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Did I Pay Too Much? The Fringe is Short! Can I Make the Rug Shinier?

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Question received the week of Monday, the 14th of July 2008:

Hello Rug Rag!  I just recently bought a rug online. The rug looked different from that on the picture, plus it looks older than I expected (it was advertised as new 0-10 years old). It doesn't look shiny. The kpsi was claimed to be 118 but I counted only 81. The fringe is very short. It is claimed to be a “Najafabad” hand-knotted rug. The only good thing about the rug is that it is imperfect: knots and patterns don't seem equal. I contacted another rug specialist before buying the rug and he said it should be OK but now I am wondering... Do you know if I have been ripped off? What can be done to make it a bit shiner?

Regarding the rug, here is the information as provided online:
KPSI 118
It is 8 feet by 11 feet 3 inches
Made in Najafabad, Iran
It was advertised as a new rug 0-10 years old
Cost was $595.

As I mentioned, I am not totally happy with the rug because it looks a bit old, dusty and dull to me but cannot return it because the rug was on final.  Please let me know if anything can be done to make it shiner and how much I overpaid. I saw a similar rug in a local rug store and it cost CD$1300. It was out of my price range, so, I decided to buy it over the Internet.

I would highly appreciate your help!


Ardekan Oriental



Hello, no problem about the help.  Indeed many people are purchasing online nowadays!  I hope the info herewith is not too boring for you :), and will try to address each question you've raised.

Without seeing the rug (which is a pretty big drawback) I'll try to fill you in on the best answers I can after having looked at the photographs and going on my experience.  I've looked carefully at all photographs provided.

Generally speaking, knot count is not necessarily the best indicator of quality.  It's something that people in the industry certainly use as an indicator, but by no means is it to bear the brunt of the value within a rug.  Although the stated 118 may seem inflated, what often happens is many similar rugs are commissioned to have the same knot count, design and coloring.  However with commissioning rugs to different weavers & workshops, it's not uncommon to have a discrepancy of +/- 20 or 30 knots.  It happens that this particular rug seems to have a bit fewer, but it really does not affect the value tremendously.  From our count, we caught a 10x10 measurement, which equates to *roughly* 100 KPSI (often quarters are slightly smaller than 1 inch).  Another notable thing is to consider the rug itself.  It’s really not uncommon to come across a rug which has a discrepancy of knot count from one area of the rug to another.   Just the other day I was looking at an antique rug which had 100 KPSI in one area, and almost 200 in another!  This is why KPSI really should be measured in 3 areas and average, and best if measured in the field, as the rug tends to be more consistent in this area. 

While what was presented online for sale may not have been 100% exact, relatively speaking, I don't think there's a tremendous misrepresentation here.  I'm not trying to defend the seller here, just simply stating the facts about hand knotted rugs.  I don't know if this is the case with this vendor, but many dealers who state knot count don't actually count each one the way we have: They may simply look at it and give an approximate KPSI based on a glance, and “typical” quality for each type of rug. 

As for how the rug looks from the front to the back, this may have to do with the shearing, although the rug looks pretty good from the photographs.

This is perhaps one of the more popular designs, which is known as a “kashan Design.”  However, this rug is not a Kashan, it's often referred to as a "mashad," although we believe a more accurate placement and terminology would be an "Ardekan."  You find these in many places across the internet, but often you will find used pieces which are worn down to the foundation on some auction sites.  It appears as though your rug has full pile, which is very good thing.  The rug does not appear to have any significant color run, which is a sign of poor washing and/or oversaturated dyes.  As for age, it's very difficult to say.  These rugs have been produced for many years, however I can also tell you they are still being made today.  It's quite possible this carpet could be 2 years old, or maybe even 10 or 20. 

If you want to give the rug some SHINE, there's a specific type of washing technique which exists.  It's called a "Lemon Wash," and sometimes also called a "Luster Wash."  Basically what this type of washing does is give the wool pile a shinier appearance.  It's possible to have this done, and it usually runs for about several dollars per foot here in NY to have it professionally treated.  My suggestion is to opt against it, only because you never know exactly how the dyes will react, and you may not be in love with the look after it's been completed.  In other words, it's best to purchase a rug which has already been subjected to this type of wash.  In all honesty, the best and cheapest thing to do is walk on the rug with socks, this actually does polish the wool to make it shiny, just over a much longer period of time.

In general, it takes a little while to get used to rugs.  Sometimes there are slight discrepancies from monitor to monitor.  What you have to remember in regards to coloring is each image is going through several filters before it arrives on your screen in front of you.  First the camera which can sometimes "dry" the colors, then any adjustments to lighting (done on photo editing with their monitors) then seen on yo

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