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Collectors who value the authentic product will restrict their collection to hand made products made of only the traditional natural fibers, wool, cotton and silk. True aficionados of oriental rugs appreciate the time honored traditions that were the genesis of this art form. There are cheap imitations, but they will not last for generations to come and are not acceptable to collectors.
These fibers were chosen for their ability to hold various colors of dye. The rugs typically have vibrant, intricate designs that require a range of colors to produce. Some of the earliest rugs produced date back as far as 400 B. C. These are works of art that are carefully preserved and displayed in museums or homes of wealthy people. However, the age speaks to the longevity of the heavy textiles.
Wool is a strong fabric that was and is readily available. Cotton makes a solid foundation for the rug, as it can be very tightly woven. Silk may be considered the top of the line since silk is more expensive. A silk rug is beautiful but may not be as durable as a rug woven from wool. Often silk rugs are used as wall hangings rather than floor coverings. These are highly treasured possessions.
Originally, spinning wheels were used for transforming the fibers into yarn. With the invention of spinning machines the process took much less time. However, some manufacturers continue to sell only hand woven products since this may be preferred by the connoisseur.
Every component used in the early years was natural. Dyes were made for insects and other natural sources. Artisans were restricted to the colors that occurred naturally in their environment. Synthetic dyes opened up a whole new world of color and allowed for more intricate designs.
Once the yarn is created, the next step is to use a loom to construct the fabric of the rug. There are vertical looms and horizontal looms. The vertical looms allow for flexibility in the size of the finished product as one section can be moved to the back of a loom allowing the size to expand. Horizontal looms limit the size of the rug to the beam length.
The price range for an oriental rug ranges from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. The less expensive rugs may be practical for everyday use, but are considered to be of lesser quality. The fabric is usually synthetic and most certainly not hand woven with the less costly product. The quality of dye used may not be able to stand the test of time. The rug can still be beautiful, but it may be considered less authentic.
A collector will want an oriental rug that is authentic to the history of the art form. A family with pets or small children may prefer the practical synthetic versions that are easier to clean and less expensive. In either case, the rug will bring beauty to any room.
Read more about Oriental Rugs From Old To New.