How do you work out the quality of a rug?
There are a number of factors that determines the quality of a rug and influences its value and this Quality Guide serves as a basic guide for the main principles in rug valuation. If you would like a rug appraised for insurance values, we recommend you contact a professional appraiser.
Type of Rug – How the rug is constructed has a large bearing on the value attached to it. Generally, a high quality hand-made rug will have a greater value than a high quality machine made rug in much the same way that a hand painted painting’s value is greater than a machine print.
What this comes down to is simply valuing the talent, time, material and expertise that a weaver has devoted to creating the rug. A hand made rug will also retain its value (and potentially increase in value over time) if it ages well and becomes antique (i.e. over 100 years old).
We have created a Manufacturing Guide for more information.
Density – This is by far the most often quoted method and is generally a good rule of thumb when assessing and comparing the quality of a rug. Very simply, the greater the number of knots or points (1 knot = 2 points) per square meter, the better the quality of that rug.
In short, the greater the amount of knots/points:
- the more material is being used in the entire rug
- the finer (higher quality) the yarn is required to make the rug
- the greater the capacity for the weaver to create a more sophisticated and detailed design
- the longer it takes to produce the finished product
- the tighter weave which means the rug keeps its integrity longer and can bear more wear and tear over time
Type of Material – There are many different materials that can be used to make a rug. In general, these can be placed into two main categories: natural materials and synthetic materials.
Generally, rugs made from natural materials such as Wool, Silk are more expensive and more highly sought after than rugs made from synthetic materials such as Heat-set polypropylene, Acrylic, Polyester and so on.
Fine threads like silk and wool are commonly used to produce hand knotted rugs, while coarser (blended) wool mixes, acrylics, polypropylene and polyester are used to produce tufted and machine made rugs.
We have created a Materials Guide for more information.
Quality of Material – Related to the previous section ‘Type of Material’, a more subtle measure of the quality of the rug is the quality of those materials used.
For instance there are many different types of wools available, and there is a strict hierarchy of qualities in that material ranging from 100% NZ Wool which is the highest quality used for producing rugs, to blended versions of wool.
Generally the longer the length of the fibre, and narrower of the fibre, the more expensive the yarn is because it doesn’t shed or break as easily. Typically the higher the quality of the yarn, the greater the lustre, softness and feel of the rug and the less it will ‘shed’.
Design – A more subjective measure of determining the quality of a rug is in the design of a rug. In handmade rugs a more intricate the design means the higher quality.
Shape – A more basic measure of a rug quality and its ability to retain its value is in the uniformity of its shape i.e. perfectly square and evenness of the bordering adds to the overall quality of the rug. Generally the tight woven rugs maintain their shape better over time.
Colour – Colour is obviously an essential part of the rug and the element that most catches the eye. Therefore the quality of the dye used is very important when determining the overall value of the rug.
Previous generations of rug weavers used locally available dyes such a wall-nut skin, permanganate, pomegranate etc. which were not colour-fast and could ‘bleed’ if wet. Nowadays nearly all dyes used are colour-fast.