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Is Your Rug Faux-Real? How to Distinguish Authentic Persian Rugs From Fakes

authentic persian rugs

The Persian rug industry was once a booming business, bringing in more than $425 million each year. But with new sanctions in place, getting a hold of new Persian rugs is getting more difficult.

For owners of authentic Persian rugs, this is good news. It means your rug is more valuable than ever before. But it must be the real thing.

How can you be sure that the rug in your home is a genuine Persian rug? Luckily, telling the difference between real and fake rugs is surprisingly easy.

Here’s what you need to check:

Figure Out Where the Rug Is From

Authentic Persian rugs are only made in the Middle East, specifically in Iran. If the rugs you have at home come from any other country, they’re not a true Persian rug.

That doesn’t mean they’re low-quality or not beautiful. It just means they’re not Persian.

Hand-knotted rugs made in countries like China, India, Pakistan, and even Turkey are technically Oriental rugs. They often share similar patterns and textures, but despite their beauty, they’re not authentic and you may have paid more than you should have for the rug.

Inspect the Backing

Handwoven rugs are a work of art. The top surface of the rug shows beautiful intricate designs. And those designs show up on the back of the rug.

When you turn your rug over, take a close look a the backing. Authentic Oriental and Persian rugs have backs that clearly mimic the design on the top. And the individual threads should make up the bulk of the backing.

Mass-produced or fake rugs have a plastic backing to hold everything together. It’s what keeps the fibers glued into place and keeps the rug from falling apart.

And you’ll be able to see it clearly. The design from the top of the rug will look faded or you’ll notice defined plastic lines running throughout the rug.

A plastic back is a sure-fire sign that you have a fake gracing the floor of your home.

Think About the Price

If the rug is incredibly cheap, you’re not getting a great deal. You’re getting a fake.

Think about how craftsmen make the authentic rugs you love. They’re made by hand and the process takes time, training, and immense skill.

When you purchase a rug, you’re paying for that expertise.

If you paid several thousand for a large rug, you likely invested in the real thing. But if the price was too good to be true or you got the rug at a steal, it’s likely a fake.

Check Out the Fringe

Handmade rugs have perfectly laid fringe that’s hand-knotted onto the rug itself. This makes it incredibly durable, but also gives the fringe more freedom of movement and helps it lay better on the floor.

Machine-made or mass-produced rugs have fringe that’s sewed on at the end of the manufacturing process.

Look at the fringe on your rug. If you see nothing but knotwork holding the fringe in place, you have the real thing. But if you see a straight sewed line or feel glue beneath the string, your rug is a fake.

Look at the Materials

Modern mass-produced rugs are well-known to have synthetic materials. These include polyester, nylon, and plastic.

Why? Because they’re cheap to make and relatively easy to work with.

But true Persian rugs use much higher quality materials. If your rug maker used dyed wool to create the intricate designs you love, you’ve got an authentic rug.

So, how can you tell? Most manufactured rugs will have a tag telling you about the types of materials used. And those materials will often feel stiffer than natural wool.

With a Persian rug, the materials will be soft to the touch and the fibers should move more easily. Pick up the corner of the rug and see if it bends easily. If it does, it was likely handwoven.

If the rug itself is stiff and feels difficult to move or position, it’s likely made from manufactured materials.

The Colors Bleed Together

There’s a huge difference between high-quality hand-dyed wool used in real Persian rugs and the synthetic fibers used on fakes.

The most obvious is that the colors tend to bleed together in fake Persian rugs. This is because machines lack the precision required to create beautiful and unique designs. The fibers get mixed and the lines between the different designs start to blur.

With handmade rugs, the maker takes time to separate the fibers and keep the design consistent. The result is clearer lines, finer details, and a nicer overall pattern full of vibrant colors that give meaning to the patterns.

Search for Imperfections

Genuine Persian rugs won’t ever be completely perfect. They can’t be. Each maker, no matter how experienced they are, will make at least a few mistakes in the process.

Those mistakes won’t impact the value negatively. Nor will they hurt the quality of the rug.

Machine-made rugs are consistent to a fault. Look at the edging and see if things are completely straight or pulled to a uniform tightness.

If so, there’s a good chance that the rug is a fake. If you notice a few imperfections, it shows that the rug was likely made by hand and is thus the real deal.

Authentic Persian Rugs Are Worth the Price

Authentic Persian rugs are one of the best ways to add visual appeal and class to any room. If you have one on-hand, do whatever you can to keep it in good condition.

It will hold its value for decades. But you do need to have the rug professionally cleaned and repaired anytime you notice damage or wear and tear.

If you’re worried about your genuine Persian rug, contact our team and let our dedicated staff restore your rug to its former splendor.

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