Antique Persian Rugs are Craftsmanship From More Than 80 Years Ago. There is an indescribable essence to an Antique Persian Rug that just has to be seen up-close and in-person to be experienced.
Like a trusted family member who shares the timeless wisdom of their lives, these Antique Persian Rugs, all aged more than 80 years, were made with a sort of superior craftsmanship and cared for by individuals who understand that dedication to the craft is worth preserving. So whether you are seeking out a rug to add a chapter to your home, or looking for a gift that expresses more than words ever could, these vintage Persian Rugs are a part of history.
Age-Defying Vintage Persian Rugs: Rugs Telling Stories of the Past
Forget notions you have about what you think an antique is. These Antique Persian Rugs are anything but low-pile or worn out. These are the highest quality, handcrafted Persian rugs, carefully cared for and treated, with colors that pop as if they’d just been knotted days prior.
The quality, which could almost be described as age-defying, is an immediate attention grabber as these rugs, each tightly woven by master craftsmen, show a tradition that extends past any one person, a testament to skill and storytelling that live on in these Antique Persian Rugs that last well past 80 years.
Rug Time Periods
Persian rugs fall into specific categories based on their year of manufacture.
Antique – Only rugs that were produced up to about 1940 can be classified as antique.
Semi-antique rugs – Semi-antique rugs are those that were produced between the 1940’s and late 1960’s
Vintage rugs – Rugs manufactured during the time period of around the 1950’s through to the late 1970’s are called vintage rugs.
Old rugs – Rugs made in the past 20 to 40 years are known as old rugs.
How Can You Tell An Antique Persian Rug
The unique combination of history, uniqueness, skill and beauty make antique Persian rugs a true collector’s item. Of course, these rugs come with a higher price tag too but this is totally worth it. Look after it well and you can expect to your investment to increase in value over the years.
Learning how to identify an antique Persian rug is the only way to ensure that what you are buying is genuine. These rugs have a few very distinctive characteristics that set them apart from similar looking forgeries.
Here’s how to tell if the rug you’re looking at is an antique Persian rug:
The materials used should be all natural – From the very beginning and down through the years, Persian rug weavers have used only natural materials. Most antique rugs were made from wool, which the nomadic weavers obtained from their own herd of sheep. Cotton and silk were the other materials used to create these rugs. Man-made synthetic materials such as plastic, polyester or nylon were never used to create these rugs.
The underside of the rug should have some imperfections and unevenness – Take a look at the appearance of the knots on the underside. Because genuine rugs are completely hand-knotted, some imperfections in the weave are inevitable.
These little imperfections show up as irregularities and unevenness in the weave. This is a sign that the rug is hand-made. If the underside looks absolutely perfect and smooth, it is more likely to be a machine-made piece.
The rug should not have a backing – Machine-made and hand-tufted rugs have a backing on the underside. This makes the rug hard and stiff and impossible to fold. They can only be rolled up. Genuine hand-made rugs do not have any backing on the underside. In fact, the underside will mirror the top of the rug only without the pile. With no stiff backing, these rugs are softer and easier to fold.
The fringe should look like a natural extension of the rug – Traditional rug weavers make one knot at a time till they reach the desired size of the rug, then they let the extra material trail off the edge. This forms the fringe. If the fringe looks like a natural extension of the rug, you know it’s an authentic antique Persian rug. If the fringe is sewn or glued on to the edges, it is definitely machine-made.
The rug should be hand-knotted, not hand-tufted – Many people are under the misconception that both refer to the same thing and only find out too late that they are wrong. In hand-knotted rugs, the knots are made one at a time. This is a laborious, time-consuming task that requires some skill. In hand-tufted rugs, a tufting gun is used to punch threads through a fabric sheet.
The tufts are held in place with another layer of fabric that’s used as backing. These rugs can be made quickly and require no skill at all. The big difference between the two is that that tufted rugs are not at all durable. They will last you only a couple of years before they start to look ragged. Genuine hand-knotted rugs on the other hand will stay looking good for generations with proper care.
