Bokhara rugs originated from the Bokhara area in Central Asia. These rugs are usually constructed with a wool pile on a wool or cotton foundation. The type of wool used for the pile determines the ultimate look and quality of the rug. Rugs made with wool obtained from New Zealand look sleek and shiny while those made with locally obtained wool are less shiny and look more rustic.
Bokhara rugs are characterized by their repeated rows of guls with surrounding geometrical patterns. Although all Bokharas have these same two elements, no two rugs look alike. This is because every weaver arranges the guls and geometrical patterns differently to give their creation a unique look. The colors seen in these rugs runs the gamut from gold and red to rust and green.
Originating from the Zagros Mountains in southern Iran, Gabbeh rugs are easily recognizable by their thick, coarse, dense piles and relatively low knot density.
The Qashqai and Luri weavers used local handspun sheep wool to create these rugs. This wool was dyed using dye extracted from natural plants parts and materials found locally. The combination of ingredients used in making the dye resulted in some interesting bold, bright colors, including varying shades of reds, rusts, oranges, and yellows.
Another unique aspect of Gabbeh rugs is that the designs did not follow any particular structure. The weavers simply created designs from whatever inspired them, whether it was their immediate surroundings, the distant landscape, or their everyday lives. The patterns in these rugs are simple and basic and it is this simplicity that appeals to many rug owners.
Tabriz rugs are different from most other Persian rugs in that they are not woven by nomadic tribes. Instead, these rugs are woven by skilled weavers in large rug making centers in the ancient city of Tabriz, located in north-western Iran. These rugs are woven using only the highest quality materials and a high knot count, both of which contribute to the sleek look of the finished creation.
The designs and colors seen in Tabriz rugs vary widely. Rugs may feature a multitude of flowers, medallions, floral motifs with palmettos, hunting scenes, and other interesting curvilinear designs. The colors used in these designs can range from burgundy, copper, ivory, and terracotta to shades of gold, green, blue, salmon and tan.
Originally woven by Turkish nomads, Kazak rugs are now mostly woven by the Afghan Hazara people in Pakistan who have remained true to the original colors, designs and knotting style. As a result, the Kazak rugs woven today look the same as the earlier versions.
A shorter-than-usual pile and an antique finish are distinguishing characteristics of Kazak rugs. When the weaver finishes weaving the rug, the pile is cut short and the rug is put through a unique stone washing process. This gives it that distinctively antique look which rug lovers find so appealing. Kazak rugs usually have geometrical motifs, which may be large and bold or small and intricate.
Kilim rugs were first woven by the Armenians in the 5th century BC. Through the centuries, these rugs have retained their original characteristics of geometric patterns on rugs that have a dense, flat finish.
Weavers use an interesting technique to give these rugs that dense, flat look. Before they start knotting the wool, it is first spun tightly. When the tightly wound wool is knotted it forms tighter, smaller knots resulting in a rug that is flat and thin. This is offset by washing the completed rug using a special technique so it looks plush and soft. Blue, red, green, brown and yellow are the typical colors found in Kilim rugs.