In the universe of Persian rugs, the most valuable are always the hand-woven types. Of course, value depends on a number of factors. These include the age and condition of the rug, as well as what it's made of. Additionally, the region where the rug was made as well as its specific weave and pattern contribute to overall value. When it's all added up, at the time of publication, many of these rugs can be worth $200,000 or more.
Persian carpets date back to at least the third century, when they were first produced in large numbers during Persia's Sassanid period. Since then, hand-woven varieties have been created by artisans in Iran (which is modern-day Persia) through a painstaking process combining designing, hand weaving and knotting. Antique rugs from that nation are often very valuable. At the time of publication, a certain online discounter is asking more than $125,000 for a large, antique, hand-woven, lamb's wool rug from Meshkabad, Iran.
Given that it can take a year or more to produce a large rug that's extremely detailed, hand-woven and knotted, it's not unusual to pay $15,000 to $40,000 for a new one. These rugs come in various motifs and patterns, as well as something specific to Persian rugs: curvilinear design. This particular design element is much more difficult to execute, and it's signified by flamelike curved lines and rhythms. This makes them superior to standard geometric, or straight-line, designs.
The materials used to make each Persian rug will also contribute to that rug's overall value. Fine lamb's wool and cotton are the two most predominant fibers used to make hand-woven types. Silk is the most valued fiber, though. When made of it, and when also made in certain provinces in Iran, these rugs can list for impressive prices. For example, another online discounter, at the time of publication, shows a list price of $217,000 for an approximately 5-foot-by-8-foot model.
Surveys of typical hand-woven Persian rug prices in this second decade of the 21st century reveal many that are relatively affordable. Depending on size, design, condition and the province in Iran where they're made, some will run well under $1,500, used and after heavy discounting. A caution is in order, though: Some rugs advertised as being hand-woven and from Iran actually aren't. That's why you should have a certified appraiser check out your rug before you buy it.
- Through the Collector's Eye; Persian Rug Value: Beauty, Elegance and Quality
- JacobsenRugs; Oriental Rugs and Weaving in Iran
- Caroun; Classification of Iranian Carpets
- PersianCarpetGuide; The Carpet of Wonder - Introduction
- CNN; How to Choose an Oriental Rug; Steve Boodakian; April 9, 2008
- OrientalRugMerchant; What's My Oriental Rug Worth?
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
How to Wash a Woven Rug
Most woven rugs can be cleaned at home - although not all can be cleaned with water. These instructions apply to all...
How to Hand Clean an Area Rug
Regular cleaning is essential to keeping a lovely area rug looking good. While there are numerous professional cleaning services available for this...
How to Clean Mexican Hand-Woven Wool Rugs
Clean Mexican hand-woven wool rugs by hand using gentle detergent and very cold water. If a stain persists, consult a professional rug...
How to Tell if a Persian Rug Is Valuable
True Persian rugs have been made in Iran (formerly Persia) for 1,500 years. Rugs are classified in size as being less than...