Old Persian rug pattern

There’s no denying the fact that Oriental rugs add a lot of color and beauty to your home. They can also be heirlooms, and last for decades with the right care. However, there’s a brisk trade in fake Oriental rugs, and there’s a chance that the one you prize so much isn’t actually the real deal. How do you tell if your Oriental rug is fake?

Check the Backing

One of the best ways to tell if your Oriental rug is fake is the flip it over and look at the reverse. If you see the same pattern and material on the back, you have a genuine Oriental rug. However, if there’s a backing on the rug, you have a fake. If there’s a plastic backing in place, you actually have a tufted rug that might only last five or six years. The backing is what holds the rug material in place. With an authentic rug, the fabric is woven by hand, and will last for decades, if not for centuries.

Check the Fringe

Check the fringe on your rug. If there’s a seam between the fringe and the body of the rug, that means it’s been sewn on, and you have a fake. If there is no seam, it means that the fibers are handwoven, and you have an authentic Oriental rug. In an authentic rug, the fringe is part of what holds the rug together and you’ll notice knots at the base of the fringe, rather than a seam.

Look for Manufacturer Information

If you’re buying a rug new, look for manufacturer information. If you see a country of origin other than the Middle East, you’re looking at a fake Oriental rug. Rugs manufactured in the US, in China, or in Europe are not authentic, at least not when you’re discussing Persian rugs. Other information that can help you make a smart buying decisions includes finding the words “hand tufted” on the label. Authentic Oriental rugs are hand knotted, not hand tufted. Hand tufting is usually done in China (the US machine manufactures their rugs). Tufted rugs will also have a plastic or rubber backing.

Dye Type and Colorfastness

Rugs can be dyed with a number of different options, including chemical dyes. These are not used with authentic Oriental rugs. Vegetal-dyed rugs are much more likely to be authentic, as are natural or non-dyed rugs. You should also consider the colorfastness of the rug. Rugs that have little colorfastness are generally less likely to be authentic. To check for colorfastness, simply dampen a paper towel and then hold it to the rug. If the towel comes away with dye on it, you know the rug is not particularly colorfast.

It Was Cheap

Perhaps the best indicator that your Oriental rug is a fake is if you got it very cheap. Authentic Oriental rugs are hand woven and unique creations. They are never found in bargain or discount bins.

With these tips, you should be able to determine if your Oriental rug is a fake, or if you have a true heirloom.