Aziz Oriental Rug Imports

Persian Rug Buying Tips

Today's beautiful rugs are superior, carefully designed and proficiently woven by artisans who are devoted to producing masterpieces that will last for generations to come. The experience of purchasing a rug is comparable to acquiring a piece of art, therefore it is beneficial to have an understanding about distinctive characteristics when selecting a carpet. Our 10 essential buying tips are 'check-points' that will support intelligent investments.

1.  Origin

2.  Weaving Process

3.  Color

4.  The Knot

5.  Composition

6.  Visual Attributes

7.  Signed Pieces of Art

8.  Where You Buy your Rug

9.  The Care Required

10. Certificate of Authenticity.

1. Origin 


The 'make' is the actual location where a rug is produced. A rug produced in pakistan may be Persian style and could be sold under the name of its style. At the same time, a rug could be woven in the same exact place where its style first originated. Therefore, sometimes the style and the make have the same name, and sometimes they have different names. When you are buying a handmade rug, you need to know both the name of its style, and its make because make could be a factor in the value of the rug.


The 'style' of rug is the design or the look of the rug that the associated to the region, city or the village that they make the rug. Persian styles are the most diverse styles worldwide. There are over fifty different Persian styles woven in Iran and other countries such as India, Pakistan, China, and some European countries. Some well-known Persian styles include Afshar, Arak, Ardabil, Bakhtiari, Bijar, Esfahan, Farahan, Ghouchan, Hamadan, Heriz, Joshaghan, Kashan, Kerman, Kermanshah, Lilian, Malayer, Mashad, Nain, Najafabad, Natanz, Qashghai, Qazvin, Qum, Ravar, Sabzevar, Sarab, Saruk, Senneh, Serapi, Shiraz, Sultanabad, Tabriz, Tehran, Varamin, Yazd and Zanjan.
2. Weaving Process

The most valuable and exquisite rugs are made by hand, celebrating the unique creations of individual artisans. In practice, the hand weaving process has not changed much over the centuries. It still begins with the warp, a vertical stretching of threads on a loom (the frame on which the carpet is created). Knots are hand-tied horizontally across the warp threads row by row to create the design. Following each row of knotted threads, a second series of threads known as weft are interlaced with the warp at right angles, which form the foundation of the rug. The color and thickness of the handknotted wool yarn, the knotting technique and construction determines the appearance of a rug. Each authentic handmade rug possesses its own unique quality through the use of hand-spun wool and hand-dyed yarn that creates a subtle difference.

3. Color

Dyeing can be defined as the process of changing the natural color of materials such as wool, silk, and cotton. Therefore, when we discuss the color of rugs we are there are two types of colors to consider which are natural and synthetic colors. 

Natural Colors

Until the late nineteenth century only natural dyes were used for coloring weaving yarns. Natural dyes include plant dyes, animal dyes, and mineral dyes.Plant dyes come from roots, flowers, leaves, fruit, and bark of plants. 

Below are some examples of plants used as dyes:

  • Woad: mustard family
  • Indigo: blue family
  • Saffron safflower, sumac, turmeric, onionskin, rhubarb, weld, and fustic: yellow family
  • Madder, Redwood and Brazilwood: Red Family
  • Catechu dye, oak bark, oak galls, acorn husks, tea, and walnut husks: brown and Black family.

Please note, all the primary natural colors could be mixed to produce a wide variety of secondary hues. Presently, natural dyes are still used in some traditional dye-houses and villages where natural sources are readily accessible.

Synthetic Colors

During the mid-nineteenth century, the demand for handmade rugs increased in the West, therefore increasing Eastern production. To meet the demand an increased color pallet of synthetic dyes were developed in Germany and imported to Iran to reduce costs. 

The first synthetic dyes was aniline dyes which were made from coal and tar. This dye created brilliant colors but faded rapidly with exposure to light and water. However, the use of these dyes were banned by Nasser-e-Din Shah, the Persian king of Qajar Dynasty, in 1903. Thus causing Persian weavers to discontinue the use of synthetic dyes until the modern synthetic chrome dyes were developed during the first and the second World Wars. 

Chrome dyes are stable (any dye that retains its intensity despite exposure to light and water) and are produced in an infinite range of attractive hues that are mainly used for coloring weaving yarns. When purchasing a rug we have confidence in both types of natural and synthetic colors as they will both age elegantly over time.  

4. Knots

Knotting can be defined as the tying of the colored yarn around the threads of the foundation that creates the pile of a carpet. The most important element in creating a quality rug is its basic construction and the integrity of its principal materials. Additionally, knotting is a precised skill and is crucial to the asthetics of a finished carpet. Rugs do not need to have a large knot count to be high quality. So be wary if someone tries to sell you a rug solely on the basis of a knot count. 


Knots per square inch and determines the number of knots in one square inch of the rug. It represents the overall number of knots used in creation of a handmade rug. Usually, City rugs have higher KPSI since they have more detail and they use finer wool. Tribal rugs have lower KPSI since their design is more simple and geometric.

The diagrams below illustrate two different knotting techniques that are used depending upon the geographical origin and specific use of the carpet.


The cut ends of the yarn emerge between two warp threads around which it is tied. 

The knot is used primarily in Turkey, the Caucasus, and in many rural regions in Iran,

 and by some Turkoman tribes. 


This is also known as the Persian knot and encircles only one pair of warps. 

Many asymmetrically knotted rugs display more finely patterned motifs. 

5. Composition

A rug composition is comprised of three parts; layout, field and border. When we discuss the layout of a rug, we are talking about the overall arrangement of motifs or objects that are woven in to the rug. A motif is any single form or corresponding group of forms that creates a portion of the design. However the term is fairly general and it can be divided into three additional kinds such as one sided, medallion and all-over layouts.

The field of a rug is the area that contains the medallion, motifs and the corners of the rug. Generally, the field's color is the dominant color of the background with exception to the border.  Frequently used background colors are red, blue, beige, and yellow.

Surrounding the field are two borders including internal and external. While the internal border frames the field, the external border encompasses the whole rug, which is secured by Selvedge. Additionally, the border color is not as readily distinguished as the background color. Most border colors consist of red, blue, beige, yellow, and green.

One Sided Layouts

Prayer and pictorial rugs are consider to have one sided layouts 

because the design is woven in one direction. As a result, these 

designs can only be viewed from one side (similar to a photograph). 

Medallion Layouts

It is customary for most handmade rugs to have a medallion layout. 

The image to the left illustrates the focal point of the design, which in 

Persian is known as 'Toranj'.

All-Over Layout

Afshan (Persian), or scattered is used to describe the all-over layout. 

Contrast to above layouts there are no dominant or central designs. 

Alternatively, the motifs flow throughout the rug and occasionally create seamless patterns. 

Additionally, the motifs do not have size constraints therefore patterns can vary.

Repeating, endless repeat, and paneled designs fit within this category.