Tag Archives: old rugs

Picking Up Rugs

This past weekend we picked up a bunch of vintage and antique Oriental rugs for the shop. After cleaning them we will start putting them online, so keep an eye on JessiesRugs.com

Antique oriental rugs

Vintage and antique Oriental rugs


Soumak rug

Close-up of a Soumak rug

Above is a sneak peak at one of my favorite rugs we just got in. There are numerous types of animal motifs woven into this rug including, but not limited to, birds, cats, bulls and fish.

Persian rugs

Drying two Persian mats

This nice weather has really been helping us out! The sun does a great job drying freshly washed Oriental rugs like the ones pictured above.


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?

The Anatomy of an Oriental Rug

Components of an Oriental Rug

When searching for a rug the vocabulary can get confusing. I have outlined a variety of terms you can expect to come across when researching Oriental rugs for sale.

Persian Hamedan rug

The components of a generic Persian Hamedan Oriental rug

Field: The field is the solid space surrounding the medallion or design. It is usually the main color of the rug. The color of the field in this diagram is red, for example.

Medallion: A medallion is one of the most common designs found in Oriental rugs. It usually takes a diamond shape set in the center of the field. In the diagram it is ivory.

Border: The main border is the thickest, or widest border with the main border design. The main border above is ivory.

Guard Border (Strips): Guard borders are the smaller borders flanking the main border on the inside and the outer edge. As seen in the diagram, the guard borders are partially missing at the ends. These are often missing or fraying in older Oriental rugs that have not been overcasted.

Corner Brackets: These are also known as spandrels. They are often seen in the corners of the field of an Oriental rug.

Motifs: Motifs describe the small patterns within the overall rug design. See our guide to Oriental rug motifs >

Fringe: Fringe describes the tassel-like ends of an Oriental rug.

Indian Oriental rug

Fringe tied off at the end of the Oriental rug

These are actually a part of the foundation of the rug and are called warp threads. When the weaver has completed the rug they will often tie the ends off in knots as seen in the picture to the right.

Edge: The edge of the rug is the selvedge on the sides. There are two edges, one on the left and the other on the right and they are bound with yarn as seen below.

Persian Sarouk Oriental Rug

The edges on this Persian Sarouk are worn, but the binding is still present. The color of the binding is brown.

Selvedge: Selvedge describes a fringe end with no “tassels”, it has been woven into itself to prevent fraying. See the example below.

Persian Hamedan rug

Rather than tassels the fringe has been woven back into itself. It is common to find one selvedge end in vintage and antique Persian rugs.

Foundation: The foundation of the rug is made up of warp and weft threads. These alone produce a criss-cross pattern and do not include the knots.

Warp: Warp threads are the vertical threads of the foundation of an Oriental rug which run parallel to the edges of the rug.

Weft: Weft threads are the horizontal threads of the foundation of an Oriental rug. I remember these because weft rhymes with “left” and they run from right to left.

Knots: Knots make the pile of the rug, yarn is knotted onto the foundation. See the two basic Oriental rug knots below.

Persian Knot

Persian Knot

Turkish Knot

Turkish Knot


Pile: Pile is the soft material on the top of the rug which results from the knots.

KPSI: KPSI is the abbreviation for Knots per Square Inch. It is often used as a measure of the rugs quality. See our guide on counting rug knots >


Oriental rug drawing

A simplified drawing of an Oriental rug with the components labeled


Describing an Oriental Rug

Abrash: When someone refers to abrash in an Oriental rug they are talking about the change in tone of a specific color. During the weaving process, the weaver will change wool lots as they run out of wool. The next wool lot may have been dyed for a slightly longer or shorter time frame than the last causing a color tone change in the rug as seen below. To people who are new in the market they may recognize this as a mistake or something which detracts from the rugs value. In fact, many seasoned collectors appreciate abrash and recognize it as a characteristic of a true rug.

Antique Caucasian rug

An antique Caucasian rug with beautiful blue abrash. Note the variation from light blue to dark blue in the field.

Moth Damage/Moth Nicks: Recently, I posted an article about the webbing clothes moth AKA the moth that eats the wool in rugs. A moth nick is a term used to describe a small area on an Oriental rug (about the size of a quarter or smaller) that is missing wool pile due to moth. The moth will eat the wool that makes up the pile of a rug, leaving the cotton foundation threads exposed as seen in the photo below. Moth damage is used to describe more severe cases in which there may be a large area missing wool due to moths.

afghan baluch rug

The white threads you are seeing in this moth nick are the foundation threads.


Overcasting: Overcasting is an important repair process in older rugs or rugs which are exposed to high traffic areas. Overcasting the ends of an oriental rug prevents fraying.

Antique Caucasian Shirvan

A photo of the weave of the antique Oriental rug with the abrash mentioned previously.

Weave: One of the most common questions asked by a rug dealer buying a rug is, can I see the weave? This means they want to see the back of the rug. The weave can tell a lot about an Oriental rug, such as where it was made, how old it is, and how much it may be worth.

More Resources:

Check these sites for more info on how Oriental rugs are made




How to prevent moth damage: Tineola bisselliella AKA the Webbing Clothes Moth

We recently attended a lecture on caring for and cleaning Oriental rugs with an emphasis on protecting rugs from moth damage. One of the biggest fears shared by all rug collectors is the webbing clothes moth or simply the clothing moth.

