Buying an Oriental Carpet

RugsText by Linda Wright / Styling by Yukie Mclean

Men and women have long covered floors to provide warmth and comfort to the home, even when home was a cave and the rug was an animal skin.

Paige Albright, owner of Paige Albright Orientals, specializes in a wide variety of antique Oriental rugs and believes, “There’s a story in every stitch.” She admits rugs are practical, providing insulation, but notes her clients are more influenced by their beauty and history.Rugs1

The stitches of the famous Pazyryk Carpet certainly have tales to tell. Found in 1948 in Siberia, the rug is credited with being the world’s oldest surviving woven carpet. Literally
frozen in time, it is thought to be from the 5th century BC, and it’s debated whether it originated in Armenia or Persia (Iran), two prolific centers of carpet production. Along with Turkey, these areas are still hubs for the carpet business today.

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“Rugs are classified by the name of the regions where they were woven,” Paige explains. “An example would be Oushaks from Turkey.” Carpets are also categorized as city rugs and tribal rugs. City rugs have more knots per inch, and therefore designs are more detailed. Tribal rugs are coarser with fewer knots, and the patterns are often geometric.

Even carpet remnants have found a place in both traditional and contemporary decorating. Paige has a piece of an antique rug framed and hanging in her home. Pillow coverings made of pieces of antique weavings and reproductions are also popular decorative accents.

Paige laughingly confesses to being a “rug nerd,” loving the history, design, and textures of each and every weaving. It’s no wonder her avocation and vocation are one and the same.

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If you are considering buying an Oriental carpet, here are four valuable tips from Paige Albright Orientals:

1. Measure the room where the rug is to be used from wall to wall. Rugs are priced according to size, age, and condition.

2. Check the knotting on the back of the rug and the consistency of the rug’s pattern and color.

3. Think about the traffic the rug will receive in your home. Different weaves will vary in showing wear in the carpet.

4. Buy the best you can afford. A handmade rug is usually more valuable and can last 50 to 100 years.