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How Can I Tell if my Rug is an Oriental Rug or Other? Oriental Rug/Tufted/Machine Made


If you are looking to find out specific information about your rug, visit our Rug Forum.  We have many professionals on staff to give you a fair and honest assessment of your rug free of charge!

Distinguishing between Oriental Rugs and Other 

Know Your Rug 

There are ten basic rug types.  Hand knotted rugs, dhurrie, kilim, soumac, chainstitch, needlepoint, hand tufted, rag rugs, machine made and wall-to-wall (cut-pile and berber).  

As the consumer, you need to be informed.  It is not unusual to walk into a Oriental Rug store to find that machine made and hand made rugs are both mixed within the piles.  Beware of the online sellers who give little information regarding construction and origin of a rug both in store and online.  Unfortunately, in recent years, we have observed too much misrepresentation of construction online, which is why we are here to inform you!   The more familiar you are with determining quality, the more comfortable you will be in the rug selection process.  One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the types of rugs is to see as many as possible.  Pay particularly close attention to the edge of the rug, as well as the reverse side.

IN GENERAL: Although newer hand knotted rugs have incorporated highlights of synthetic materials such as artificial silk, and machine made rugs can also be made of wool, if the seller states the PILE of the rug is made of: rayon, viscose, nylon, polypropylene, mercerized cotton or any other material, it probably is a machine made rug with exception to certain genres of carpets such as coarser quality Turkish pieces, and various Chinese carpets.  For additional information, read on. 



If your carpet features each of the four bold points below, it probably is a hand knotted "Oriental Rug."  For further explanations, read and view all content at the bottom of the page.


  • The design is the same on the front of the rug as it is on the back.  Some "hand tufted" rugs have a canvas backing, although tufted rugs are hand made they are not hand knotted.  A machine made carpet can have the same design on the front as the back...  It may be an Oriental Rug.
  • If the rug has fringe, the knots created to pull tassels together have minor inconsistencies in the manner they were created, it may be an Oriental Rug...
  • The fringe goes into the rug, and is not affixed with precise [machined] stitches.  A hand knotted carpet never has a machine fixed fringe.   It may be an Oriental Rug.
  • If the bound edging on either side of the rug (perpendicular to the fringe side) goes through the rug rather than "tacked" on with a precise [machined] stitch.  In hand knotted rugs inconsistencies may be observable.  It may be an Oriental Rug.
  • If the rug has inconsistencies in knot height, and knot thickness which in turn show the lines horizontally or vertically are imperfect.  Although some machine made manufacturers have perfected the art of imperfection, your rug may be an Oriental if it has minor imperfections.
  • The rug is very malleable.  This is one of the tougher tests to check, but accurate in 75% of cases (exception to rugs such as karastan and MasterCraft)...   For rugs wider than 3 ft. wide, if you fold the rug from in half [from one corner] width wise and length wise, and it responds to your movement with a flop rather than as a rigid sheet, it may be an Oriental Rug.


If you passed the tests above in bold, check for these sometimes seen additional characteristics for further confirmation...

  • Determine if the design is slightly off center: fold rug in half vertically to see if absolute center of medallion (or any other centered design element) lands on the fold, try the same horizontally. While the majority of oriental rugs will not have off-center medallions, if the medallion is slightly off-center, it's probably an Oriental Rug.
  • Determine if the rug has imperfect squared angles in each corner:  Either measure each side of the length and then each side of the width to check for discrepancies (only works if the rug is not a perfect trapezoid).  For a better test, simply fold the rug again according to one line of the rug to follow such as the sides perpendicular to fringe and check for overlap or shortcomings anywhere around the rug.  If the shape is slightly imperfect, it's probably an Oriental Rug.
  • If the pile of the carpet is comprised of more than one type of fiber (e.g. wool and artificial silk), it is probably hand made.  Although not all Oriental Rugs are made with multiple fibers in pile, usually the ones which are will either be hand knotted or hand tufted.  These two are fairly easy to distinguish between, as a tufted rug will more often than not have a canvas backing.  A machine made rug would use a blend rather than two different fibers in different locations of the carpet.



Checking for Oriental rug authenticity over the Internet is not an easy thing to do as you must rely on the information presented to you.  Always evaluate the reputation of the seller.  Watch out for key terms with nondescript locations of origin.  If a seller does not state where the carpet is from, proceed with caution!  The advertising of a rug is not entirely unlike that of "Organic vs. Natural" at the food store.  


A true Oriental rug will almost always be referred to as: "hand knotted" or "hand woven". 

A hand tufted rug (also made by hand) is often referred to as: "hand made" "tufted" "hand tufted" "hooked" or "hand hooked". 