How Old Does Rug Have To Be Considered An Antique
A rug needs to be at least 100 years old to be considered an antique. Just like antique paintings and furniture, antique Persian rugs also become more valuable over time.
From the age of 20 to 99, rugs are considered to be semi-antique or vintage.
What Is A Vintage Persian Rug
Many people use the terms vintage and antique interchangeably but there is in fact a difference between the two. A vintage Persian rug is usually anywhere between 25 and 100 years old. If it is over 100 years old, it is considered to be an antique.
Where Can I Buy An Antique Persian Rug
You can find a fantastic array of Persian rugs from online as well as local offline rug dealers. Neither one is better or worse than the other. While you can find a larger variety online from multiple dealers and at better prices too, the downside is that you cannot actually feel the texture of the rug in your hands. Shopping at a local rug dealer gives you the advantage of being able to feel the rug, however, you will have to choose from a limited selection and you won’t be able to compare prices with multiple dealers.
Use these tips to help you find an authentic antique Persian rug that’s just perfect for your space:
Start by educating yourself about what to look for and how to tell the real thing from the fake.
Decide where you want to place the rug and measure that space correctly. You can find several very helpful articles on how to choose the right size rug for your space. Don’t estimate or guess the size. A rug that’s too big or too small for the space will not create the desired look.
Browse through catalogues of online Persian rug stores to get an idea of what’s available.
Don’t buy a rug from the first seller you come across. Take time to read reviews from previous buyers to see what they have to say about the customer service. These reviews will tell you a lot about whether or not you can trust that seller.
When you see a rug you like, get in touch with the seller and ask questions about that piece. This will give you a good idea about that store’s customer service. Never buy from a seller who cannot be bothered to get back to you.
Find out about shipping formalities and whether the seller will be open to bearing the shipping costs. Some sellers do.
If you’re buying a rug from a local dealer, ask if they will bring a couple of selected pieces to your house for a ‘trial run’. A rug that looks absolutely stunning in the store may not look as good with your existing décor. Even the type of lighting you use in your home will cause it to look different. A trial run will give you a better picture of how good a rug will actually look in the space.
Don’t let the inability to have a ‘trial run’ deter you from buying online. The prices just can’t be beat when you buy a rug online. Most reputable sellers will go out of their way to oblige you and will help you choose a rug that’s just perfect for your space. Some may even offer to cover the shipping, saving you even more money.
Last but not least, whether you buy locally or online, make sure you ask the dealer about their return policies and any satisfaction guarantees that they offer. This can make you feel more comfortable about your purchase, which is an important factor especially when you consider the price you’ll be paying for your purchase.
How Much Are Antique Persian Rugs Worth
Determining the value of antique Persian rugs is no easy task. These are some of the many factors that go into evaluating one of these gorgeous works of art.
Age of the rug – Age is a major factor in determining the value of a rug. Well-maintained antique Persian rugs tend to have the highest value. This is primarily because these rugs have rarer designs. These antique rugs also have a look and feel that is seldom found in newer pieces.
Condition of the rug – An antique Persian rug that has been preserved in excellent condition without any fading, tearing or other damage will have the highest value.
Knot density – Knot density refers to the number of knots per square inch. The higher the knot density, the more expensive the rug will be. This is because of the longer time it takes to create the larger number of knots. Also, rugs with a higher knot density look superior to those with a lower knot density.
Rug sizeand materials used– It takes longer to complete a larger rug, which is why these usually cost more than smaller sized rugs. However, this is just a generalization. Smaller rugs in silk will cost more than larger sized wool or cotton rugs because of the higher cost of the raw material.
Design and color of the rug – Designs in Persian rugs range from basic geometric motifs on a plain abrash field to highly intricate patterns consisting of small motifs and intertwining vines. Rugs with elaborate patterns and clearly defined detailing will have a higher value than rugs with more basic designs.
How Can You Tell How Old a Persian Rug Is
Determining the exact age of a Persian rug can be tricky. However, here are two hints that can give you a clue as to how old a Persian rug may be.
