How to Value Carpets & Textiles

Oriental rugs have been a world wide favorite amongst collectors and homeowners for centuries, being appreciated and enjoyed by royalty and laymen alike as works of art and items of elevated luxury and status.

Carpets & Textiles

detail of oriental rug

Would you like to know more about the old rug you picked up at a flea market? Do you have a piece that has been passed down in your family that you wish to have valued? Perhaps you would like to assess the worth of a rug you bought while abroad? The following tips and suggestions will provide insight into how to value your oriental rug so that you can achieve the most accurate estimate as possible.

Condition

The most highly emphasized consideration taken when it comes to determining the value of an oriental rug, is its condition relative to its age. The older the rug is, and the better condition it is in, the more rare and thus valuable it will be on the market. It is important to look out for damage such as discoloration, fading, fraying, holes, burns, stains, and other such compromises to the rug’s quality of appearance and function. However if your rug is not in top notch condition, all is not necessarily lost; in some cases in which a piece is particularly old, rare, and sought after, it may still be worth quite a lot even if it does bare some flaws from the wear of time. Likewise, just because your item is in like-new condition, this does not mean it will be high in value if it is not particularly desirable to buyers on the market.

room of various oriental rugs

Origin

The country in which an oriental rug is made highly impacts its value in the case of both antique and new items alike. Some regions, towns, villages, or workshops are historically well known and highly regarded for their skillmanship and artistry in producing their rugs; and thus with the name comes a reputation that will inherently possess a higher value. For example, the Turkish village of Usak in Central Anatolia has been weaving carpets for centuries and today holds a status as one of the most admired and greatly valued places of origin in terms of weaving. Rugs woven in Turkey today require a great deal more time, finishing processes, and skill than most other contributors to the market, as wool must be hand spun and dyed in small batches of different colors, and Turkish labour is thus more expensive. Alongside this, the fact that an item  bears the label of an authentic Usak rug will ensure that its value will be enduringly high.

Materials and craftsmanship

Not only do the materials and craftsmanship utilized in the making of a textile directly affect its aesthetic appeal, but they are also significant components in determining its value as well. Most often the materials used in the making of oriental rugs will be camel hair, goat hair, wool, cotton, silk, and metal threads. In recently made rugs, materials will be present such as banana silk, cacus silk, and even some synthetic substances. It is necessary in assessing your item’s worth to be aware that wool is available in a variety of grades, or levels of quality. Regions located in areas of higher elevation tend to source their wool from sheep with more dense and substantial coats which allow for a more sumptuous rug pile. Hand weaving the wool as opposed to doing so by machine will also result in a softer, smoother pile; all of these factors will be noticeable in the quality of the rug.

"A rug of lesser quality such as this will be identifiable by its flexibility when handling it, whereas a high quality rug will feel sturdier and more difficult to bend."

Other factors

The knot density of a rug will also affect its worth. Even today most weaving patterns are unique to specific regions, however in some areas where labor is cheaper, weavers are instructed to use knots that are not local to the area. Also as a result of this profit driven approach to weaving, wools of lesser quality and density will be used, and knots will be tied in a flimsy manner; these pieces will not be as durable and resilient against the test of time. A rug of lesser quality such as this will be identifiable by its flexibility when handling it, whereas a high quality rug will feel sturdier and more difficult to bend. 

When it comes to the coloring of a rug, natural dyes are without exception preferred to synthetic ones; this is due to the more earthy appearance of the colors, as well as the expertise and knowledge required to complete the difficult process of their creation. This additional labour and limited availability of those who possess the training to make these colors contribute to the textile’s value.

Appraisal

As is the case with many other works of art and collectibles, but especially in the case of oriental rugs, the more authentic the better. However the only way to truly identify and ascertain whether or not your rug is of this highly regarded caliber, is to seek professional appraisal. Only an expert will be able to truly understand the nature of your rug, thus reducing the margin for error in determining its value as much as possible. Here at Value My Stuff there are professional appraisers in the field who will be able to lead you on your journey to finding the value of your oriental rug today.

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