Tag Archives: authentic oriental rugs

Tips For the Entry Level Rug Collector

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.

Oriental Rug

One of my favorite Oriental rug finds, the colors brightened so much after Mike washed it!

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.

  1. 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:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  2. 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?

    Caucasian Lesghi rug

    A stunning Caucasian rug

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

    Oriental rugs for sale

    You never know what kind of deals you may find…

  5. 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.

 

Alphabetical Oriental Rug Term Glossary

For every letter of the alphabet there are many Oriental rug terms, but this time I only selected one for each. Enjoy the list I came up with below!

Abrash: Color variation in a handmade Oriental rug. Abrash is often due to differences in wool quality or dyeing methods.

Border: Oriental rugs may have one or many borders. The border is the design which surrounds the main area of the carpet, similar to a frame of a picture.

Cartoon: A color drawing of a rug on graph paper which is followed by the weavers as a template.

Dyes: Synthetic or Natural dyes are used to color the wool used in weaving an Oriental rug.

Edge: The edge of the rug is typically bound by wool to secure the foundation and knots. The edges may become worn down over time and need to be rebound.

Fringe: The fringe of an Oriental rug is found at each end, and is typically white in color. It is formed from the warp threads of the foundation.

Ground/Field: The ground is the main area of the rug where the principle color and design are located within the borders.

Hamedan: One of the most common types of Persian rug. Comprised of many villages, the region of Hamedan produces a variety of different rugs.  Learn more about Hamedan rugs>

Indigo: Blue dye is obtained from the Indigo plant and also made synthetically.

Jufti: The jufti knot is found as both Persian and Turkish knots, however, rather than wrapping around single foundation threads, the knot wraps around pairs of threads. This speeds up the weaving process but forms a rug of lower quality than those woven with typical knots.

Knots: Knots make the pile in Hand-knotted Oriental rugs. There are several types of knots but the two general types are Persian (asymmetrical) and Turkish (symmetrical).

Loom: A loom is a frame used to weave textiles and rugs.

Medallion: A medallion design is a common pattern found in traditional Oriental rugs. It may be a diamond shape, or it may have floral elements. The most typical design including a medallion features a single medallion in the center of the rug.

Ningxia: Beautiful carpets woven with traditional Chinese motifs and designs in yellow tones.

Overcasting: A method used to secure fringe ends from unraveling due to wear.

Painting: Applying paint to the front of the rug after it has been woven. Washed and painted Sarouks were very common in the mid 20th century. Dealers were often stripping areas of color and re-dyeing or “painting” them with a different color to appeal to the rug market.

Qashqai: A tribal style rug woven in the southwest region of Iran.

Re-weave: A repair type used to fix damaged areas due to moth, or dry rot. The repair person cuts out the damage and uses the appropriate color and design to re-weave the area.

Silk: Silk, like wool, is a material found in some fine carpets. It can be used as the pile, as highlights in the pile, and as the foundation.  There are cheaper copies of fine carpets which use artificial silk.

Tribal rug: A village or nomadic rug woven with bold colors, and strong geometric shapes and designs.

Ushak: A highly desirable antique Turkish rug type with muted color schemes and known for popular styles including the Lotto and Holbein carpets.

Vase Carpet: A popular carpet woven in Kerman, Iran from the 17-18th century featuring floral motifs and curvilinear patterns.

Warp/Weft: The specific foundation threads of a hand-knotted Oriental rug. The warp threads run vertically and the weft threads are horizontal.

Xinjiang: Type of antique Chinese carpet woven with bright, contrasting colors.

Yastik: A very small, usually red, Turkish rug type which is popular among collectors.

Z-Spun: Yarn is either spun in a counter-clockwise (Z) direction or a clockwise (S) direction.

 

Also, check out some of the new authentic Oriental rugs we have been adding daily to our site!

 

Persian Rugs, Always In Style

A good quality authentic Persian rug will never go out of style. Persian rugs are a timeless work of art and although styles are constantly evolving, you will always find a traditional vintage Oriental rug on a hardwood floor will ground your space and warm up your room.

persian rug

A traditional red, blue and ivory room-size vintage Persian rug Shop Now >

Decorating with Worn Antiques

Recently there has been a new style gaining popularity involving worn antique rugs. Years ago, a customer would bring their antique rug to the local rug shop to be restored to it’s original luster. However, now customers hunt for that worn and torn look that fits so well in their rustic and bohemian style homes.

Antique Persian rug

A worn antique Persian rug Shop Now >

Oriental Rug Styles

The type of Oriental rug on your floor says a lot about your character and style. Whether it is an antique Caucasian Kuba or a more modern Persian Kirman each rug sets the stage for your space.

This article on Houzz showcases several great tips on decorating with an Oriental rug including: Keep patterns in the same color family, decorate with neutral colors such as white paint on the walls to showcase the rug, and vary the scale of patterns in other sections of the space so that they are not competing.

