Investment pieces for your home can run the gamut and you may think a rug isn’t one of them because it gets walked on….but, an antique rug can be a great investment, if you know what to look for.
There probably is not one single factor that determines a rugs value – I’m no rug expert, but I have heard that the “knots” per square inch seem to add value….Appraisers of antique rugs seem to say it has to do with a few other things as well as knots per square inch.
AGE and CONDITION
The knot type and size does determine the quality of a rug’s construction while AGE and CONDITION of the rug add value. The older the rug is and the better condition it is in for sure dictates its value. Ok so RULE #1 – look for an older rug in good condition.
Buying modern oushak rug can be a tedious process. However, these rugs are beautiful, especially the modern ones. They are able to transcend time and place with their rich colors and intricate patterns.
You are going to want a rug that does not have frayed edges – they can unravel quickly AND this is the most costly area to repair. Avoid the hassle.
The country of origin is important
For example, a vintage Oushak rug made in India is going to have less value than an Oushak make in Turkey, its original place of origin. Your cost difference will be considerable as well. The country of origin impacts the value of antique rugs as does a particular region– a certain village or tribe may be renowned for their craftsmanship or beauty during the time that the carpet was made. The Turkish village of Usak is in Central Anatolia
and they have been weaving Usak carpets there for hundreds of years. Acquiring a rug from that particular village increases the value of your rug dramatically. Rule #2 – The fact that an Usak rug is authentic (actually made in the Usak village) adds to its potential long term value.
To ensure that a machine hasn’t made the carpet, always look at the back of it. “When you flip the rug, it must look almost identical to the front.
Oushak rugs can also command higher prices because the larger ones are so much harder to find in good condition. Turkish labor is quite expensive as well – from start to finish the hand weaving process is laborious and commands time, talent and ultimately a high dollar price for the finished product. The weaving and finishing processes begin with the shearing of wool, spinning the wool and then dying the wool in small batches – in comparison to other types of new rugs.
So Rule #3 – when you are looking at Oushak rugs and your mouth drops open at the price tag, just remember what you are paying for: the labor intensive efforts put forth in making the rug!
Note to self: All of our Oushak rugs come from various areas of Turkey. Rugs shown here are from Aubergine Antiques – Fairhope AL 251-928-0902
MATERIALS AND CRAFTSMANSHIP
The most common materials for Oriental rug construction are wool, cotton, silk, metal threads, goat hair and camel hair.
It is also important to understand that not all wool is the same. There valued differences in the grade of wool being used which comes from its feel and seeing the fineness of the wool. This is important because it tells us how it was spun before it was woven.
And of course, when the sheep are raised at higher elevations they tend to generate a more luxurious coat and ultimately better wool — resulting in a more luxurious rug pile. Hand spinning the wool versus machine spinning the wool makes a softer and more natural looking pile. Again, adding to cost because of the time it takes to hand spin the wool.
When dyes are used in the construction of the rug using natural dye will add to the calmness and less saturated colors in the rug. Vibrantly colored rugs are also beautiful; however, the less intense the colors, the more complicated the rug is to make. This type of dying requires expert knowledge and the scarcity of these artisans are becoming more difficult to find which adds value to the rug.
KNOTS and their DENSITY
Typically the art of rug making is a family tradition passed down from mother to daughter. By geography one can trace where the rug was woven by the knot – While knot size is a consideration, the more important consideration is the density of the wool and how the knots are tied. A quick way to determine the longevity of a rug is to take it in your hand – if it has a bit of sturdiness to it, it will wear better than one that is flimsy with loosely tied knots. A hand knotted rug can be identified by looking at the back of the rug. Below is an example of an authentically hand knotted rug versus a machine made rug. Note the difference in how the knots look.
So there you have it in a condensed version – the knot alone does not determine the rugs quality, but the quality is based on the wool choice, the actual construction of the rug, the weaving accomplishment and finally the actual visual appeal presented by the weaver. FINAL RULE – If the rug isn’t beautiful to the person buying it then it has all been for nothing!
Stop buy our Antique Store – Aubergine Antiques – and let us help you pick out a rug that will suit your needs. We carry all sizes of Oushaks as well as Persian and Heriz rugs — all are beautiful.
Below the Owner of Crown and Colony Antiques, Aubergine Antiques and RF Antiques is Peter Fargason (right) and the Manager of Aubergine Antiques, Jack McCown. Both extremely knowledgeable about the rugs we sell.