Manhattan rugs have long been known for their durability and artistry, not to mention their connection with gentility and taste. However, a glut of affordable rugs has made finding true Manhattan carpets very difficult. It also started in 2002 when the US government lifted a 20-year-old ban on Iranian rugs, leading to an abundance of affordable carpets in the market. Here is how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Know Beforehand What You Want
Even before your dealer unrolls a rug for you to check, have some basic guidelines at the back of your mind. What’s your budget and where will your rug be going? If you want it for your living room, make sure it’s larger than the table. Also, you will do better with a darker color that can camouflage spills.
Decide On Whether to Go For an Antique or Modern Rug
Although there are exceptions, very new or very old carpets tend to be of the best quality. There is an attempt to go back to the way rugs used to be made centuries ago.
Back then, the widespread use of synthetic dyes, mass production techniques, and chemically treated wool had not discouraged a weaver’s creativity.
The advantage of new rugs is that they have not worn out, but when you buy a well-made antique rug and maintain it properly, it will outlive your grandchildren.
When evaluating a Manhattan rug, look for warm colors which change hue when looked at from different angles. Stay away from rugs that have brash, one-note colors, for instance, mailbox blue or taxicab yellow, as this often point to synthetic, chemical dyes as opposed to natural dyes. Naturally dyed rugs tend to be more valuable and aesthetically pleasing.
After that, turn it over. The weave needs to have a bit of irregularity in the knotting. In case it appears flawless, chances are it’s not handmade.
Also, check if it has repaired and to determine whether the rug could have been cut off a larger one. Cues include lines looking like seams that run through the design. Another tip-off is obvious over the stitching.
Another thing is to check whether the back colors of the rug are the same as the front ones. Otherwise, it could have been chemically “aged” so that it appears antique.
The most valuable and durable rugs are those made from wool. They should feel springy, soft and lustrous. A rug that is coarse or frizzy probably means the wool has been mechanically spun or scalded, something that strips away the protective fibers of the rug. Do your due diligence and you will end up with a high-quality Manhattan rug even if the market is flooded with cheap rugs.