A machine made carpet is often referred to as: "man made" "power-loomed" sometimes stating composition is of "synthetic" fibers and of a "Persian design."  Machine made rugs can also be made from wool!

Below is a list of many places imported hand knotted rugs have been / are being produced today...

Armenia, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, China, Egypt (also Machine made), Turkey, Iran, pakistan, India, Japan (until ~1970's), Nepal, Tibet, Romania, USSR, Morocco, Iraq, Portugal (Needle points)

All photographs in the following page are of the reverse side of the rugs with the length of the rug going from the top of the picture to the bottom, and the width of the rug going left to right.

Hand Knotted Rugs

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Want to purchase rugs like the ones mention in this post? Here are some options...


Inexpensive: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Inexpensive: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Moderately priced: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Moderately priced: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!


Inexpensive: Take a look at Kilim Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Inexpensive: Take a look at Kelim Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Moderately priced: Take a look at Kelim Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Moderately priced: Take a look at Kilim Rugs up for bid on eBay!


Inexpensive: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Inexpensive: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Moderately priced: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!
Moderately priced: Take a look at Soumac Rugs up for bid on eBay!


March 20. 2008 06:25


This is really great work that you guys did here to show all of this. I am amazed at the amount of detail. Keep it up.


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June 22. 2008 22:18


This is a VERY helpful article, the detailed photos with the arrows gives a novice like me a very clear picture of how to distinguish hand-made from machine-made. The information is similar to other web pages, but the photos illustrate so well!


August 28. 2008 07:39

hashim ali

Rug Oriental Rug Oriental Rug/Tufted/Machine Made

hashim ali

September 8. 2008 16:41


I recently bought an oriental rug it was 10/14 Fine Ghazni. The seller told me that the low pile and ruff/thin txture was due to the high knot content. I'm starting to feel that the rug in not authentic. The fringe is unlike my other oriental's it is short and looks like it was woven on afterwards. Also the rug has a nubby appearance up close and if you pull the individual nubs they come out. The price of the rug was in the $5,000.00 range. Please advise

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September 16. 2008 17:47

David Dilmaghani

Hi Mike, Please feel free to contact us directly,

Hope we can help you out!

David Dilmaghani

November 3. 2008 16:21

Dusty Roberts

Wow.. great info here, this will help out rug buyers to make an informed choice when shopping for rugs!

I will make sure to share this with my clients!

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Dusty Roberts

November 3. 2008 16:26


Hi Dusty!

Thanks for checking in. We're a fan of the rug badger, it looks awesome!

Thanks again, please stop by often :)


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November 4. 2008 23:16

Jessie Schutte

Thank you so much for your really informative website. We recently bought a Persian rug at a liquidation (80% off) sale, and the more I subsequently read about purchasing rugs, the more uneasy I felt about the whole set-up. After diligently putting all your tips to the test I am comforted that it is, in fact, genuine - and the only damage was the inflated price that we probably paid. Lesson learnt!

Jessie Schutte

November 5. 2008 16:17


Hi Jessie, really happy you found us, and thanks for your kind words.

Sorry to hear you think you may have been subjected to the infamous price inflation used by less reputable dealers. Some stores actually do offer really deep discounts, unfortunately, many are just using deceptive sales tactics. :(

If you have specific questions I'd be more than happy to address them personally in a blog entry.

Thanks again for checking in, look forward to any inquiries


November 17. 2008 18:17


Awesome site. I have a question for you:

I am wondering if you can help me out. I've recently purchased
semi-antique Iranian rugs on ebay that seem too good to be true.

The wool appears of reasonable quality and even has a slight patina. The
rug shows all the markings of a hand-woven rug to my eye, but both the
price and uniformity of the weaving seem odd. The price seems too cheap -
although many of these rugs have mild defects: uneven wear, a patch (not a
repair), chemical fading, etc.

I've attached a photo. Overall the most striking thing is the uniformity
of the weave. I have many older rugs, tribal and a few "master signed"
and they don't have are always somewhat "wavy" or when they are extermely
uniform I've been able to find pattern defects.

But the rugs I get from this merchant remind me of perfect stencils. The
only thing I can surmise is that they were woven on metal looms in a
factory consistent way or they are in fact power loomed and they've
figured out some way to make them look hand knotted on the ends.

If these are hand made, can you tell me how they achieve such horizontal
uniformity and why they sell so cheap? Thanks much.


November 18. 2008 18:32


Thanks for the inquiry, we posted you a reply!

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December 1. 2008 21:49

susan barto

If I send pics of a rug that my husband won on an auction could you please tell me if it is an original and its worth?

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susan barto

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