Selecting a Persian rug can be a daunting task for most people. There is a lot of misinformation out there as to what to look for. Let's face it, a good Persian rug can cost a lot of money, and most people will be hesitant to make a significant investment on something they know little about.
The best solution for most is to find a reputable dealer who will work with you to find the rug you are looking for. The disadvantage to this is you will be paying for their help and advice in the markup of the rug, which can be quite high.
Another alternative is to use the power of the internet. There are a number of sites out there that sell authentic Persian rugs, with money back guarantees and free shipping.
Which ever way you choose, a little knowledge can go a long way.
An authentic Persian rug is handmade. There are a lot of machine woven imitation rugs out on the market. How do you tell the difference? Two ways:
1. The loops on the back of the rug will be visible on a handmade rug.
2. If the fringe is sewn on, then the rug is probably machine made.
Another advantage of an authentic rug is its durability. The natural fibers have a greater level of strength than machine-made rugs with synthetic fibers.
Once you have determine a rugs authenticity, there are several things to look for in selecting a rug. Probably the most well known and widely used is Knots Per Square Inch, commonly abbreviated as KPSI. Persian rugs can typically have between 20 and 700 knots or more in a one-inch by one-inch area. Generally, the more knots per square inch, the more valuable the rug. As a rule, a good quality rug should have at least 70 knots per square inch.
Another factor to look for is how long it took to make the rug. This can help determine the value when comparing similar rugs. It is not unusual for a hand woven rug to take many months to many years to create. A typically sized rug can taken between 6-12 months to complete.
How old a Persian rug is important as well. An older carpet is generally more expensive. Be careful of dealers who chemically wash the Persian rug to give it that aged look.
Learn about the different styles. Various terms you will hear are Tribal styles and City styles. Selecting among the two is more a matter of personal preference. Within each style, there are many popular and well known variations. Gabbeh, Shiraz and Bakhtiari are popular Tribal styles. Heriz, Tabriz and Qum are popular City styles. There is a story behind each rug.
This is just the starting point. Use the internet or your local library to learn more.
Jeff Brokob is a freelance writer providing tips and advice for consumers buying Persian rugs of all types including Oriental, antique and contemporary rugs. His numerous articles offer money saving tips and valuable insight on typically confusing topics.