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Carpet magic! 6 ways to tell a handmade Persian rug

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Persian rugs are one of the oldest and most sought-after rugs on the market today. Revered by both collectors as well as humble admirers, a Persian rug is a statement of style; a chic domestic accessory that offers more than simply a floor covering, but instead a work of art, and one of the finest of all oriental rugs. Quality Persian rugs feature a high level of attention to detail, impeccable craftsmanship, and are a valuable investment. These rugs are almost always handmade, with only a handful of exceptions to this rule. Valuable Persian rugs are original in their design, durable, charming, and outclass their machine made ‘rivals’ in almost every way. The only thing a machine made Persian rug has over a handmade one is its price. If you are on a budget and want to obtain the look of a Persian rug, are willing to forego the class, elegance, and quality of a real Persian rug, then machine made might be the solution for you. However, if you want that authentic smell, look and style of quality Iranian expertise and technique, you need a handmade rug.

But how does one determine if a Persian rug is indeed handmade, or if it is machined. Firstly, you should purchase your rug from a trustworthy source, and if the deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you need some assistance in determining the quality of your existing Persian rug, or are considering purchasing one, then read on for some helpful tips and tricks.

Where is the rug from, and who made it?

First things first you are going to want to ask yourself some very simple questions regarding the rugs origin:

- Where is the rug from originally?

- Who am I purchasing the rug from?

A machine made rug can take minutes to produce a large and impressive floor covering, while a handmade rug can take up to a year for an individual to complete. For this reason you need to be sure you know who you are buying the rug from, and that they aren't attempting to sell a machined rug at handmade prices. 

Genuine Iranian (Persian) rugs are highly sought after, and often imitated to reach higher selling prices in Western countries. You should ensure you visit a reputable seller and test the rug thoroughly before purchasing.

Check out the ends

The ends of the carpet are usually a good place to start when inspecting your rug. The end finish (or kilim) of the piece should have tied knots, or a fringe. It is not uncommon to have fringes on only one end of the rug, while the other end might be neater with no tassels or fringe. 

Additionally, the ends might appear punched in, if this is the case it could indicate a machine has produced the rug. If in doubt you should seek professional assistance to determine the quality of the rug. 

Look at the back

One of the quickest and easiest ways to test if your rug is handmade or not is to turn it over onto its back. A handmade rug should have the pattern as clearly shown on the back of the rug as it is on the front. If you are unable to see the pattern on the back then unfortunately, your rug isn't handmade. 

Once you have checked out the underside of your rug, you should bend it back to see if you can view the rows of knots at the base of each individual tuft. If you can see the knots you have a handmade Persian rug. 

Look at the quality

It sounds obvious, but some of the best ways to tell if you have a quality handmade rug is to go with your intuition and look for the manufacturing style of the piece.

- Does your rug look handmade?

- Does it feel handmade?

- Are you impressed by the quality?

- Is the style and pattern of the rug original, does it possess charm, and does it feel durable?

- Are their slight imperfections in the patterns that don't detract from the overall appearance of the rug?

If you answer yes to all of these questions, it is highly likely that you have stumbled across a handmade Persian rug. 

Touch the rug and feel for softness

rustic  by Fate London, Rustic
Fate London

Persian style towels

Fate London

Oriental carpets are generally made of five essential components. Depending on which rug you decide to purchase, each will have a specific feeling and be different to the touch. These are wool, cotton, jute, animal hair and silk. 

If you choose a cotton or wool rug you should double check the quality of the material. Wool rugs are extremely durable, and the pile should be so tight that you can feel the heaviness of the fabric. Wool Persian rugs are perfect if you have animals at home as the pile is almost indestructible, making it the ideal solution to heavy foot traffic. When choosing wool, there are three types: live wool, dead wool and used wool. Live wool is shorn from live sheep, dead wool is removed from hides chemically, and used wool is second hand fibres from old fabric that is re-dyed and reused. Dead wool should be avoided, as well as poor quality live wool and used wool. 

Silk rugs are by far the most sought after, and are also one of the strongest and long lasting. Finding quality silk rugs can often be more difficult than cotton and wool, as it is often imitated and not well stocked in sellers' inventories. 

As a final note, beware of cotton rugs that might have mildew issues. This is often a dank smell that will ruin the quality of your rug. 

If you are perhaps looking for that Persian rug influence, without the hefty price tag, check out these neat Persian print towels from Fate London.

Look at the edges

As a final hint, you should take a look at the edges of your rug. The edges should be hand sewn, and very strong. Machine sewing will look perfect, while handmade rugs will have certain imperfections, but still create a regular appearance. 

Did our Ideabook help give you some tips regarding the quality of your Persian rug? If you would like to continue reading, check out: How to beautify your home with decorative items

Do you have any experience with Persian rug quality or design? If you would like to contribute, leave us a comment below!
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