One way to distinguish an antique rug from a new one is to examine the pile more closely. Push the pile apart and compare the color at the top all the way to the foundation. If the color at the top looks slightly faded compared to the color at the foundation, it’s more likely the rug is an antique. This is because the color at the top of the pile would have faded over the years with exposure to light and the atmosphere. If no fading is discernible, the rug is more likely to be newly made.
Feeling the underside of the rug can also provide a vital clue as to the age of the rug. Run your hands on the rug’s underside. If it feels fuzzy and soft, it is likely to be new. If it feels smooth, it is probably older. This is because the underside of an older rug would have gotten abraded and polished with the friction and pressure of people walking or standing over it. Over time, the yarn would have lost its original fuzziness, making it feel smoother to the touch.
Can Persian Rugs Be Dated By The Number Of KPSI
Not all Persian rugs can be dated by the number of knots per square inch (KPSI). Only very select rugs that were manufactured during specific time periods and certain regions can be dated by counting the number of knots per square inch. This is because those rugs were made with a characteristic KPSI.
A Look At The Famous Workshops Of Master-Weavers Saber And Shash–Khalani
Born in 1911, Saber was a Turk Russian who immigrated to Persia and eventually moved to the city of Mashad. Here he worked for Amoghli, a famous weaver at the time, who was much sought-after for the fine rugs he produced. After his mentor passed away, Saber launched his own workshops.
Starting with one workshop and only three looms, his fame grew quickly and very soon he established more workshops. At the time of his death in 1977 at the age of 67, he had 5 very busy workshops with more than 300 looms and 1500 worker under his employment.
Saber rugs are known for their high knot count and tight weave that allowed the designs to stand out in clear contrast. Older Saber rugs featured medallion and all-over patterns while later works are composed mainly of vines and florals against beige or neutral colored backgrounds.
Shash-Kalani is another renowned master-weaver known for his impressive, high-quality antique rugs that are much sought-after by rug enthusiasts the world over. These rugs have very high knot counts and the pile is usually cut close to the foundation allowing the pattern to be seen clearly.
Committed to quality and superior workmanship, Shash-Kalani personally supervised every aspect of the rugs manufactured in this workshops, from procuring the raw material to checking the finished product. The rugs that were produced in these workshops were absolutely flawless in every way and are in high demand by rug collectors and investors although they are very rare and difficult to find nowadays.
Materials Used To Weave Antique Rugs
The three main requirements for weaving antique rugs were hand-spun wool, natural dyes, and a rug loom.
Hand-Spun Wool – At the time that antique rugs were produced, weavers did not have access to machines for spinning wool so they spun them entirely by hand.
Natural Dyes – All dyes used in making antique rugs were extracted entirely from natural materials found in the surrounding areas. This has remained unchanged through the years. Persian rug weavers still continue to use only natural dyes in their creations.
Rug Loom – This is a framework weavers use to weave their rugs. The yarn is first placed both horizontally and vertically on the rug loom and the weaver then gets to work, making one knot at a time.
How Antique Rugs Are Made
Wool was spun by hand on rudimentary spinning wheels Wool is the most common material used in antique Persian rugs because of its soft, natural texture combined with its durability. Most weavers obtained the raw material from their own flock of sheep. This unprocessed wool is clumpy and often has little particles stuck in the fibers. Weavers first manually removed the foreign materials and broke up the clumps. They then spun the wool by hand on very basic spinning wheels to separate it into individual strands that can be used for rug weaving.
Yarn is washed and driedThough the debris is removed, the wool still has remnants of dust and grease, which need to be removed. To do this, the wool is soaked in a detergent bath for some time, after which it is rinsed in clean water. This may be done multiple times to remove all traces of dust, grease and detergent so the yarn is completely clean and residue-free. The washed yarn is kept out in the sun till it is completely dry. This could take a couple of days depending on the season.
Washed yarn is dyed The yarn this obtained has a natural color coloration, which may look good on sheep but not so much on rugs. So they need to be dyed first. To dye the washed yarn, the weaver hangs it on a rack and submerges it in the desired dye that is produced using a combination of natural elements. The dye and yarn is heated almost to boiling point to allow the yarn to fully absorb the color. The heating time depends on the hue the weaver wants to obtain. The shorter the time it is soaked and heated, the lighter the shade of the yarn. The dyed yarn is kept out in the sun again to dry.
