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Antique Persian Silk Rugs Powder and Deterioration

Silk antique rugs and carpets are generally among the most sought after oriental rugs.   While silk is considered to be a very resilient natural fiber, it's very important to recognize the conditional issues which may arise after time takes it's toll. Look out for "Powdering," a condition where areas of the pile may readily release in a fine mist of fiber: Literally the deterioration of fibers releasing due to a brittle nature simply from light agitation.

Due to the organic nature of silk, including the dyes used, climate and general environmental factors silk may become brittle over many years (some perhaps as soon as 60 years).  When considering the acquisition of an antique silk rug, be sure to inspect in person for evidence of powdering.  Even a light stroke against the pile may yield similar color particles to the area touched to your hand or fingernail.  It's not uncommon for some excess silk to surface in small amounts or dust to release as well.  However, a large amount with few or one single stroke may mean the pile is significantly past it's prime.  This of course may weigh heavily on the overall condition, and of course the value of such a piece as well.  Testing for powdering silk should be done in many areas of the rug, on the face of the pile.  Always begin with light strokes, never never applying deep or harsh pressure.  Repeat motion of light strokes is a more cautious and careful approach, yielding less risk to harming what fiber may still be intact.

 

This type of "powder" is much different than what may be found in Tufted Rugs.  For more info, see

Hand Tufted Rugs: White Residue and Powder Explained

 

 

 

 

 

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