The ABC’s of Oriental Rugs
Oriental rugs have enchanted and fascinated owners and viewers throughout the world for centuries. Their painstaking craftsmanship, enchanting patterns and magical beauty captivate everyone. They are dreams made incarnate…twisting labyrinths of flowers, mystical animals and ancient symbols.
The traditional patterns have been handed down through countless generations. Yet they are infused with individuality when a weaver sits down at the loom and creates his own interpretation of the dictates of history.
They are the embodiment of beauty, and when we open ourselves to their message and take delight in their exotic designs, we enrich our lives immeasurably.
What Is An Oriental Rug?
When stripped of the age-old mystique of magic carpets, Oriental rugs can be defined as a hand woven rug of natural fiber made in geographical areas that include the Near East, Middle East, Far East and the Balkans. True Oriental rugs also share a common characteristic – the manner in which they’re made.
Oriental Rugs are either flat-woven or hand-knotted, threads form both the rug itself and the design. In hand-knotted rugs, strands of yarn are tied into the flat-woven fabric, creating a pile and pattern.
Like any fine work of art, Oriental rugs appreciate with the passage of time. During their 2,000 year history, Oriental rugs have been a standard of luxury and have proved countless times their value increases over the years.
Antique rugs are generally the most valuable Orientals. The reason is twofold: they have a proven record of appreciation because of their increasing scarcity, and the passage of time has mellowed and enhanced their beautiful colors. Collectors prize them not only for investment potential but also for their loveliness.
A good quality genuine Oriental rug, properly cared for, can last a lifetime, often enduring to the handed down to the next generation. Naturally, when one makes a life-long purchase of such significance, it is necessary to have a working knowledge of the product, but with the beginner in mind, here is a very introductory primers of what factors affect the value of an Oriental Rug.
AGE: If you are buying an antique (100 years or more) or semi-antique (50-75 years old), be sure to examine it thoroughly. Check for moth damage, stains, brittleness, patches and repairs. Any damage lowers the value of an antique rug, although skillfully made repairs will not have a great impact on the value. As location is to Real Estate, condition is to the valuations of an Oriental Rug.
BEAUTY: Genuine Oriental Rugs are works of art. The labor involved is as exacting as that of fine sculpture and the beauty of the piece is often as personally interpreted. Still it is valid to say that the overall beauty of the piece is a determining factor in value.
CONSTRUCTION: Many Oriental Rugs are categorized by knots per square inch. The high the knot count, the finer the rug. The materials employed in the rug whether it is all silk, all wood, cotton foundation and wool pile or some other combination help define the value and predict the longevity of the rug.
DESIGN: Once upon a time, a rug’s design could identify its country of manufacture. As the world has become increasingly global in trade, the distinct lines of production have blurred. Artists borrow inspiration from the world around them, including the rugs they see from other lands. Popular designs have been adapted to be reproduced for all the world to share. It may required an expert eye to identify a rug’s origin.
Phil Auserehl, Jewel of the Front Range
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