Silk and Wool Rugs

Silk & Wool Persian Rugs

Silk Persian rugs exhibit a magnificent appearance with their lustrous and smooth texture, exuding a luxurious feel at your fingertips. These rugs’ sheen and opulent look set them apart from any other fabric. However, some individuals may hesitate to purchase silk Persian rugs, considering that a wool Persian rug or a wool-cotton blend might offer better stain resistance and ease of care.

The Comprehensive Guide: Buying Genuine Silk Oriental Rugs 

Handmade Persian rugs are renowned for their beauty and durability; silk rugs are no exception. Many experts believe that silk Persian rugs are the finest of all. Before you buy, however, there are a few things you should know. This article will teach you everything you need to know about buying a silk Persian rug.

If you’ve seen a silk Persian rug you love but are having doubts, here are a few aspects that may help you make the right choice. 

9 Types of Silk and Wool Persian Rugs

Table of Contents

Decoding Silk Rugs: Are They All-Silk or a Fusion of Silk and Wool Rugs?

Silk rugs exude an air of elegance and luxury, captivating homeowners and collectors with their exquisite beauty. However, there is often curiosity surrounding the composition of silk rugs. Are they truly made of pure silk, or do they combine silk and wool fibers?

Let’s delve into this intriguing question and shed light on the truth behind silk rugs.

Silk rugs can come in two variations: all-silk rugs and a fusion of silk and wool rugs. Understanding the composition of these rugs is essential for making informed decisions when purchasing and caring for them.

All-Silk Rugs

As the name suggests, all-silk rugs are crafted solely from silk fibers. These rugs showcase the incredible luster, sheen, and softness synonymous with silk. Highly skilled weavers meticulously hand-knot each thread of pure silk to create a masterpiece that radiates elegance and refinement. All-silk rugs are prized for their delicate texture, intricate designs, and luxurious feel underfoot. They are often sought after by connoisseurs who appreciate the unparalleled beauty and sophistication that pure silk brings to a rug.

Silk Foundation

Most rug foundations consist of wool or cotton, but certain Persian rugs use silk as the foundation.

A silk foundation allows finer details to be woven into more intricate designs. This also helps to maintain its shape over a long period – which explains why so many antique rugs are silk foundations.

Although a silk rug can last for decades, you will want to ensure your intricate masterpiece is not destroyed by being placed in a high-traffic area. That is why we recommend using them as wall hangings or placing them in formal rooms that do not get heavy use.

While Silk is a great option, wool is even more so for rooms with a lot of use. Wool is robust and suitable for high-traffic spaces, folding on itself 20,000 times before breaking. In contrast, silk is reliable up to 8,000 folds.

If you want a balance between functionality, durability, and aesthetics, wool with silk highlight may be the right choice.

Silk and Wool Fusion Rugs

Silk and wool fusion rugs combine silk’s beauty with wool’s durability and resilience. The pile in these rugs is typically made of silk, while the foundation or backing is wool.

Combining these two fibers creates a balanced rug that offers the sheen and softness of silk and the sturdiness and longevity of wool. These rugs retain the silk’s smoothness and captivating appearance, benefiting from wool fibers’ added strength and structure. This fusion allows for a versatile rug to withstand everyday use and traffic.

The decision between an all-silk rug or a silk and wool fusion rug often depends on personal preferences, budget considerations, and the intended use of the rug. All-silk rugs are cherished for their unmatched elegance but may require more delicate care and maintenance.

Additionally, proper care and maintenance are essential for preserving the beauty and longevity of silk rugs, regardless of their composition.

Why Choose Handmade Persian Silk Rugs

Silk is one of the most luxurious fabrics in the world. While some synthetic fabrics try to replicate it, nothing can compete with its sheen, softness, and color durability. It is a natural material produced by certain insects, such as the mulberry silkworm, woven into high-quality products such as Persian rugs. 

Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers, making it an excellent option for an investment piece for your collection that will last for years to come. It will not fray or split the way some other fibers might.

 Due to the way silk is produced at a microscopic level, it has a triangular prism-like structure in its fibers. This allows it to refract light at different angles and creates its unique and natural sheen.

Silk Fiber At Microscopic Level

This natural sheen is one of the things that give silk a luxurious feeling that is sleek and smooth. Nothing else feels like silk. Some synthetics come close but will never match authentic silk fiber for color durability, softness, warmth, or sheen.

