Determining Rug Quality

It can be hard to determine the true quality and value of a rug – and at the end of the day, your stylistic taste and opinion is what it’s important. However – here are some of the objective facts which the experts at Aladdin base their rug tastes on:

  • High quality rugs stay flat on their backs without any weird ripples or wrinkles. Rugs with curling edges are likely to wear quickly.
  • Rugs that have an hourglass figure are likely to wear quickly, as they came off the loom initially distorted.
  • Good rugs have colors that naturally resist fading in normal types of light.
  • Rugs with moth damage, holes, stains, or rips are only really ever still valuable if they are really really old.
  • High quality wool has a glow and feels a bit soft and oily. Less good wool is hairy, dry, and scratchy.


What are the benefits of finely knotted rugs?

Finely knotted rugs have smoother lines, similar to how a picture with many pixels provides a more high definition image. Rugs with fine knots have a very dense surface that reflects light off it, providing an appealing glow and color profile. However, having finely woven knots isn’t enough – and some Tribal rugs are traditionally made with rougher knots. In general however, finely knotted rugs are more valuable than those with rougher knots.


The Drawing of the Rug

This means how well the rug’s design is executed according to it’s intent – meaning the physical structure, the lines, the coloring, the borders, the field, and the coloring.


Natural and Synthetic Dyes

Natural dyes are commonly accepted as superior to synthetic ones – however, it’s hard without assistance of a professional lab to be able to tell whether a rug is synthetic or natural. However, since in general naturally dyed rugs are considered higher value or superior to others, it certainly won’t hurt to acquire a naturally dyed one.


Machine and Hand Spinning

Hand spun wool is the traditional material for Oriental rugs, but after World War 2, most rugs were spun by machine. However, around 1985 due to demand by rug connoisseurs, some weavers resumed the traditional hand weaving technique. Some people are more into the uniform appearance of machine spun wool, but many collectors prefer the ‘Wabi-Sabi’ effect produced by the imperfections and variations in handspun rugs. Hand spun yarn absorbs higher levels of dye, providing eye catching color fields and variation – making them, in our opinion, much more beautiful.


Pile Height

Some people think that just because a rug has a thick pile it’s of a higher quality, but this isn’t true. The finest rugs are sometimes very thin – however, if a rug is meant for an area where it’s going to get constantly walked on, or walked on by many people, it should be thick so as to handle the high traffic.


Finishing Processes

Quality rugs are either naturally aged or washed in toners towards the end of their creation which will subtly dull their new colors, giving them a sense of character that is usually simply acquired over many years. Rugs should not be over bleached or piled on with synthetic treatment chemicals – in the opinion of the experts at Aladdin, natural is really best.

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