Creating a hand knotted Oriental rug is a process of long hours and expert skill, which is why handmade rugs tend to carry higher price tags. But how do you know if the rug that you are considering investing in is truly handmade, or if you are looking at a machine-made knock off? Here are three tips for making sure that you are getting a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Inspect the Back of the Rug
The first thing to do when trying to determine if a rug is handmade or machine made is to look at the back. Hand knotted rugs, no matter how expertly crafted, can never look perfectly uniform on the back. The knots will never be precisely the same size, or perfectly even. Rug makers are too busy getting the front of the rug to look perfect, to worry about the back. But with a machine, it’s simple for the back to look totally smooth and uniform. Additionally, if you want to know if a hand-made rug is worth the price tag, consider how much detailing you see of the pattern on the back. In general, the more detailed the design is from the back, the better the quality overall.
Next Look at the Fringe
The next step is to check out the fringe of the rug. In an authentic hand-made rug, the fringe is part of the actual rug fibers themselves. In fact, if you were to cut the fringe of a hand knotted rug, the entire rug would quickly begin to fall apart. So if you look at the fringe, and it’s clear that each fringe strand is an extension of the body itself, chances are good you are looking at a hand made rug. Machine-made Oriental rugs will have the fringe sewn on after the fact, and the threads will not line up with the body of the rug.
Look Carefully at the Colors
In a hand made rug, there are often slight variations in the color throughout the pattern. This is because most hand knotted rugs are made entirely by hand from start to finish, and that includes the process of dying the fibers. Dye done by hand will have variations in the color – for example, the red in one part of the rug will have just a slightly darker hue than the red a few strands over. But in a machine-made rug, the colors will be totally uniform, because all of the fibers are dyed in a single batch.
Don’t Be Fooled by a High Price Tag
Just because an Oriental rug carries a high price tag does not mean it is an authentic, hand made rug. Be sure to carefully consider these three areas before investing in this work of art.