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The Right Way to Identify a Persian Rug

How to identify a Persian rug

Persian rugs are part of the tradition of Iran, ancient Persia, becoming a manifestation of its culture that dates back to the Bronze Age. Although they are currently considered luxury pieces, they have nothing to do with their modest beginnings, when nomadic tribes used them to protect themselves from the icy winters.

It was from then on when they became a means of artistic expression linked to freedom, since for their preparation it was necessary to select the most appropriate colors and motifs. Persian rugs are characterized by the presence of bright colors and motifs inspired by nature, designs that were made under a rigorous technique that has been passed down from generation to generation. Currently, these pieces continue to be luxurious elements, with an important role in current and future decoration trends.

In this article, we want to help you become an expert in identifying a Persian or an oriental rug, so let’s share with you the difference between Persian and oriental rugs in a way that, whenever you are buying any of them, you can be sure you are choosing exactly the rug you are looking for.

Keys to be able to recognize a Persian rug:

  • To identify a Persian rug, a first step may be to verify the place of origin. If the piece is knotted in Iran, it means that the rug is authentically Persian. If its origin has another origin such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India or Nepal, for example, we would not be dealing with a Persian rug, but an “oriental rug”.
  • The manufacturing method also determines the authenticity of the piece. The handmade rugs are made on a loom where the design is developed, manually knotting thread by thread. This procedure is slow and can sometimes take months or even years to complete. On the contrary, if the process is mechanized, the work can be ready in a few hours.
  • Looking closely at the fringes will also help us determine if the rug has been made by hand or by machine. In the pieces made by hand, the fringes are part of the surface, as they are the continuation of the warps or vertical threads used in the looms and on which the carpet is knotted or woven. On the contrary, the pieces made by machine have fringes that have been sewn once the rug has been manufactured.
  • Another key that will help us distinguish a Persian rug is the materials used to make it. The main raw materials in this type of pieces are wool, silk and cotton. Wool and silk are usually the main materials when making rugs, while cotton is usually used for wefts and warps. Sheep’s wool is the most widely used (specifically long fiber, which is extracted from the animal’s shoulders and sides), although lamb’s wool is also of particular importance. The wool from the neck and chest of the animals is, in general, the softest as it is well protected from inclement weather.
  • Machine-made rugs have exact measurements. While in traditionally knotted rugs there are variations in size, they may have small deformations or undulations produced by the tension of the loom and the knots made by the artisan are also sometimes irregular. To see if a rug is handmade, it is recommended to always look at the back. In the oriental rugs, on the reverse, the design can be seen as clear as on the face, not in the mechanical rugs. In an artisan piece the drawings can present differences in shape and size, in a mechanical piece they are always exact. If the rug is handmade, it will have side trims made by hand, in machine-made rugs the sides are too.


Hello, I’m Rachel Collins. Until recently, I ran my own patchwork quilt business. Having retired from that I have turned my e-commerce site into this blog where I discuss business, home and garden and lifestyle topics for you to enjoy...

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