Persian rug appraisal: How is an artisan carpet valued?

oriental rug

Photo Credit: Ursula Page

Carpets can be classified into three types: machine-made carpets, semi-handmade carpets, and hand-knotted carpets. Real artisan carpets include Oriental and Persian rugs, both traditional and modern. If you are thinking of investing in a rug, genuine handmade Persian carpets are an obvious choice for their investment and aesthetic appeal. If you want to know the value of a Persian carpet or rug, consider the following points.

Indicators for valuing a rug

A Persian rug’s valuation depends on many variables, the origin, the type, and, mainly, the thickness of its knots, which will mark the density of knots per m2. Other essential factors are the materials with which it is made, its age, and the size.

Knot density

Knot density is based on the number of knots that make up a rug. The more knots, the higher the value of a rug. If a carpet has about 150,000 knots per square meter, the price will be lower than a piece with more than 500,000 knots.

Materials used

The materials used for rug making are diverse. Although the most precious textile is silk, many rugs are made with wool and silk are equally beautiful and valuable. Most oriental artisan pieces are woven with silk, wool, or a combination of both.

Design elements

The design elements presented in the rug and the variety and detail of its motifs directly impact the final price. This is due to the more detailed the design, a higher density of knots is required.

Age of the rug

When it comes to valuing a rug, seniority is a favorable element. Carpets or rugs over 100 years old are the most highly valued.

Rug condition

The condition of the rug will determine, in part, its current value. Not all oriental rugs are revalued at intervals, and many conditions influence the valuation when it comes to appraising a piece. For example, an old Ushak carpet in a not particularly good state can be an unbelievably valuable item, something that does not happen with regular machine-made rugs.

Origin

If it is an authentic Persian rug you are after, make sure the country of origin is Iran, which historically was known as Persia. Check the weave on the back of the rug, as if it is a genuine Persian hand-knotted rug, you should be able to see the design close in resemblance to that on the upside of the piece.

Research online

While it is no substitute for an expert opinion, you can get a reasonable idea of the correct price of an original hand-knotted Persian or Oriental rug by researching online. However, be aware that it takes many years of practice working within the rug business to be proficient in correctly pricing a Persian or rug or carpet. There are thousands of diverse types of rugs made in countries worldwide from Morocco to China, and the topic is vast and can be extremely bewildering for a layperson.

Considerations

The only fool proof way of knowing the real value of a hand-knotted Persian rug is to consult with a retailer or rug expert you can trust. If possible, ask friends and family for recommendations, or if you are working with an interior designer, it is highly likely they will have a rug supplier. However, an interior designer’s supplier will almost certainly receive a commission from the sale, which will increase the price of the item. Very rarely will a dealer not increase the cost and accept a lower profit margin through an interior designer’s project.

Avoid any carpet retailers who claim massive reductions in prices of up to 80%. The original prices are grossly exaggerated to ensure the sale price still gives the seller a healthy profit margin.

Some valuable rug buyers like to take safety in high prices, assuming a high price guarantees a high-quality rug. If you are one of these buyers, be prepared to barter for a lower price. Rug ticket prices usually give a high-profit margin, and sellers are ready to bargain and willing to adjust the pricing, often depending on their assumption of how much you can afford. Do not dress in obviously expensive clothes or park your Ferrari outside the showroom when shopping for a rug.

Never give your address before receiving close ballpark prices for the carpets you see online. Unethical dealers will look up your address to see your home’s value and tailor their prices accordingly.

Remember, the most expensive rug may not be the best for your requirements. A dealer who shows you a range of rugs at various price points and recommends one of the lower-priced, or at least not the most expensive, is likely to be trustworthy.


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