Some disreputable dealers may try to pass off artificial silk such as viscose as something called “art-silk.” This is not 100% silk and it should be avoided.

Which Silk Rug is the Best

The silk made for the Persian rug industry – especially for hand-knotted rugs – must meet exceptionally high-quality standards. Some of the most beautiful silk is found in China and India, and it is then sent to other parts of the world, where it is hand-knotted into a beautiful rug.

Beautiful silk and wool Persian rugs can elevate any space. They’re known for their high knot density and intricate designs and patterns.

Characteristics of Persian Silk Rugs

Here are some features that make Persian rugs different from other rugs on the market.


Persian silk and wool rugs are made in one of three ways:

  • Silk foundation and silk pile

  • Cotton foundation and a silk and wool pile

  • Silk foundation and a silk and wool pile

Knot Density

The knot density depends on what types of materials are used:

  • Rugs with a silk foundation have a higher density of 500-1000 knots per square inch.

  • Rugs with a cotton foundation have a lower density, 400-700 knots.

Pile Height

Silk and wool Persian rugs have shorter pile heights, showing off the design. You can see the intricate patterns and details better.

Benefits of Combining Silk and Wool

Combining silk and wool makes you the best of both fabrics. Silk and wool Persian rugs are:

  • Thick and durable.

  • Vibrant patterns.

  • Higher knot-density.

  • Delicate, soft feel.

  • More affordable.

9 Types of Wool and Silk Persian Rugs

1. Qum

These are the most expensive type of rug, as 90% of this type of rug is made from 100% silk. Qum rugs are washed with a special water that makes the silk softer and shinier.

  • Knot density: Starting at 600 knots per square inch.
  • Colors: Green, peach, cream, and yellow; the background colors are usually dark burgundy, blue, or black.
  • Signatures: Yes.
Qum 3’3″ x 5′

2. Isfahan

These Isfahan are the second-most expensive type of Persian rug. They’re made with either cotton or silk foundations with a silk and wool piles.

  • Knot density: Starts at around 400 with a cotton foundation, 600 with a silk foundation.
  • Colors: Blues and reds.
  • Signatures: Yes.


Isfahan 4'8" x 7'1"
Isfahan 4'8" x 7'1"

3. Nain

These Nain rugs always have a cotton foundation with a silk and wool pile. The term “la” is used to refer to knot density; the higher the la number, the lower the density.

  • Knot density: Based on the la number.
  • Colors: White, cream, red, or blue background; highlighted with ivory, blue, and beige.
  • Signatures: Rare.


Nain 8'3" x 11'10"
Nain 8’3″ x 11’10”

4. Tabriz

Tabriz makes all kinds of rugs, and you will typically find silk and wool pile on either a silk or cotton foundation. The workshops are dedicated to making specific Tabriz silk and wool Persian rugs.

  • Colors: Pastel colors.
Tabriz 3'4" x 5'2"
Tabriz 3'4" x 5'2"

5. Kashan

Newer Kashan rugs are made with cotton foundations and a wool pile, with no silk. However, some of the older ones are made with a silk foundation and silk and wool pile.

Kashan 4'4" x 6'9"
Kashan 4’4″ x 6’9″

6. Mashad

Old silk and wool Mashad rugs were made with a silk foundation and a wool pile. Newer rugs include silk in the pile as well.

  • Colors: Darker colors like black and burgundy, with beige, gold, light green, and yellow as highlights.
Mashad 8’7″ X 12’9″
Mashad 8’7″ X 12’9″

7. Moud Mashad

These rugs have a cotton foundation and a silk and wool pile. Something unique about Moud Mashad rugs is that they often include the harati pattern in their design.

  • Colors: Beige, blue, rust, and red.
  • Signatures: Yes.
Moud 8'1" x 11'5"
Moud 8'1" x 11'5"

8. Bijar

This type of rug is another cotton foundation with a silk and wool pile. Bijar rugs are unique because of their floral patterns

  • Colors: Cream, rust, and black; highlights are green, peach, browns, and blues. 
  • Signatures: Yes.
Bijar 6’9″ x 9’9″
Bijar 6’9″ x 9’9″

9. Turkoman

These Turkoman rugs are made with silk foundations but wool piles. Because of their silk foundation, though, they have a higher knot-density.

  • Colors: Red, brown, and beige; highlights are black, brown, red, and beige.

