people are taught mixing yellow and blue makes green. This well-known fact was also applied to antique Oriental rugs made with vegetable dyes.

Green Oriental rug

Indian Oriental rug with a green field

The color blue was obtained from the indigo plant. After dyeing the wool blue, it was dyed yellow. Yellow dye was often obtained from various flowers including Saffron, Larkspur, vine leaves, and buckthorn. It is easy to differentiate a green in a vegetable dyed rug versus a synthetic dyed rug by the uneven color in the vegetable dyed rug. Since the wool has been dyed twice the green color in a vegetable dyed rug may have a slightly blue hue in one area and a yellow hue in the other. The synthetic green will be more uniform. Often times, the yellow may fade leaving blue on the pile. If you gently pull the pile apart to an area which has not been exposed to sunlight you will see the color was once green. Yellow splotches may also appear in a vegetable dyed rug from wear which causes the indigo color to rub off over time. Other, less common, sources of green dyes include turmeric berries, and Buckthorn berries which are used to produce Chinese green. In China, the color green signifies renewal and growth.

Chinese Oriental rug

Green and yellow butterfly in a Chinese Oriental rug.

The strength of the color is determined by several variables including the time the yarn spends in the dye pot, the type of spring water used, and the type of mordant used. Green fields are very rare in antique Oriental rugs because green is a holy color in Islam and is rarely walked upon. Since saffron is so expensive and yellow dye is required to make green, the rarity of yellow can also contribute to the lack of green rugs. Green has become more common in Oriental rugs in the last 100 years or so with the introduction of synthetic dyes and the increasing demand for it.

Shop Green Oriental Rugs >

Other Oriental rug dyeing resources:

http://www.turkotek.com/journal/pdyes.html

http://www.nhrugs.com/vegetable%20dyes.html

http://www.richardrothstein.com/oriental-rug-questions.html

 

Spring Cleaning and Washing Those Rugs

It has been a long, harsh winter for the Northeastern United States. All of that snow, and dirty sand has been hard on our cars, but it is also hard on our rugs. The start of spring is often associated with cleaning up your house and selling off old items at yard sales. At this time it is also important to check your rugs out to see how they fared the winter months.

Persian Kerman rug

Persian Kerman rug before being washed

The design in the Persian rug above is slightly muddled, and the colors are duller than one would expect to see. If your rug was placed in a high traffic area during the winter, especially in an area where people did not take off their shoes, your rug will have trapped quite a bit of sand and salt in it’s pile. The pile of the rug is the fluffy wool on the top that makes it so soft. A regular vacuum will not sufficiently remove the sand that has been trapped under the pile. This sand, if left untreated, will slowly erode the wool fibers as people walk across the rug. The best way to remove the dirt embedded in the pile yourself is to flip the rug over and vacuum the backside.

Persian Kerman rug cleaning

Making progress cleaning the rug

A fresh wash will bring the life back into your authentic Oriental rug and make it last for many more years. Check out our guide to hand wash your Oriental rug yourself, or stop by your local rug dealer to get your rug cleaned.

Persian Kerman rug

Kerman rug corner close-up after cleaning

Check JessiesRugs.com to see the full rug after it has dried!

 

Decorating with Room-size Rugs

Everyone’s favorite rug tip when decorating is to put your Oriental rug down first. It is much easier to base the rest of your decor on the colors and patterns in your antique rug. An authentic Oriental rug is a one-of-a-kind piece, and often an investment. Wallpaper, art, paint, furniture and antiques come in all different shapes, sizes, patterns and colors so it is much easier to find a rug you love and work around it rather than working backwards.

 

White Persian Rug

Traditional Ivory Persian Kapoutrang rug c. 1940 Shop now>

If you have very traditional taste in rugs such as a large red rug with a blue border and an ivory center medallion, your journey will be much easier. However if you are looking for a large antique rug with an all-over pattern, a navy field and hot purple highlights you may be looking for a longer time. It is important to have an idea of what characteristics you are looking for in a rug, often times the old saying “when you see it you’ll know it”  holds true and a light will turn on when you find your dream rug.

Art deco chinese rug

Gorgeous Art Deco style Chinese rug, shop it now>

When decorating with a room-size Oriental rug you generally want the rug to ground the furniture in the space. This method ties each component together to form a cohesive space. Keep in mind you want about 18 inches of floor visible around the rug itself unless you are working with a smaller area such as a bathroom or foyer in which case less is better. There is no right or wrong way to place the furniture on the carpet, everyone is different. Options include having all of the furniture on the rug, the front legs of the furniture on the rug, none of the furniture on the rug (if you are looking at a smaller size rug such as 5×8) and more.

Shop our selection of room-size rugs >

How do you decorate with Oriental rugs? Do you put your rug down first or last?