While styles change, cabinets are replaced and walls are painted, the Oriental rug remains a timeless anchor in interior decorating.

Oriental Rugs in Contemporary Rooms

For many years Oriental rugs were associated with estate cleanouts, flea markets, or your grandparents’ living room. If you inherited one, you may have thrown it in a stuffy attic, or put it in storage knowing the value of the rug in the back of your mind but not having any place to put it.

Persian rug

Semi-antique Persian Hamedan rug with all-over design.

Lately, however, the rug market has been making a comeback. With the embargo on goods made in Iran being lifted in the near future, people in the United States are eagerly awaiting newly handmade authentic Persian rugs to come back into the rug market.

Designers and everyday decorators are beginning to see the benefits of decorating with authentic Oriental rugs. Not only do Oriental rugs hold their value over time, but they wear much better than machine made rugs. Whether it’s a cold winter in New England or some place warmer, Oriental rugs stand the test of time.

The Washington Post recently did a piece on the comeback of Oriental rugs and the September Issue of House Beautiful magazine which features a stunning vintage Persian Bakhtiari rug with a traditional garden design in a contemporary living room. As rug lovers, it is exciting to see people developing the same passion Mike and I have for these pieces of art.

Not only are handmade Oriental rugs durable, but they fit perfectly in contemporary spaces. With bold colors and a variety of designs Persian rugs are the perfect choice for decorating, and when you purchase a vintage or antique rug you are making a green choice. Whether you are going with a rustic theme and looking for a rug with a little wear like the rug below, or a contemporary theme and need something like the Bokhara rug in the second photo, JessiesRugs.com has you covered.

Rustic Persian rug

Neutral toned Persian Hamedan rug with three center medallions

Bokhara rug

Contemporary style Pakistan Bokhara rug.

Unsymmetrical Rugs: Imperfections in Authentic Oriental Rugs

If you are looking for a perfect, symmetrical, uniform-looking rug you should probably check out machine made rugs. A while ago, someone asked me why her Persian rug looked different from one end to the other. Like anything else made by hand, there will be imperfections in authentic Oriental rugs. Granted, some of those imperfections may be intentional, and some may be more pronounced than others.

Machine Made Oriental Rug

A Machine Made rug with an Oriental rug design.

Tribal rugs woven on horizontal looms in village settings are more likely to have imperfections than those woven on vertical looms in the cities or workshops where weavers strive for perfection.

red persian rug

Persian Joshaghan rug Shop Now >

Above is a hand knotted Persian Joshaghan rug. Note how the sides of the rug are not perfectly straight and the design is not completely uniform. For many customers and rug lovers these are the characteristics which drive the sale of the rug. Each imperfection adds to the one of a kind nature of an antique Oriental rug such as this.

One of the most common occurrences of “flaws” in authentic Oriental rugs is abrash. Abrash is a term used quite often in describing the characteristics of a rug. It refers to a change in the tone of the color of the wool in a specific area of the rug. For example, a field may be dark blue with a thick line of lighter blue running horizontally across it. It is easy to confuse abrash with fading. Fading is a result of long-term exposure of a rug to the sun, and some fading can occur due to wear depending on the dyes used in the rug.

persian rug runner

Abrash in a Persian rug runner Shop Now >

The rug pictured above has notable abrash at one end. Note how the band runs horizontally along the same path a weaver would be tying the knots onto the foundation. This type of variation in color would not be called fading because fading is uneven and it would be very difficult to achieve this look after completion. Abrash occurs when the weaver changes wool lots, most often because the last lot has run out, and the next lot of wool may be lighter, or darker due to any number of variables including the dye time, temperature, and type of mordant among others.

Another common flaw in Oriental rugs is white knots appearing in the field, especially after the rug has seen some traffic. These knots are the tail ends of the foundation as seen below.

Turkish sparta rug

Knot tails in a Turkish Sparta rug

 

What type of unique imperfection does your Oriental rug have?

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!

 

Unique Oriental Rug Motifs and Designs

Old man winter just won’t give up this year! We keep getting buried in Massachusetts, and it seems more snow is in the forecast next week. While I am stuck indoors I thought it would be fun to go through some of the most unique motifs and designs in Oriental rugs I have come across in the past year.

 

#1 Afghan Rug

 

Afghan Oriental Rug

Female figure in an Afghan Oriental Rug

This is a woman figure with a hookah. There were numerous animals such as chickens and dogs in this unique Afghan rug as well. As you can see, there is a black rooster next to her head. Often when people are depicted in Oriental rugs, it is meant to represent the weavers themselves, or perhaps the individual they are weaving the rug for.

 

Red Oriental Rug

Afghan Oriental Rug

#2 Afghan Kuba Soumack

Afghan oriental rug

Pink animal figure in an Afghan Soumack rug

Here we have what looks like a  pink lion, but motifs are always open to different interpretations. This rug has a soft color scheme and a wild design. You can view more photos of this rug at JessiesRugs.com.