Turkoman 7’1″ x 10’4″

As you can see, there are many great options for a silk and wool Persian rug. If you want to learn more and explore our extensive collection, visit us at Catalina Rug

What to Look Out for When Buying Silk Oriental Rug

Weave and Knot Count 

Silk Persian rugs are tightly woven and will always have a high knot count. Genuine Silk Persian rugs will typically have more than 500 KPSI.

KPSI is how knot count per square inch is measured, and a higher number generally indicates a higher quality rug. If a rug is less than 500 KPSI, it is more likely to be artificial silk.

Back of a Rug
Assess the knot count from the back of rug


A real silk Persian rug will have a short pile. They are clipped tightly to form a short pile. This is done to protect the fibers and show off the details and patterns of the rug.


The fringe of a silk Persian rug will naturally extend from the rug’s body. If the fringe is not silk or it looks like it is attached separately from the rug’s body, it is unlikely to be a real silk rug.

See if the fringe is extension or add-on

How to Identify Handmade Persian Silk Rugs

Because Persian silk rugs are highly sought-after, sellers will attempt to pass off a synthetic rug for genuine silk. If you know what you are looking for, you will be able to tell the difference and ensure you are getting the product you are paying for.

At first glance, artificial silk may be able to replicate the lustrous quality of a silk rug but take a closer look. Natural silk has a softer touch that you don’t get in a synthetic silk rug.

Artificial silk is made from synthetic rayon fibers composed of pure cellulose. Natural silk is harvested from silkworms, boiled and unwound into single fibers, and spun to create silk yarn.

The quality of a natural silk rug far surpasses an artificial rug. While natural silk will be able to maintain its appearance for generations because of its durability, artificial silk will not.

How to Test if it is Real Silk Persian Rugs

Are you still unsure if your rug is genuine silk?

There are a few more ways to tell if your rug is silk. We’ve listed three methods below regarding how to tell if the silk rug you are about to purchase is actual, 100% silk.

Rub the Fabric

When you rub your hand on a real silk rug, the fabric will quickly warm up and may take on a slight sheen. If it becomes warm, it is real but if it feels harsh and is not soft, it is unlikely to be silk.

Do a Burn Test

You need to snip a piece of the rug’s fringe and hold it to a flame. Natural silk will burn black and smell like burning hair. When the flame is taken away, it will immediately stop burning. Artificial silk will smell like burning paper. 

Dissolve it

This test will also require you to snip a small piece of fringe from the rug. And place it in bleach. Genuine silk will completely dissolve (also valid for wool), but artificial silk will not.

Merchants would welcome you to do the first method but not the latter two methods, as the latter does damage to the valuable art. 

Silk Burn Test
Real Silk vs Fake Silk

Common Sizes of Handmade Silk Persian Rugs

Persian rugs crafted from silk and wool are available in diverse sizes.

Those seeking large silk rugs can find impressive sizes such as  7 x 108 x 109 x 12, and beyond. Additionally, there is a wide selection of exquisite small silk Persian rugs ranging from 2 x 3 up to 5 x 7, offering captivating beauty in more compact dimensions.

If you are looking for a silk runner rug for your hallways, there are fewer options when compared to wool rugs.

How to Care for Your Silk Persian Rug - Cleaning a Silk Persian Rug

While silk is one of the strongest fibers, it may be weakened if left dirty and not properly cleaned. Making sure you are cleaning the rug properly is the best way to protect your investment and make sure your rug will maintain its looks for generations to come and appreciate in value.

To do this you will want to –

  • Lightly vacuum the rug at least once a week to prevent dust and debris from building up. Make sure not to use the brush roll setting because this can damage the fibers!

  • Regularly turn the rug over to shake it out as a way to remove any dirt or debris

  • Get your rug professionally cleaned regularly (once a year recommended)

  • Keep it in a low traffic area in your home, away from direct sunlight

Spilled Something on your Silk Rugs?

If you accidentally spill something on your silk rug, quickly blot the spill and then lightly dab it with cool water. Once done, allow the spot to air dry.

Determining the Price of a Silk Persian Rug

Because of their unique and hand-knotted nature, Silk Persian rug prices vary greatly, and there is no hard and fast way to evaluate the price. The high value of silk as a raw material and the number of knots per square inch make silk Persian rugs one of the most valuable. Many factors can be in play to determine the price, such as the rug’s size, pattern, and age. 

Now that you know how to identify a real silk Persian rug and how to clean it, you can be sure to keep your investment looking beautiful for years to come.

Have you ever owned a Persian rug before? Do you have any tips on spotting real silk? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!