A handmade Persian rug is not just a floor covering. It’s a work of art.
Every rug is created by weavers who spend months and sometimes years painstakingly tying one knot at a time to complete their masterpiece.
The end result is a truly a work of art that is admired and treasured by people all over the world. Because of their global popularity, it’s not surprising to find many dealers passing off machine-made Persian rug lookalikes as the genuine item.
The best way to ensure that what you are buying is true Persian rug is to learn the difference between handmade and machine-made rugs.
We’ve put together the distinguishing features to look for when comparing three of the most common types of rugs – hand-knotted, hand-tufted, and machine-made. Interestingly, it’s the underside of these rugs that is the most revealing.
When you examine the underside of a hand-knotted rug, you’ll notice that the pattern is the same as that on the top.
The difference of course is the absence of the pile on the underside. Instead of a pile, you will be able to see the knots clearly on the back of the rug.
Silk rugs typically have smaller, tighter knots. Because of the smaller knot size, silk rugs have a larger number of knots per square inch. These rugs also take longer to complete because the weaver spends so much more time tying each individual knot.
Tribal rugs on the other hand have larger knots. These have a lower knot count and take shorter time to complete. Both rugs have their own distinct appeal.
Another prominent feature in hand-knotted rugs is the way the fringe is attached to the body of the rug.
In a hand-knotted rug, the fringe is not a separate piece that is glued or sewn on to the edge. It is in fact a part of the rug that is formed during the weaving process.
While working on the rug, the weaver leaves a length of yarn at either side. This forms the fringe of a handmade rug.
Look closely at a hand-knotted rug and you’ll see that all of features, from the pattern to the knots and the fringe, have some variations. These are simply because of their handmade nature. It’s almost impossible to replicate every feature perfectly by hand.
As with hand-knotted rugs, you can also identify hand-tufted rugs by turning them over and checking the underside. A hand-tufted rug will have a backing made of fabric or canvas. There is no pattern visible on the underside of this type of rug.
Hand-tufted rugs usually do not have a fringe. If they do, you will find that they are glued or sewn on to the edges and are not a natural part of the rug.
Machine-made rugs are easily identifiable by their perfect features.
The design, motifs and colors run perfectly throughout with absolutely no variations. This is because once the rug-making machine is set, it produces a rug at those settings with no deviation at any point. This perfection, while it may look good, is devoid of any character and actually detracts from its value.
Machine-made rugs generally do not have fringes. If they do, the fringe will be a completely separate piece that is sewn on to glued to the edges.
Handmade Persian rugs are an expensive investment. Learning how to distinguish them from other types of rugs will ensure that what you are buying is truly a genuine piece.