Dyed yarn is ready to be woven The dyed and dried yarn is now ready to be woven into gorgeous rugs. Weavers generally use three basic techniques to create their rugs: knotting, tufting and hooking.
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Knotting – In this technique, the weaver weaves the yarn one knot at a time following a design that is drawn on a special graph paper. The weaver may create the knots using the Persian, Turkish, or Tibetan knotting method.
Should You Hang Your Antique Rugs
Hanging your antique rug is a great way to showcase its beauty while preventing any wear and tear caused by walking over it. There are a few factors you will need to take into consideration before you do this.
If you’re hanging a large, heavy antique rug, you must give some thought to how and where you are going to hang it. A large empty wall will help to highlight the rug without creating a cluttered look. Make sure to consult a professional and choose hanging materials that can handle the size and weight of the rug.
A small antique rug will fit almost anywhere and doesn’t require any special hardware for hanging.
Depending on the size and weight of the rug, you can use hooks and rods, casing, Velcro, or a mounted frame for hanging your antique rug on the wall.
Should You Repair Or Not Repair Your Antique Rugs
This is a vital question for anyone who owns an antique rug.
Antique rugs are expensive but they are also a worthy investment because they hold their value through the years, provided that they are well maintained.
So what happens if your antique rug gets damaged? Maybe a pet decided to chew one end of it or somebody spilt a corrosive liquid that damaged one side of the rug. Should you leave it as is or get it repaired?
Whether or not you should repair the rug is not a decision to be made lightly. Getting an antique rug repaired will affect the value of the rug. Depending on a number of factors, it could increase or decrease the value of the rug.
The most important thing is to consider the overall condition of the rug and whether it is a collectable or museum-quality piece. Some very high quality rugs that may have been manufactured during a certain era or by a renowned master weaver are priceless. Repairing such a rug could cause it to lose its value.
However, sometimes, rug repair is essential to prevent it from falling apart and to maintain the integrity of the rug. Regardless of circumstances, if you have an antique rug and you are considering getting it repaired, it is important to first speak to a rug expert and get their opinion. It is equally important to ensure that you get your antique rug repaired only by an experienced and reputed rug repair professional. A bad repair job is worse than not getting the rug repaired at all and is sure to devalue your rug.
Is It Worth Investing Money To Repair Antique Rugs
Repairing an antique rug is not a simple undertaking. It’s not something that can be done quickly, neither is it something that can be done by any rug repair service. Antique Persian rugs were manufactured by highly skilled weavers using precise techniques. Only a rug restore professional who is equally skilled in the hand-knotting techniques will be able to restore a damaged antique rug in such a way that the repairs are invisible.
An experienced rug restore professional will laboriously reconstruct the rug using the same knotting techniques. Carrying out such intricate repairs takes time and skill. Not surprisingly, repair costs can be significant. If your antique rug is likely to appreciate in value after getting it repaired, then it’s definitely worth investing the money. Most antique rugs will appreciate in value if the repairs are done carefully by a skilled rug repair professional.
Before getting your antique rug repaired, it’s always a good idea to speak to an expert to determine whether or not the repairs are a worthy investment.
Corrosion vs Wear In Antique Rugs
Corrosion and wear are two terms often associated with antique rugs. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, these terms refer to two completely different types of changes that may occur over a period of time.
Corrosion refers to rusting, which is the same type of rusting that many metals under when exposed to dampness. Persian rug weavers create their own dyes from various materials found in nature – plant parts and parts of dead insects.
Wear is completely different. It refers to the wear and tear that’s inevitable because of people walking over it. Over an extended period of time, you will be able to see a white warp, which appears as white flecks or white knots.
One way to tell whether the brown discoloration is due to corrosion or wear is to take a closer look at the pile. If the area looks brown but the pile is even, that’s a sign of corrosion. However, if the pile looks patchy, it’s more likely a sign of wear and tear.