It seems like every rug I come across now is labeled "vintage" or "antique", so what really is a vintage Persian rug?
A vintage rug is usually a hand-knotted or handwoven rug made around 40-80 years ago. Technically antique refers to those rugs made 100+ years ago but seeing a rug made in the 1930's being called antique is not out of the ordinary.
So how do you tell the difference between an authentic vintage rug and a newly woven rug labeled vintage? Just like every other collectible it comes with practice. It won't come overnight, but if you find the deal of a lifetime and it requires a snap decision there are a few things you can do.
1. Is the rug real? Probably the most important question you can ask is whether the rug is hand knotted or machine made. Follow our guide on how to identify an authentic rug to determine whether you are dealing with a machine made rug or not.
2. If you have a rug you are positive is vintage or antique, use it to compare to the rug in question. This will provide you with some type of standard to rely on.
3. Who is selling it? If you are buying the rug online, does the company have a positive sales record and great reviews? Are there any red flags? If you are buying it in person, does the store have any reviews or anything to back up their claim that the rug is vintage?
4. Last but not least, if you buy the rug and discover it isn't the vintage hand knotted rug you thought you were buying, will you be able to return it. This is tricky, because although most reputable rug dealers online and in person will allow you to return a rug within a certain time frame, you may be buying a rug at a yard sale or flea market. If you are at a flea market and need to make a decision in a pinch, go with your gut. Is the price fair? Do you love the rug? If so, go for it!
The world of Oriental rugs is so exciting, and finding the perfect vintage rug for your home is an adventure. My advice is to take your time, do your research and it will pay off in a rug that will last not only your lifetime but potentially for the next generation as well.