Antique - 100 years and older. Always check for dry rot or previous repairs. Inspect for excessive wear, broken foundation threads, and replacement fringes. Be wary of old rugs that look new! They may have been repaired or painted.
Semi-Antique – 50 to 99 years old. These rugs are fairly easy to find today. To find a bargain, make sure to tell the rug dealer if you have seen a rug similar in age and design for less.
Vintage - 20 to 49 years old. These rugs will probably be sub-standard if they are post-embargo Persian rugs from Iran. However, rugs from other countries may be better than average for their own regions. Inspect for color runs or rugs that look like they have been unraveled and then shortened or overcast at the ends.
New - 0 to 19 years old. In this category you will find many tufted rugs which are held together with glue and not only will not last long but often emit a nasty odor from the off-gassing of the glue. Knotted or woven rugs without backings that are glued on will last much longer.
Be aware that many rugs manufactured in the last 20 years or so have been made quicker, faster, and cheaper and are not meant to last for many years. An exception to this rule are some of the wool, machine-made rugs such as Karastan, still being made today in the U.S.
Tribal – These are small rugs, usually oddly shaped and coarsely woven. They are typically produced by nomadic people and the color palette tends to be limited with the designs being geometric. Examples are Beluch and Turkoman.
Village – Woven in utilitarian sizes, these rugs are occasionally misshapen and are usually colorful. The quality of the weave will vary depending on the skill level of the at-home weaver. The patterns are more curvilinear than the tribal rugs but still quite geometric. Examples are Hamadan and Heriz.
City – These are the rugs that are woven by skillful weavers, in factories, on permanent looms with a foreman in charge to oversee the speed and quality of the weaving being produced. They are typically intended for export and they come in various 'American' sizes. They are fine in quality and fancy in design. Examples are Tabriz and Kerman.
Palace – These rugs are huge in size, very complex in design, and very fine in quality. These rugs used to be woven by Royal commission and are a rarity. If a rug at a dealer is labeled 'Palace,' it is most likely simply a reference to the fact that it is an oversized, fine carpet.
Persian – Made in Iran
Turkish – Made in Turkey
Indian – Made in India
Chinese – Made in China
Pakistani – Made in Pakistan
Afghani – Made in Afghanistan
Caucasian – Made in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea
Indo-Persian – Made in India, but in a Persian motif
Sino-Persian – Made in China, but in a Persian motif
Paki-Persian – Made in Pakistan, but in a Persian motif
Oriental – From the East
Occidental – From the West
There are many other rug weaving countries: Peru, Egypt, Greece, Spain, France, Romania, Morocco, Mexico, the United States, etc.However, their rugs may not be as commonly found in an everyday retail rug store.
Tufted - Latex Back, Cloth Back, Glued Hems.
Knotted - Warp & Weft Foundation, Pile.
Woven - Flatweaves, Reversibles, No Pile.
Bordered -Seams, Hot-Melt Seaming Tape, Specialty Binding.
Broadlooms - Wall-To-Wall, Bound Remnants.
Machine-Made - Axminster, Wilton, Velvet, Karastan, Spanish Contemporary.
Hand-Made - Oriental, Flatweave, Needlepoint, Hooked, Braided, Reversible.
Customs - Tufted, Seamed, Bordered, Specialty Materials, Designer Class.
Understanding rug terminology can be very helpful to the consumer, especially when considering a rug purchase. It can help to determine what type of rug to look for to find the best color, pattern, size, and durability of the rug you would like to purchase.
If you have any questions, please call our office at 272-1566. We would be happy to give you answers based on our combined knowledge of over 100 years of expertise in the rug industry.