Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The skill of purchasing a fine hand made rug

High on the list of any holiday shopping list has to be a hand knotted oriental rug, but knowledge is power and knowing what to look out for will help you not to be ripped off.

knowing about the product you are purchasing will help you not to be ripped off

We all like to bag a bargain and especially when we are on our travels but there are many pitfalls for the unsuspecting tourist.  Bagging a good carpet is not easy and far too many travellers find out the hard way that instead of returning home with a piece of magic, they have been ripped off.

Where to buy it

The former Persia (today known as Iran) remains the most fruitful and varied source of rugs in the world, as well as producing the finest examples of this art form.

This does not mean that carpets from India, Turkey, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, the Caucasus or Romania are inferior.

They do not, however, all make for an easy shopping trip (it is safe to say Afghanistan will be on the itinerary of only those most seriously obsessed with rug buying) and the bulk of travellers who buy a rug will do so while holidaying in more popular destinations.

In such cases, the first rule is to avoid carpet boutiques in the big cities; leave them and instead head for the source.

What to look for

'Knowledge is power,' but many amateur rug buyers fall foul of the initial hurdle and end up with a rug of far inferior quality or in some cases rugs that was made by machine. It is also important to know the size of rug you want  it can be a real damper on a good spirit if you get back home and the rug is way too big or way too small for the room.  Pay close attention to the following three factors and you are less likely to be led astray.

The knot count

An oriental, or 'exotic', carpet, rug or prayer mat means one of natural fibres that has been hand-knotted or hand-woven on a loom. You will find much truth underneath the carpet: turn it over, in the dealer's shop and look at the reverse. The knots on a machine-made carpet will be very uniform. Knot count is often the first factor that determine the rug’s quality, and while it is not foolproof - some valuable contemporary designs are very coarsely knotted - a good rule of thumb with traditional rugs, at least, is to look for upwards of 120 knots a square inch.

The fibre

Discovering your 'silk' carpet is actually cotton. The guidebooks often suggest the 'burn' test not only to ascertain the fibre but also, hopefully, to trick the dealer into believing you are more of an expert in rugs.

The colour

While artificial dyes are no reason not to set foot on a carpet, they can never match the earthy evocation of their natural alternatives: among them cochineal red, from the crushed, dried insects, blue from the indigo plant, henna orange, hollyhock purple, pomegranate yellow and gallnut black. Natural dyes normally appears bright and rich in colour as a bunch of flowers. There shouldn't be any one colour that stand out way more than others.’  Another way is to bend the carpet as to expose individual threads from the bottom of the rug. Looking deep down in the pile will show a slight variance in the tones. 

How to haggle

Do not but too soon and do not leave it until the last minute. Shop around and keep track of where you have seen what you like. Building a relationship will help in the negotiation process later. We belief negotiation should be a win-win situation. Take care though as the seller will make out as if he loses much sooner than he really do. ALWAYS|S make an offer and do not pay the asking price. In many countries where rugs are produced it is their culture to haggle or negotiate on the price. The starting price / selling price will allow for that. In some cases the seller will feel offended if you do not make him an offer and only pay the asking price

How to make the most of your rug

What is the best way to care for your newly acquired masterpiece. Here are a few things to look out for to help your rug last as long as possible:

- Keep rugs out of direct sunlight  Bright colours can easily fade  especially reds and browns
- Turn your rug every few months to allow for even wear and exposure to light
- Use rug pad or underlay  - Read our other blog post on “benefit of rug underlay”
- Have fabric protector applied by a rug cleaning firm. This small investment will greatly reduce the chance of permanent staining
- Get your rug taken away for a through deep wash or clean every 12 -18 months by a professional rug cleaning firm. 
- Do not allow ordinary carpet cleaners touch your rugs

If you need any help, just give us a call on 01223 863 632.

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