Last week we discussed sofas and what to look for when buying a quality piece. Today we are going to discuss Oriental rugs. Keep in mind that wool contemporary rugs would follow these same standards.
Quality Oriental rugs are usually made from silk, wool or a combination of the two. Wool is resistant to wear and tear and retains its appearance for years to come. Silk is softer underfoot than wool and has a wonderful, luxurious sheen. But it stains more easily and may flatten with heavy traffic.
A handknotted Oriental rug should have a base of either cotton for wool version or silk for a silk version. The base is made up of the warp (horizontal strings, which extend to become the fringe at either end) and the weft (vertical strings). Individual strands are knotted tightly onto the warp and weft by the carpetmaker.
A key measure of a rug's quality is the knot count, measured by the square inch. Flip the rug over and count the knots: a good rug should have at least 100 knots per square inch; a high-end silk rug can have as many as 1,000. There shouldn't be any gaps between knots. The higher the knot count, the denser and more durable the rug will be. If you can't make out any knots and the fringe appears to be stiched on, the rug is most likely machine made. A good quality rug should have even colour with no faded spots.