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Bijan's Oriental Rug Gallery

Bijan’s Oriental Rugs
Hand-made Oriental Rugs, selected with care and sold with Integrity.

Oriental Rugs - A buyer’s Guide

  • Insurance
    It is advisable to insure all oriental rugs against theft and damage, however caused. Relatively inexpensive rugs could be included in a general household policy, but obtain separate cover for more valuable rugs.  You should keep a photograph and description of each rug on record, copies of which could be lodged with your bank or solicitor as an extra precaution.  Most retail outlets provide a free insurance valuation when you can obtain one from any accredited insurance appraiser. Remember that the insurance valuation is not the amount paid for the rug, but the amount that would probably be required to replace it and, in practice, is rather more than the price originally paid.
  • Oriental Rug care and repair
    Oriental rugs have a justifiable reputation for being extremely durable, but they are not indestructible, and proper care and maintenance will greatly enhance both the beauty and life of your rug. In addition to normal wear and tear, central heating, air conditioning and a number of household chemicals can have a detrimental effect on the fabric of a rug. But wool is a marvelous rug making material and, provided that a few simple precautions are taken, your oriental rug will last for many years.
  • Correct underlay or padding
    Extremely important. Never place an oriental rug, particularly an expensive one, directly on an uncarpeted floor. The purpose of an underlay, or padding, is to protect the rug from being squeezed between two hard surfaces, because over a period of time this kind of pressure can damage the fibers.  There are a number of underlay on the market, but probably the two best general types are those made from solid sponge rubber, which should not be confused with foam rubber or ripple rubber, neither of which is suitable, and those made form a combination of animal hair and jute with coating of rubber on both sides.
  • Cleaning
    Rug cleaning should be undertaken regularly and slowly.  Unless your rug is very old or in a poor state of repair, in which case a specialist cleaner should be consulted, the best way to remove grit is use a carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner with beater bars, or a rotating brush. First vacuum the back of the rug, the beating effect will cause grit to fall out of the pile, before turning it over and going lightly across the face. Vacuum cleaners with extremely violent beaters should be avoided because they may damage the foundation.  If any doubt, it is safer to use a carpet sweeper or brush.
  • Shampooing
    Also extremely important because not only will this remove the more entrenched areas of dirt and grit, but it will also put a degree of essential moisture back into the fabric.  If the rug becomes too dry, which can happen in a centrally heated or air-conditioned rooms, the fibers of the pile material may become brittle and consequently more prone to damage and wear.  On the other hand, if the rug is allowed to remain damp over a protracted period, the colors may run and, more seriously, mildew may form and cause permanent damage to the pile. Shampooing an expensive , old or delicate rug should preferably be undertaken by a specialist company, most reputable dealers and shops offer this service, but avoid the more general carpet cleaning companies, as the techniques and chemicals used on synthetic wall to wall carpets may not be suitable.  Shampooing can be undertaken at home using a good quality wool detergent, with perhaps a cup of vinegar in a dilute solution, which should be applied gently with a sponge or cloth after the rug has been cleaned.  The rug should then be carefully and systematically dried, making sure that there are no pockets of dampness i either the foundation or pile, by leaving it out in the sun and tehn methodically going over the entire area, both back and front, with a hand held hair dryer.  One of the main causes of  mildew, a fungus which thrives on cotton, is the dampness caused by ordinary household plants placed directly on the floor.
  • Removing stains
    Should be done by care fully dabbing or sponging with a wool or silk compatible cleaning solution for removing each specific substances (wine, grease, coffee, ect.) until as much as possible of the discoloring substance has been removed. The area should then be carefully dried.  If the stain proves difficult to remove, consult a specialist cleaner.  Never under any circumstances scrub or violently sponge the rug, as this may damage the pile and cause the colors to run.
  • Additional maintenance
    Protect your rug from damage by moths, excessive sunlight and localized wear and tear.  The dangers of insect damage are easily avoided by a combination of regular washing and the use of a compatible moth proofer.  Excessive fading can occur if a rug is exposed to long periods of strong light, and is best avoided by either relocating the rug or putting it in storage for the summer. When storing a rug, first have it cleaned, washed and moth proofed. It should then be covered, on both sides, in polythene and carefully rolled against the lay of the nap, The way the pile faces, into a reasonably tight cylindrical form.  It can then be stored in a dry environment. The easiest way to avoid localized wear and tear is to occasionally move or turn the rug so that the normal pattern of traffic is taken over different parts of the pile.
  • Rug repair
    Best done by professionals but some minor repairs can be safely undertaken at home.  Fringes or selvedges that become partially detached can be carefully sewn back by hand using a matching color thread of the same material. Any damage to the pile or foundation should always be handled by a specialist, however.  Similarly, if your rug becomes wrinkled, out of shape or curls at the edges, this should be left to an expert. Curling at the edge is not necessarily a fault, and can be a sign that the rug has been very finely and tightly knotted, but unless the curling ie rectified, usually by sewing leather strips along the edges, the rug may suffer uneven wear and tear.
  • Where and when to sell
  • Resale Value
    This is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty.  Do not be misled by assurances from dealers that all oriental rugs or at least the ones they are selling, will automatically increase in value; this simply is not true. The majority of contemporary rugs will probably not appreciate in value to any worthwhile degree, at least in real terms.  This is particularly true of the “furnishing” rugs produced in India, Pakistan and China. However, some rugs will almost certainly increase in value, and others stand a reasonable chance of at least keeping their value.
    Three factors influence resale value; quality, rarity and vagaries of fashion. This last factor is impossible to predict, and its effects may be rather transient. However, there is undoubtedly a mystique attached to certain groups that transcends the quality of their individual rugs and boosts both their initial price and resale value.  This is specially true of Persian rugs.
    Rarity is easier to predict. For example, the pressures on nomadic and tribal peoples to adopt a more settled way of life are increasing, and it is probable that a number of these groups may either cease, or radically alter, their rug making traditions in the foreseeable future.  The other indicator of resale potential is quality, and, as a general rule, the higher the quality of a rug, the more likely it is to increase in value.
    The three main outlets for reselling are auctions, specialist shops, private individuals or dealers.  In all cases, before initially a sale it is wise to obtain an independent valuation, which should also be backed up by your own observations of current prices for similar rugs.  As when buying, always consider a number of offers before finalizing a sale.
  • Selling to specialist rug shop
    Probably the simplest and most straightforward way to dispose or your rug, although the price offered will be considerably less than its retail value.  Carpet shops are normally separated into those which specialize in old and antique rugs, and those which specialize in contemporary rugs, and it is important to select the appropriate outlet for your particular rug.
  • Putting your rug up for auction
    AS with buying at auction, this option carries a higher element of chance. You are more likely to have a rug accepted by an auctioneer if you are prepared to put it up without a reserve, a figure agreed between you and the auctioneer below which they will not sell the rug, but this is extremely risky  as it could then be sold for far less than it is worth. Even without a reserve, however, your rug may well realize more at auction than in a specialist rug shop.
  • Selling privately
    It is a good idea to obtain offers from specialist outlets, before selling a rug in this way, as it may prove time consuming to locate a private buyer, and individuals may require independent evidence of the rug’s worth.

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