Buying rugs in Turkey? Who takes a trip to Turkey without at least being tempted to buy a genuine handmade Turkish rug to take home with them?
To avoid being outwitted by a seasoned Turkish rug seller with the possibility of being talked into an overpriced ‘bargain,’ it would be to your advantage to gain some know how before buying rugs in Turkey (or in the United States as well).
Wherever your tour of Turkey takes you, but especially in cities like Istanbul, you will find yourself being warmly greeted by a veteran rug salesman and invited to view a ‘traditional rug sales demonstration' meant to give you the information you need for buying rugs in Turkey. You will be made comfortable and offered complimentary beverages such as chai and Turkish coffee.
Be prepared for a thorough history of Turkish rugs, as well as the fact they are one-of-a-kind and will last for years and years. They can become family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. They are hand-made with a special construction making them very durable and the dyes are all natural. You will also learn all about Turkish rugs made of silk and how the silk is produced. You will be told the number of threads per inch or centimeter and the fiber content of a Turkish rug are the most important factors in a rug’s value and the cost to you. All of that is true but may be a bit overwhelming all at once.
If you enjoyed the beginning of the demonstration, you may actually be almost ready for buying rugs in Turkey. You will be asked by the salesman what type of Turkish rug you are interested in buying such as the size, colors, and style. Then you will be impressed by the seeming never-ending supply of rugs that will be laid at your feet by his assistants. Your salesman is dedicated to keeping those rugs coming until you fold!
In order to feel confident about the rug or rugs you have
fallen in love with and may be ready to buy, you must make sure you have found
a reputable dealer. If you are in Istanbul, the Istanbul Handicraft Center
would be a good place to go. Here you will find not only knotted Turkish rugs
but woven kilims or flatwoven rugs as well.The Istanbul Handicraft Center may be able to help you with buying rugs in Turkey by suggesting reputable dealers in other areas, too.
Rug weaving is a traditional craft in Turkey and is taught by mothers to their daughters in each generation. The daughters will need to learn to weave so they can prepare to produce items for their dowry and trousseau. Today, Board of Education schools have been sponsored by the Turkish government so young girls can enroll in a weaving course to better their skills.
You may find there is more often than not a sales company set up and attached to these schools so rugs can be bought directly from where they were made. Used Turkish rugs will also be available for sale. Although there is no guarantee a rug will increase in value, it is entirely possible a durable, hand-made Turkish rug in good condition may very well do just that. It is unlikely you will regret buying rugs in Turkey.
As mentioned above, Turkish rug prices are based more on knots per square inch (or centimeter) than size. The most expensive rugs will be the ones made of silk. They can have thousands of knots per square inch. The ones with wool on a wool foundation and wool on cotton have fewer knots per square inch so will be less expensive but are beautiful pieces of art as well. The smaller wool Turkish rugs usually start at a few hundred dollars but can range into the thousands.
Haggling about the price is totally acceptable. Start with the initial price and expect to go back and forth with offers and counter-offers until you are at about 30-40% less than the initial price. Don’t forget about the wrapping, shipping, and insurance. You should ask if they are included in the pricing.
Not all of us will get to go to Turkey but the same caveat applies about finding reputable places in the United States that sell Turkish rugs. There are many copies of traditional rugs out there so you want to be certain you are paying for a genuine hand-made Turkish rug. Do not hesitate to ask if there is a certificate of authority available.
Haggling may not be discouraged,
At ABC, we take in rugs on consignment and we typically have several Turkish rugs for sale. We will have cleaned and treated them (if necessary) and we have suggested a fair price for each one to the owners. You are welcome to make your own offer on any rug that may interest you. We will contact the owners to see if they will accept your offer or make a counter-offer. (This is our form of haggling!)
If you find a rug you love somewhere else and would like us to take a look at it, please feel free to bring it into our offices. Most reputable dealers will not find this offensive. We are here from 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday, closing on Fridays at 4:30. We are also open from 10 to 1 every Saturday.
Good Luck on your rug buying adventure!
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