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What Makes a Rug Shop Rug?

All of our rugs are hand-knotted by highly skilled artisans, working with traditional materials and methods that date back centuries. From genuine nomadic tribal pieces, to contemporary pieces made in established workshops, each rug forms a link in a chain that stretches back into antiquity.

We personally visit the most prominent rug-making centres in Persia, Afghanistan, Nepal and India to bring you a unique range of idiosyncratic pieces that represent the very best of their kind. We also take care that our partners uphold ethical standards that are worthy of their fine products.

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How is a Rug Made?

The foundation of a rug is formed by tying hundreds of vertical warp threads to the top and bottom of the loom. A horizontal weft thread is the woven through these to form a mesh onto which a row of knots can be tied. The rug is built like this, one row at a time until the pattern is completed.

 

The exposed ends of the vertical warp threads are trimmed to form the fringes. The pile is shaved down to a uniform height. More elaborate designs tend to be trimmed to a very low depth to allow the details to stand out.

The same process is used to create all of our rugs, from the classic Persian pieces to the contemporary range

How are Rugs Made?

What Affects the Price of a Rug?

There are a number of things that affect the price of a rug, but the main things to consider are as follows:

Knot Count    |    Materials    |    Rarity

To read more about these factors, continue scrolling or click on the one you're interested in.

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Knot Count

Knot-count refers to the density of knots in the rug. The more knots per square inch (KPSI), the longer the rug takes to make and thus, the higher the price. A good analogy is the number of pixels in a television screen - the higher the resolution, the higher the detail in the image.

 

A low knot-count is not a sign of low quality, it simply means that there is less detail in the pattern. This does not detract from the rug if the pattern is relatively simple or abstracted to begin with, as it does not need to be rendered with maximal precision to achieve the same effect. More elaborate and lifelike patterns do benefit from higher knot counts as it allows the designer more room for detail in their motifs.

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Knot Count

Materials

Some materials are more expensive than others, and so their inclusion in a rug and the amount used will effect its price. Silk has long been valued for its qualities of softness and durability, as well as its characteristic glossy appearance. The complex process of manufacturing silk makes it more expensive than relatively simple-to-produce fibres like wool, for example. Different materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. Wool is soft and abundant, but is susceptible to moth damage. Cotton is resistant to moth, but is not quite as plush as wool and so is generally only used for the foundation. Silk is rare and expensive, but is also strong, luxuriant and beautiful. ​Materials also vary in quality amongst themselves. Some wools are better than others, for instance "cork wool" (which is sheared in the autumn from the chest and neck of the sheep or goat), is renowned for its soft texture and is reserved for finer pieces. ​When creating a rug, manufacturers choose appropriate materials for the kind of rug that they are making. It is not necessary to use the most expensive materials to create an excellent rug, and even if such materials were abundant, rug-makers would still use simple wool as it is so perfectly suited to the job.

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Materials
Rarity

Rarity

Some rugs are neither particularly fine nor composed of particularly elaborate materials, but are still highly valued by rug merchants and collectors. This may be because they are old, contain unusual or unique motifs, feature a prestigious signature, have some historical interest, or some combination of the above. Some rugs are more commercial than others, and as such are easy to replace with similar pieces. Others may be utterly unique, or belong to a rug-making tradition that simply no longer exists. Certain old Persian tribal rugs for example, were made by tribes that have since disbanded or been subsumed by larger tribes, and as such are now irreplaceable. Other rugs may have once been quite common, but are now difficult to find in a serviceable condition. Well-known rug making workshops will often include a signature on their rug, which helps to differentiate them from less established rug-makers. This will generally be found in a cartouche in the top-centre of the rug.

Characteristics of Persian Rugs

Because of the way in which our rugs are manufactured, and the traditions that produce them, you will often find certain effects and idiosyncrasies in them that are absent from cheaper, machine made pieces. These speak to the long history of craftsmanship that goes in to making a Persian rug

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