How to Buy Oriental Rugs - The Buying Process

Article Summary: How to Buy Oriental Rugs. Having learned where to source your Oriental rugs, you now need a process whereby you can effectively screen potential purchases and at the end of the day end up with a unique, collectible and valuable rug. This article explains that process.

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No matter where you buy your oriental rug from, you will probably want to haggle to get the price down, regardless of what price is being asked. While some people love to haggle, others hate it - and often pay too much for their reluctance. If you are buying from a small store, or larger retailer you should always make an offer on a rug you like, rather than paying the full asking price. If you really don't want to haggle, take a friend with you who isn't quite so reluctant. Quite often a dealer will be happy for you to take a particular rug home with you so that you can see it in-situ. Use this time to do a bit of research about similar rugs in different stores. Compare prices, quality, age and condition.

Identifying Oriental Rugs

Buying Specifics:

If buying from a dealer, does he have professional trade qualifications, for example a reputable trade organization like the Oriental Rug Retailers of America? How long has he been in the business? What guarantees will he give you and are they in writing? Can you exchange the rug at a later date if you change your mind?

One of the biggest factors affecting a rug's value is condition. Partially this will be determined by the age of the rug, but in some cases it adds something to the 'genuineness' of the rug. Other things to look out for include the age, price, color and integrity of the fabric. The integrity of the fabric relates to whether the rug has been altered at some stage during its life. It is quite common for rugs to be lengthened, shortened, or widened. If this is the case, look for another rug as the value won't be much at all. Also the rug should not be loosely woven, always look for a nice tight weave. Unfortunately rugs do rot if left in damp conditions. By twisting and gently pulling a rug you will be able to hear any tell-tale tearing or "popping" noises, a dead giveaway.

Something needs to be said about repairs. A repaired rug is not necessarily a bad thing. Some collectors go out of their way to find these types of rugs, because they think that they have a more genuine air about them. Try to find some repaired rugs and ask a trusted seller what their opinion is.

Colors of rugs are of course to a certain extent in the eye of the beholder. However, whatever colors you like make sure that they are rich and vibrant, not washed out and dull looking. Clean, sharp colors in a rug indicate that the rug maker has used good quality dyes as against colors that are dull lifeless, which may indicate the use of either poor quality dye or even a chemical painting process.

Fading is not as serious, but should not detract from the overall look of the rug as far as clarity goes. Faded rugs are sometimes "touched-up" by using felt tipped marker pens. You will have to inspect closely to see this but be on your guard, it does happen.

The Dyeing Process of antique rugs uses vegetable dyes that today may well have faded a bit or even run, but compared to modern techniques that use synthetic dyes, they are much more valuable. The tried and tested method to test for chemical dyes is to wet a white handkerchief and in various spots over the rug, gently rub the hanky. If no color comes off the rug, there should be no problem.

If you are looking at a pile rug, separate the pile and look deep down into the base of the pile. Is it the same color as the top? If it is you can be fairly certain that the rug has not been painted chemically. Expect an old rug to have worn in spots, but definitely not over the entire rug surface. This would indicate that the rug has been artificially aged and should be avoided.

As you search for a rug that you like you should familiarize yourself with the designs that you most like. Examples of this include the Persian rug that will often have a center medallion, while rugs from Tabriz, Isfahan, Kerman, Kashan and Nain are characterized by flowing designs that have mixed patterns spread over the rug. Caucasian rugs often have a center medallion with geometric patterns around.

There are two trains of thought when it comes to buying for the first time. One is to admit to the dealer that you know very little about carpets and rugs and will rely on their honesty to guide you. The other is to admit nothing and bluff your way to a bargain buy. Our advice is unless you know and have recommendations for a particular dealer, never admit that you are a rank beginner. No matter how nervous you are, by first getting to know a few facts, you can convince any dealer that you know what you're doing. Just be yourself, throw in a few choice rug-related phrases and you will be treated with a lot of respect - at the end of the day the dealer wants you to buy from him!

If you set eyes on a rug that you simply must have - and we've all done it! - try to keep your excitement from the seller. Keep your calm and concentrate on the job at hand which is securing the rug at the best possible price, without offering ridiculously low prices.

There is such a thing as "buyer's remorse". After buying any product, not just rugs there are always questions like, "Did I pay too much?", "Is the rug genuine?", "What if I find something else?" If you see a rug you like and it meets all your expectations, buy it. There are always remedies for serious matters of misrepresentation by a seller, even months later. However, pricing is a much more difficult thing to correct after purchase and if you seriously overpay for a rug you may well have to resign yourself to the fact that you just made a mistake.

Now go out and buy an Oriental Rug!