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How to Determine the Authenticity of an Antique Rug

Jan 19th, 2012 By

Traditional rugs4

When it comes to Antique Rugs, ‘Old’ is a familiar term. The Area rug is old for the seller while the same rug is not old for the buyer. There are 2 reasons for this.

One is to identify the exact year in which the  rug was made is practically not possible. Second is, while other things remain equal, age is regarded as money. In this age, on the retail level, many descriptive terms are been developed to determine the rug’s age. They are given below:

50 yrs and older are considered as Antique Rugs.

30 to 99 yrs old are regarded as Semi-Antique Rugs.

20 to 99 yrs old rugs come in Old Rugs category.

10 to 50 yrs old are Semi-Old Rugs

1 to 10 yrs old are Used Rugs.

0 to 5 yrs old are new ones.

Antique Rugs are generally very expensive. They are known for their elegance and royal feel. But you need to make sure if they are authentic because these days many dealers tend to cheat people by giving them cheap rugs in the name of antique’s.

Some useful tips to figure out the genuineness of an antique rug:

Kind of Rug:-

To determine the age correctly, it is important to know the exact type of rug. There are many kinds of rugs that came into existence only in this century. Like for example, a Pakistani rug won’t be an antique as they started making rug after World War II. Indian and Chinese Rugs are contemporary area  rugs.

Persian rugs are been made since past 60 years and are the best antique rugs to have. Afghan rugs are also considered antiques. So, knowing about the different kind of rugs will help you determine the age.

The Color of the Rug:-

The range of colors also helps to determine a real antique rug. Antique rugs were colored using vegetable dyes. You can see these colors on rug and the effect of time on the vegetable dyes at a museum rug collection. Synthetic dyes were not available until late 1920’s. Aniline is a chemical dye. Antique rugs made using this aniline dye are in a deteriorated condition. Aniline smells horrible on handkerchief, so do the ‘handkerchief test’ to be sure.

One more way to find if the colors used in the rugs are genuinely old is with the help of a magnifying glass. The time worn colors i.e. the vegetable dyes in these rugs are softened and has a smooth gradation of colors from the base till the top of the tuft.

If with the help of magnifying glass, you can see a mid-tone band of color that is almost halfway up the tufts, this means that the aging of the colors are been enhanced by applying various kinds of bleach after the rug was removed from the loom. And this shows that the rug is not an antique.

Size of the Rug:-

Size of the rug helps to determine the age. The size that was popular 100yrs ago is known as Keleys. (The rugs that have a design in each corner are mostly 100 yrs old). This size is majorly found in the Old Persian rugs that were made in the Persian town of Heriz. These sizes are not found now because they do not suit today’s western homes.


Changes in style of a particular form of rug are useful to know how old the rug is. Like, the Isfahan rug that were made during late 18th century to early 19th century has to be woven on a base of cotton. They were not been made in any other material and their knots are above 400 per2 inch. But the modern Isfahan’s are woven on a silk base.

Moutesan Kashan use to be made in multi color during olden times but nowadays they are made mostly in whites.

The silk would be of high quality if the rug is antique, no matter from what country it is. If you have to figure out that cotton rugs is antique or not, remember that an antique cotton rugs has matt finish.

Rugs that are made in Hamadan region are also changed in style over the period. In the olden times, these rugs were made mostly with camel color background buy nowadays they use every other color but the camel color.

If you want to determine the authenticity of a Turkish rug then see the texture of the thread. Many of the antique Turkish rugs have red textured threads.

Date of origin:-

Rugs have dates woven on them. It can help you get an idea if it is an antique, but only if you understand them. Antique rugs have dates as per the Moslem calendar. This calendar was started in A.D. 622 and it is based on the lunar year, while the Gregorian calendar is based on solar year. There are simple calculations that can be done to translate the Moslem date that is on the antique rug.

To translate the Moslem date into Gregorian one, divide the date by 33 then subtract the answer from the original Moslem date. Then add 622 to the answer. For example, if the date on the rug is 1150, then the calculation would be,

1150 / 33 = 34

1150 – 34 = 1116

1116 + 622 = 1738

Carefully scrutinize the wool and the weaving around the date to make sure it is the original one weaved by the weaver. If the date is altered later, then the second number from the left would be changed to make it look like an antique rug.

Antique Rugs are known to have higher quality and a royal look. Some also regard them as an investment option. They are rarely available in the market so be careful when your local shop dealer shows you a rug saying it is an antique piece. Make a budget and start your hunt for the perfect antique rug. Don’t buy the 1st one that you see, research and see enough designs because you might not like the 1st piece that you saw at the end of your research. So use the tips wisely and give that royal feel to you feet’s!


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