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Q&A: What is this Silk Qum Rug Worth?

Question:

Hello, I am hoping to receive immediate information regarding this silk Qum Rug below.  Is the color changed?  What is the kpsi, what might be a possible value?  It is expensive and I want to see if it is worth it or not?
I ask for as quick a response as possible. $100/ft.

-anonymous

 

Silk Qum front

 

 

Response: 

(Full response less than 2 hours from inquiry)

Before starting, I want to mention if the seller would like to have a verification for the rug, we can do so with better images to address the rug more properly.  The seller is asking a dollar amount which is not out of the question, but certainly necessary photographs to justify this price are not rendered.

The best thing is to have as much insight from many people in the field.  Ordinarily, I would run information by several experts before advising on a piece, and certainly not advise on anything with photographs lower than 600x450 pix.  These photographs really say very little, making this a difficult assessment to say the least: certainly not the best way to evaluate a rug.   With that being said, and given the short notice, do not quote me on this content here, and certainly do not hold $ value provided against us for a purchase you may or may not make. 

Hopefully after reading this you have some general insight into making a more informed purchasing decision.  Be less concerned about knot count and $ amount, and more concerned about the actual rug at hand.  With this being said, I hope you will be seeing this rug in person to determine the following. It has been some time since I have been actively involved with Qum rugs specifically but I will tell you what I can.

This at one point was an ebay rug.  The little camera watermark indicates this.  I looked it up and could not find it in completed listings which implies one of two things:  [If the rug is actually in the seller's posession] Either it did not sell on ebay, or the rug has sold on ebay and the new owner may try to flip it for profit or was not satisfied with what they received.  Often when the images used have eBay watermarks, this implies the latter.
 
You bring up a valid concern about the color.  This may be a change in the weave or more/less weft exposed.  But the tone seems slightly pink.  This does not look like color run, but that's not to say other areas of the rug don't have it.  If a rug has color run, you'll be able to tell the best by looking at the rug from the dark side.  You'll see it more pronounced from this direction.  Generally speaking, large areas that look like they're pink should probably be ivory: especially in Qum rugs, and especially if the coloring is blotchy.  Generally the reds are one of the first to run, although others doo to (not always dark colors to lighter either).  Light shades of rose/pink in a medallion or field are not exactly common to find in Qum rugs.  They're only really used sparingly for top colors and outlines.  If you see large open areas with a tint of pink/rose, be wary.  This will affect value for almost any rug, especially a Qum as this implies over-saturation of dyes, or low grade dyes used.  Not exactly acceptable, especially for this genre of rug. Going by the photographs, which are not exactly the best indicator, the color change where we see the reverse corner of the rug appears to be a straight line.  This implies a change in dye lots.

Specifically for qum silk rugs:  If the rug has a change in dye lots toward one side on the border (which it appears as though it may from the corner being folded over with the back exposed) this will affect value.  If it's in the field, this will be more detrimental to value.  Generally, Qum rugs should be pretty close to perfect, so an imperfect one is considered less desirable.

Whether or not this actually is a true Persian Qum or Chinese knock off will affect appeal, but not necessarily value (if it's not a silk blend with art silk or all art silk).  There are a lot of excellent Chinese rugs out there, however There are also stigmas attached to some Chinese rugs due to quicker, less proper weaving techniques and implimentation of cheaper materials used.  Chinese rug weavers have been known to use faster techniques to make a completed piece, which in turn has made them less "reliable" and/or durable, therefore rendering them somewhat less appealing to the market.  Not saying this is the case with this rug, but I have no evidence to speak different.  Often this problem of poor weaving is confined to lower KPSI rugs, not always: Given the ruler on the back, this probably is okay *IF* it is Chinese.  Also be sure to use a burn test.  It is worth noting that it would be counter-productive to weave such a fine rug with low grade or artificial fibers, but you never know.

It's been some time since I have personally been involved in the wholesale market for Qum rugs.  Many years ago, I believe it was more expensive to attain a Chinese Qum design than Iranian: now I believe this has changed. Determining Chinese vs. Persian is sometimes almost indistinguishable even with very good photographs or even being there in person to see the rug.  However, there are some indicators you may check to *possibly* tell the difference. 

This may be a Chinese or Persian rug. I honestly have no idea, but kashmir is ruled out almost certainly.  The fact is, Chinese is a possiblity even though my gut says Persian.  I say this because in the image showing the entire piece, the lower right hand corner appears to have hard-curled tension.  To really assess what this means, as it could imply origin, we would have to see better photographs.  Often, this would be indicative of a Chinese weave *if the handle of the rug is stiffer*.  If the rug is floppy with corner tension, it lends the clue to being of Persian/Iranian origin.  A excellent weaving example of a Qum should fold and distort with a malleable handle into a compact piece without stretching in the corners or showing signs of stress.

The above inspection suggestions are not everything for inspecting a rug, and not always the best indicator for such pieces.  However, at the very least, you should be able to tell the difference between a excellent weave from a very good weave with this (Just talking about structure here, not about design, colors used, quality, etc.).  These rugs are really best seen in person.  If high resolution photographs were provided, and even video to see how the rug reacts to it's own weight and how it drapes, this would help too.  But what seller is going to provide a video?

As I said before, be less concerned about the Knot count and more about the rug at hand. 

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