Welcome to another entry in Fine Rug Collection's blog! This week, we're taking a look into an important aspect that comes into play with virtually anything you're considering to purchase: quality.
When it comes to quality, every item has its own traits that define it. Is this product dirty? Is this product in good shape? Is this product still working and in pristine condition? Is there something that makes this product stand out from similar models and renditions? These aren't necessarily the questions to ask when it comes to quality--this is the basis for anyone who's wondering what exactly defines a product's quality.
Each of these avenues of considering play an important part into an Oriental rug. Considering the massive scope and every possible which-way this thinking could run over, we're going to lay out the most important factors in an Oriental rug's quality.
Here are the four primary aspects to consider pertaining to a rug's grade:
- The centuries behind a rug's first forging, giving it an antiquity look and quality level that's incomparable.
- Natural (Vegetable) or Synthetic. Both are of good quality, but Natural dye gives an Oriental rug a further original edge than something Synthetic.
- Wool, Cotton, or Silk
- Knot Count
- KPSI (Knots Per Square Inch)
Lets dive a bit deeper into each subject to outline why they're all so important.
Every Oriental rug has its own story, own history behind its creation. The creation of Oriental rugs dates all the way back to centuries past. While some rugs have been made in the last century, a number of them, such as the Peshawar and Oushak, date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Though age is an indication of "quality", it's more of an indicator pertaining to antiquity. In other words, while every Oriental rug is a piece of history and heritage, certain types have a further established antiquity behind them dependent on their years of first manifestation.
Another important factor is dye. This trait is rather straightforward since there are only two avenues a rug can take concerning its color: Natural (Vegetable) dye, or Synthetic dye. Though neither is necessarily of a "higher" quality, Vegetable dye gives a rug a further authentic and original feel. Synthetic, though it doesn't wear down the rug's prestige, is a man-made approach rather than handmade.
There are three materials that can make up an Oriental rug: wool, cotton and silk. Wool is the most common material; cotton is likewise quite common, but not as common; silk is rarely found due to its lofty value. Now, this isn't to say that wool or cotton decrease an Oriental rug's quality in the slightest--they're simply the most common resources used due to the thorough heritage within the rug making world. Silk is utilized as an added flavor or texture to carpets which can act as a differentiating and unique factor. Nearly all the time will you have a rug composed of either wool or cotton with a sometimes added texture of silk to give it a further unique embodiment.
This is the deciding factor with an Oriental rug's quality: its crafting method and structure. Though an Oriental rug's materials, age, and dye are important, the way it is made is the primary deciding factor upon its quality. This is because all Oriental rugs are handmade knot by knot over the course of months, if not years.
As the weaving process takes place, knot after knot is woven one after the other. To say the least, it's nearly impossible to figure out the entire number of knots within an Oriental rug. Instead, the rug is measured by Knots Per Square Inch (or KPSI). Through KPSI, a rug's quality is dictated--the higher count of knots, the better the quality, and vice versa for lesser knots.
Different types of Oriental Rugs go by different styles of measurement. Though KPSI is the deciding factor, the actual grade of quality has different labels based on the type of rug. Below are is the method of measuring a Persian rug's quality.
Persian Rugs Quality Measurement
Persian rugs are the primary brand beneath the Oriental rug family. Other brands, such as Indian, possess their own method of dictating a rug's quality, but the Persian rug's system is easy and straightforward to understand.
On this chart we see two terms: Raj, and KPSI. We've already defined KPSI, but we haven't gone over Raj. Think of Raj in this way: the bigger the Raj, the better the quality of rug. Raj scales with the KPSI of the rug. Raj is just a term to basically indicate the pedigree of an Oriental rug without getting into the formalities of KPSI.
The whole reason behind "more knots=higher quality" is because it's a clear indication of the amount of work poured into the rug. That isn't to downplay rugs that lack hundreds of knots like they're some terrible item--it's to give credit where it's due for how much time is needed in each rug. Some rugs have always had a natural design that's "tighter", causing it to need more knots instead of lesser. Some rugs have always had a natural design that's "wider", causing it to need less knots instead of more. Both sides of the spectrum are just to be used as an indication and explanation behind the importance of knots. Most of the time, yes, higher knots means higher quality, but you should know if knot count is truly an indication of that rug type's quality.
Overall, there's a lot to consider when looking into an Oriental rug. To most, they simply seem like original beauties that you'd love to adorn in your household. Understanding the amount of work poured into these ancient works of art is how you get the most out of your purchase. If you know what you're purchasing, knowing the pedigree of the rug you're seeking, knowing the importance of its history, its weave, its very fibers and composition, you're going to be confident and happy with your purchase.
We're always here to help, and we hope you're enjoyed another look into the machinations of Oriental rugs. Cheers, and until next time!