Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Makes an Oriental Rug Valuable?

Here are some of the factors that I consider determine the value of a good quality hand woven rug or Oriental Rug.

1) Beautiful colors. Are you enchanted? Are the colors working harmoniously together?

2) Design details. Do you like the details of the design? I have seen a gorgeous rug with possibly one aspect of the design that did not sit right with me. The layout of the design is called the "drawing" in the trade. If the colors are beautiful and the drawing of the rug is artistically pleasing, you are off to a very good start.

3) Quality of the materials used. Most Oriental rugs are woven with wool, silk or cotton. Is the wool spun by hand or machine spun? Machine spun wool, even on a hand woven rug, costs less than hand spun wool. Additionally, there are different qualities of wool. The finer the wool, the more it costs. See my article, “How to Buy an Oriental Rug”.

Sometimes cotton is used in the foundation, such as the warps and wefts. On very fine silk rugs, usually the better pieces have silk foundations so then you have a piece that is 100% silk. This rug will cost more than a silk rug woven on cotton warps. Silk threads are finer and thus one can tie tighter knots. More work, more labor, better skill, higher price.

4) Quality of the dyes used and the skill with which they are applied. Vegetable dyes, sometimes called natural dyes, are costlier to produce and take experience and skill to apply. In the history of weaving, the master dyer was one of the most respected members of the tribal community. Additionally, he never revealed his secret formulas for creating the beautiful colors that made Oriental Rugs and Persian Rugs so famous throughout the world.

5) Skill of the weaving. Is the weaving even? How can you tell this? Flip over the corner of the rug and inspect the back. Are the lines and knots mostly even or zig zagging every which way?

6) Popularity and demand for a particular type of rug in the market place always affects price.

7) Availability. This is another important factor as if the type of rug is too scarce and highly sought after, such as certain antique rugs, prices can reach the stratosphere.

8) An additional consideration would be the cost of fuel as this can affect shipping prices.
Value of the American dollar in international markets also affect price here in the US.

9) For antique rugs: Condition, beauty, true verifiable age, rarity and market conditions all affect the value. How well it is marketed and the reputation of the seller, or auction house can also influence the price.

Best Thoughts,
Penny Krieger
The Undercoverruglover!
Owner of Paradise Oriental Rugs