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Costly Misconceptions about oriental rugs

Misconception:  Oriental Rugs automatically appreciate in value.

Truth:  Fine Oriental Rugs may attain investment status, although dramatic price appreciation can take years.  Buy your rug with an eye for beauty and let your grandchildren worry about the profits!  

Misconception:  Oriental Rugs of the same name are of equal quality.


Truth:  Although rugs often take the name of the village where they are woven, rugs with the same name or design are not necessarily of equal quality.  Over the years, some areas of Persia (e.g. Kerman and Tabriz) have produced a dozen or more qualities.  Differences can be subtle and prices can vary widely based on quality of weave, dyes and wool.  These are quickly evident to the expert eye, but transparent to the layman.  Unintentional mislabeling often occurs when an original name such as Bokhara, Kerman, etc. is applied to a rug made in a country other than the original.  For example, a pakistan bokhara should be clearly labeled as a pakistani rug using a Bokhara design.   

Misconception:  Old or Antique Rugs are valuable regardless of condition.


Truth:  The overall condition of a rug is vital to its value.  A rug with frayed or torn edges, worn areas, or other damage will be of little interest to collectors.  Further, such pieces may have a very limited remaining life span.  Buy old rugs only from an established, reputable dealer to avoid a problem rug.  Common practices of re-coloring trouble spots and temporary repairs can transform a badly abused rug into a seemingly beautiful piece, although the "shine" quickly vanishes as the worn areas re-appear and serious problems become apparent.  Also bear in mind, by United States Customs definition, a rug must be 100 years old to be a genuine antique.  Oriental rugs may also be referred to as "semi-antique if they are 50 years or less.  This definition is not universally agreed upon.  Less reliable dealers may use the term "semi-antique" for a rug as new as ten or twenty years old.   

Misconception:  The higher and thicker the pile, the better the rug.  

Truth:  The quality of a rug is generally a function of weave, color (dyes) and wool.  The pile height is not as critical a quality factor as is the weave.  Some of the finest rugs ever woven are very thin and fine in weave.  Given equal quality wool, a closely woven rug of short pile should wear better than a moderate quality weave with a high pile.  Do not assume, however, that a finely woven piece is necessarily made of the highest grade materials. Misconception:  Country of origin is the determining factor for quality.

Truth: Historically, Persian Rugs and Oriental Rugs were considered synonymous.  This is no longer true.  Today's market has shifted from Persian goods to rugs made in India, pakistan, China and other rug producing countries.  People are often misled to believe all Persian rugs are better than rugs from other countries.  This is definitely not so.  Wide variation exists in the quality of wool and the weave of Persian Rugs.  There are many Persian Rugs which are decidedly inferior to merchandise from India, Pakistan, China, etc.  Generally speaking, if one compares two rugs of exactly the same quality, one from Iran and the other of different origin, the Persian piece would be far more expensive.  However, given the are the same quality, both rugs will provide equal service.  In this comparison, the better purchase value clearly rests in the non-Persian rug.  The intangibles, such as possible appreciation, cannot be foretold for either rug regardless of what the salesperson says.  

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