How To Tell If A Persian Rug Is Authentic - Telling The Difference Between Fake And Real Persian Rugs
An authentic Persian rug is a treasured possession. These gorgeous rugs can be found in homes and offices all over the world. Just knowing that they have been hand knotted adds even more value to these works of art.
However, these are not the only types of rugs that you can find today. In addition to hand knotted rugs, when you go looking for rugs, you will find that there are also several types of machine made varieties.
With so many machine made rugs and Persian look-a-like rugs available in the market today, if you have not done your research you can find it difficult to tell if the rug you are looking at is an authentic handmade Persian rug.
Sometimes the similarities are so close, specially if they are hand knotted, that is almost impossible to tell them apart without a proper inspection.
While exploring the world of authentic Persian rugs, it’s also worth noting that oriental rugs, which include Persian rugs.
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Here are a few things you should look for to determine if a particular Persian rug is authentic.
Find Out Where The Rug Is Made
Only rugs that are manufactured in the middle eastern region in Iran can be called true Persian rugs. You will see that all of these rugs are always made by hand. Machine made rugs do not originate from these regions. They are mostly manufactured in the US and a few countries in Europe.
Besides the more obvious machine made rugs, other types of hand knotted rugs can be made in Pakistan, India, China and several other countries in the Orient.
These types of hand knotted rugs are beautiful in there own way, but it’s important to note that unless the type of rug is made in the country of Iran, it is not a true Persian Rug.
Check if Hand-tufted or Hand-knotted
Genuine hand-knotted rugs are created by skilled weavers who spend hours laboriously and meticulously tying every single knot by hand.
Hand-tufted rugs on the other hand are made using a tufting gun to punch a design into a canvas backing that’s stretched behind a stencil. These rugs look superficially good but they have multiple drawbacks.
Making these rugs doesn’t require any skills. Moreover hand-tufted rugs are much weaker and have a lifetime of about 7 years.
To determine whether a rug is hand-knotted or hand-tufted, turn it over and examine the underside. In a real Persian rug, you should be able to see every knot clearly.
Real Persian rugs are a worthy investment and knowing how to tell the genuine pieces from the fake will ensure that the piece you’re acquiring is worth it.
Check The Front And Back Of The Rug
It is very rare to find a handmade rug that has a perfect design on the front as well as the back of the rug. Because these rugs are woven by hand on very basic types of wooden looms, they are bound to have a few imperfections all over the rug.
These imperfections are expected and do not in any way lower the value of the rug. Machine made rugs on the other hand will always certainly be perfect on the front as well as the back of the rug.
Rugs that are machine made will also have a kind of mesh covering the underside of the rug. It is not very easily visible but it is there.
Real Persian Rugs Always Have a Soft Backing
It’s amazing how much the underside of a rug can tell you about whether or not it is a real Persian rug. For one thing, the presence or absence of imperfections in the knots can tell you a lot about whether it is hand-knotted or machine made.
Secondly, the texture and type of backing can also be very revealing. Authentic Persian rugs are always hand-knotted. The process is such that the pattern on the underside of the rug matches the pattern on the top of the rug.
There is no other backing added to the underside. The absence of any type of backing results in a soft underside.
This is unlike machine-made rugs where the top pile of the rug is constructed from synthetic materials and the underside has a stiff plastic backing that’s added to hold it together.
In addition to detracting from the looks of the rugs, the synthetic materials and adhesives used in these rugs can also be toxic and trigger allergic reactions.
Check Out The Fringe
In authentic Persian rugs, the fringe is part of the body of the rug itself. It is formed during the weaving process and looks like an extension of the rug body.
In machine made rugs, the fringe is not created during the manufacturing process.
It is in fact rather sewn onto the rug after the rug is completed. Take a closer look at the part where the fringe is attached to the body of the rug.
If you can see that is has been sewn to the rug then you know the rug isn’t genuine.
Check the Material Used
Real Persian rugs use only natural materials such as wool, cotton, and silk. There are no exceptions to this. Wool is the most common material used.
Hand knotted wool rugs are antibacterial, hypoallergenic, and flame retardant. They are cherished treasures that will stay looking good for generations with proper care and maintenance.
A rug with any synthetic material is definitely not authentic.
Check The Color
Weavers of real Persian rugs make their own dye using various plant and animal materials found in nature. With years of experience, they have mastered the art of creating colorful dyes that stick fast to the materials.
These colorfast dyes do not bleed into each other or through the rug.
One way to test whether a rug is colorfast or not is to place a damp cloth on a corner of the rug and leave it there for a few hours. When you lift the cloth, check if any colors of the rug have transferred onto the cloth.
If the cloth is color-free, it is an indication that vegetable dyes were used in the rug, which means it is more likely to be a real Persian rug.
If any colors from the rug have seeped onto the damp cloth, the rug is definitely an imitation. Imitation rugs use synthetic dyes or ink that bleed immediately when they come in contact with water or oil.
How Authentic Persian Rugs are Made
In this video we do a deep dive into the anatomy and construction of authentic Persian Rugs. We explain the major components that make up a Persian rug, and look into each component in detail. We cover the foundation: Warp and Weft, the knots and pile, types of knots, the edge, the fringe and much more.