Every Oriental rug connoisseur and professional had to start somewhere. When you are just starting to get your feet wet in the world of Oriental rugs all of the different names and styles can get quite overwhelming, especially if you are not yet able to tell the difference between a machine made rug and a hand-knotted rug.
When Mike and I first started out we made quite a few impulse buys that did not turn out quite as planned. The beginners eye is not yet trained to the characteristics of a hand-knotted rug compared to those of a machine loomed rug. Even when shopping at a reputable rug dealers store you should have a rough idea of what exactly you are looking for so that you don’t end up over-paying.
Below is a list of tips and tricks that helped give me the education and confidence in dealing with handmade Oriental rugs.
- Utilize the web. There is so much information on the internet nowadays it is unbelievable how much knowledge is accessible through google. Not all of the information on Oriental rugs is accurate, to save you some time here are some valuable resources that I have found to be helpful over the years:
- http://www.spongobongo.com/ This one is like the encyclopedia of Oriental rugs. If you are trying to figure out whether you have a Caucasian Kazak or a Turkish Melas, this site has almost everything you need to identify and learn about all the different rug types.
- http://www.rugrag.com/ Rug Rag is a great tool for dealers and beginners, especially their forums section. There you can upload photos of rugs you might be interested in and get expert opinions on their worth and what they are.
- https://jessiesrugs.com/content/16-oriental-rug-guides Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend our rug guide section. Over the years we have composed a variety of guides including caring for your rugs and identifying authentic Oriental rugs.
- Haggle. When I was little my grandfather used to take me to flea markets where he would make offers and haggle with sellers to get the best deal. Who doesn’t like to save a few bucks? Honestly there have been a few times that I have felt uncomfortable negotiating on a price, but you will never know if you don’t try and what do you have to lose?
- Inspect, Inspect, Inspect. One of the worse possible experiences you can have when buying antique or vintage rugs is odors. Mike and I have become extremely talented at removing stains and professionally washing the antique rugs we get in our shop. That’s not to say we didn’t have our fair share of mistakes. In the beginning we overpaid quite a few times for rugs that had moth damage (easy to spot when you know what to look for), dry rot (also easy to spot), and odors. Never feel uncomfortable smelling a rug, especially when you are the one shelling out the money for it and it will be sitting on your living room floor.
- Let someone in on your knowledge. They say mastering a subject is easier when you are able to teach someone else about it. Luckily for me the subject of Oriental rugs was fascinating to my family. Everyone wanted to know how we knew what to look for and what to stay away from. If you can find someone who is interested in learning about Oriental rugs you will find sharing your experience and ideas will only add to your confidence.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. It is very easy to be taken advantage of when you don’t have a lot of experience with dealers. They want you to buy their rugs, but it is your responsibility to make sure you are getting the best deal. Not every dealer is out to get you, but you have to be careful and complete your research before making a purchase, never feel rushed into making an impulsive buy.