Webbing Clothes Moth

Webbing Clothes Moth; The wool eater. Original Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tineola_bisselliella#mediaviewer/File:Tineola.bisselliella.7218.jpg

These little pests feed on many natural fibers, especially the wool found in your prized collection of antique Oriental rugs. Unfortunately there is no sure way to keep them out, but here are several methods to fight those bothersome insects:

Wool Oriental rugs

A collection of wool Oriental rugs

1. Before storing your rugs, please get them cleaned! Whether you go to a professional or choose to DIY, make sure you thoroughly clean your rugs before putting them into storage. After years of being on the floor exposed to the elements you really have no idea what kind of dirt, grime or moth eggs may be lying in the foundation of rugs at home. This is why it’s important to clean them every two years or so. If a rug is rolled up and put in storage without being cleaned there is a good chance it can come out with a whole lot of moth damage.

When storing them it is a good idea to wrap them in a paper and muslin cloth. This creates an extra barrier to deter the insect. Wrapping in plastic is not advised as plastic will trap moisture and could cause mold.

2. It is important to distinguish whether your rug has live moth or if you are looking at the webbing moths leave behind. Adult moths do not feed because they get all of the nutrition and moisture they need in the larval stage. This does’t mean if you see a flying moth you’re out of the woods. Flying moths can lay eggs in your carpets, and when those eggs hatch you can bet the larvae will be feeding on the wool.

Moth Balls

Mothballs, Original Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/Mothballs.jpg/800px-Mothballs.jpg

3. Mothballs are no guarantee and can be hazardous to your health as well as your children’s and pet’s health. They also make your rugs smell like chemicals! Try using a bug repellent on your rug if you absolutely have to use a chemical.

Something like “Hot Shot” or “Raid” for flying insects will kill the live moths in your rug which can then be vacuumed up. If you have a very large collection kept in a separate room or work space you can try a moth bomb, or Fogger. This is a can placed in the center of the room that releases a very fine mist throughout. The fog will kill all flying insects, but it is also very harmful to humans and pets, so it is really only best for desperate situations. You should always follow the instructions explicitly stated on the package of whatever you are using.

4. If you don’t want to use chemicals, your best bet is to agitate the carpet. Moths like to live undisturbed, especially in dark areas under couches or ottomans. By inspecting areas under the couch once a month and shifting furniture to vacuum the entire carpet, you can put your mind at ease.

5. What to look for? The most obvious sign of an infestation is moths flying around your home or work space. If there aren’t any flying, it does not mean you are in the clear. You should check your carpets every month or so for webbing or larvae. Trust me, it is not a pretty sight and you will definitely recognize it. The webbing can be on the underside of the rug or the top. It will look like a cocoon and is a creamy white color. The larvae use this as a covering to feed under. It sticks to the rug and needs to be vacuumed up. There may be larvae in or around areas with webbing.

Bokhara rug

A large area of moth damage on a Pakistan Bokhara rug

If the damage is done and you are left with moth damage, or moth nicks on your Oriental rugs as seen in the picture below, all hope is not lost. You can still take your rug to a local dealer who offers a repair service and they can reweave or repair the damage depending on the extent of it. This is not a cheap service so it is important to be proactive with moths.

Indian Oriental rug with moth nick

A very small moth nick at the top of the rug near the fringe. The foundation threads (usually white like the fringe) are visible after a moth has eaten the wool.

There are many theories on repelling moths, some work and some do not, there is really no guarantee. One is using cedar, such as a cedar lined chest or closet for storing clothes. Another is using lavender. Freezing artifacts is a practice utilized by some museums and historical sites, as well as anoxia treatment which deprives the item of oxygen therefore killing the insects.

Sound off below: What is your experience with moths? What do you do to prevent them on your clothes and in your rugs?

Adding to Our Inventory

It’s been a busy couple of months this season adding more rugs to our online store.

Two weeks ago we had a crazy weekend driving to estates all over Massachusetts. One of the best parts of estate sales is not only the beautiful rugs, but the variety of antique jewelry, decor, and other unique collectors items. If you are in the market for a new home, estate sales also allow you to tour spaces which may be on the market.

Discount Oriental Rugs

Interesting Moroccan rugs and Turkish rugs collected at an estate in Medfield, MA

Here is one of the Turkish Bergamo rugs from the above lot after cleaning and repair:

Turkish Oriental Rug for sale

Deep Blue Turkish Bergamo Rug Shop Now >


Oriental rugs for sale online

A carload of Oriental rugs obtained from estates in Belmont and Holliston, MA

It’s times like these I wish we had a larger car! Things get pretty crowded after rug pickups like these. Mike was pretty excited in the picture below. We can’t wait to get these rugs online for you to appreciate.

Oriental carpets

More Oriental carpets from Belmont and Holliston.

Last but not least, here is a sneak peak at our new Chinese Nichols rug. I have always loved the art deco style but this rug is truly one of a kind with absolutely stunning colors. In a later post I will discuss the background of Nichols Chinese rugs and their increasing popularity among collectors.

Chinese Nichols rug

Stunning Nichols Chinese Rug

Keep an eye out on JessiesRugs.com for these new rugs and more as we add them!

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!