This is another Afghan rug, which means it was made in Afghanistan. The design is a copy of the traditional Kuba Soumack style which we will see more of below.  Here is a picture of the full rug. Notice all of the different animals surrounding the central motif which may be a tree or some other type of plant.

 

Afghan Oriental Rug

Afghan Kuba Soumack rug

#3 Caucasian Kuba Soumack

 

Caucasian Oriental rug

Cat figure close-up

Here is a happy cat! This rug is similar to the rug in number 2, however it is a real Caucasian Kuba Soumack.

This rug was literally FULL of interesting animal and people figures.

Here is a glimpse of the full rug, but it really does not do it justice.

Caucasian Oriental Rug

Caucasian Soumack Rug

 

#4 Caucasian Karabagh

Caucasian Oriental Rug

Peacock in a Caucasian Karabagh rug

This bright Oriental rug features three geometric medallions surrounded by large bird and peacock figures and a crab-motif border. The colors are bright, and almost neon in nature so this rug may not be for everyone.

Caucasian Oriental Rug

Caucasian Karabagh rug

#5 Mongolian Rug

Blue Oriental Rug

Mongolian Rug

Last, but definitely not least is this Mongolian rug. This design features large human figures praying, with beads, clouds, trees, and plants in vases.

 

Blue Oriental Rug

Mongolian Rug Close-Up

I hope you enjoyed my list and if you are in the market for one of a kind discount Oriental rugs like these, check out JessiesRugs.com.

Do your rugs have any interesting designs? Share them below!

 

Finding an Oriental Rug to Match Your Style

Oriental rugs have long been looked at as a symbol of wealth and elegance. Over the years Oriental rugs have lost their appeal with the younger generation, however many of those who were raised with Oriental rugs in their homes never lose their passion for them.

Caucasian Kuba Rug

Antique hand woven Caucasian Oriental rug

When choosing an Oriental rug for your home, you must first decide if you want a machine made rug or a handmade rug. An authentic handmade Oriental rug is a one of a kind piece, woven by an expert weaver. Much like snowflakes, no two hand knotted Oriental rugs are identical. This is why a handmade Oriental rug adds character to the space it is in. An authentic Oriental rug may have differences in the design from one end to the other. A weaver may add a signature, or a symbol to represent themselves. Perhaps a weaver adds a smaller flower at one end rather than a larger flower making the rug unsymmetrical. As seen in the picture below, machine made Oriental rugs have a very uniform style and are almost always perfectly symmetrical. These rugs also cost much less than an authentic Oriental rug.

Machine Made Oriental Rug

A Machine Made rug with an Oriental rug design.

After deciding whether you want a machine made Oriental rug or a handmade Oriental rug, the next step is to find the right style. Oriental rugs come in a variety of styles including Tribal, Floral, Medallions, or Geometric. Persian rugs often have floral motifs, while Turkish rugs have a more tribal design.

Pink Persian Oriental Rug

Authentic Handmade Persian Dergazine Oriental Rug with floral motifs Shop Now >

 

Turkish Kilim Rug

Handmade Turkish Kilim Rug with a bold geometric design Shop Now >

If you are looking for an antique Oriental rug with a little wear you may want to check eBay, JessiesRugs.com, local estate sales, or your local craigslist listings. Handmade Oriental rugs do hold their value well and it is well known that they become more beautiful with age.
If you are looking for a new Oriental rug you may want to check online.
After deciding on design, age, and quality you will want to decide on a color. In this case you may want to have swatches of fabric from the room you are looking to put a rug in, or you may want to take a rug on trial to see how it fits in your home.

Share your preference below; will it be hand woven or machine made?

Where We Find Our Oriental Rugs

One of the most common questions we are asked by our customers is, “Where do you get your Oriental rugs?”. The answer is, people like you.

Red Persian Rug Runner

A red Persian Kazvin rug runner, bought at a local estate sale.

Perhaps you have had the same red Persian rug runner in your hallway for ten years and are ready to redecorate. Maybe your grandma left you her collection of antique Oriental rugs  and none of them seem to fit in your home, or you could be moving out of state and are unable to take your rugs with you. That is where we come in. As an established rug dealer we are able to either buy your old rugs or consign them for a fair price in our shop.

Similar to selling jewelry, it is easier to sell to a dealer rather than going through the hassle of finding buyers for your item. You may make less money on the item compared to retail value, but it is money in your pocket the same day you are ready to sell rather than having to list your item repeatedly on eCommerce sites and deal with picky buyers coming in and out of your home.

Shopping for Oriental Rugs

Mike shopping for rugs at the Brimfield Fair in the summer of 2014

We also find our antique Oriental rugs at auctions, estate sales, antique shows like the one in Brimfield Massachusetts, and on Craigslist.

All of our rugs are hand washed the day they enter our store  so our customers can be sure they are receiving a clean rug.

Oriental rug cleaning

Cleaning an Oriental rug

 

Shop our one of a kind selection and find your dream rug at JessiesRugs.com today!