What makes a rug or carpet collectible?
Major factors contributing to the value and desirability of hand knotted rugs in no specific order include: Origin, type, age, design, colors, wool and weave grade, condition / originality, rarity / uniqueness, historic importance / provenance, size (at times) and overall aesthetic.
Collectors typically seek rugs that meet many positive factors or rugs that are exceptional in a few. Collectors often focus on one or several groups and types of rugs. Generally the result of a discriminating collector means they purchase authentic rugs with excellent harmonious colors and design, rugs that exhibit solid craftsmanship relative to the type, are as close to original condition as possible free of repairs with each end and sides intact as woven, manageable sizes, and examples demonstrating individual character with unique artistic merit.
What are some collectible rugs and popular trends in today’s market?
Overall the aesthetic of rugs that consistently perform well over the years are: classic and timeless designs with good contrast or analogous tone-on-tone. Carpets of era-specific colors or fad type allure tend to not endure.
Collectors actively seek unique, rare, old and fine antique rugs generally from the first quarter 20th century and earlier for city rugs, and 1880’s and earlier for nomadic/migratory and tribal/town rugs. Condition is generally of importance, as are other criteria above. Within each type, certain characteristics and even weaving techniques can greatly add to the rarity and value of a piece.
Designers often work with rugs new and old depending on the space and the desired outcome. Right now the overall trends for many include allover design or medallion with covered field as opposed to medallion and open field. In new rugs, light colors bode well less gold tones of yesterday. Soft tones of blue, silver, beige, charcoal, and pastels are favorable. Some pops of rich and saturated colors are also coming through in new decorative rugs. Original principles of design are relatively consistent – good contrast or good tone-on-tone. On the old side of rugs, semi-antique carpets are being distressed (intentionally worn) and washed to give the added appearance of authentic age of an antique. In many ways the threadbare appearance of a favored pair of broken-in jeans is similarly applied to floor coverings.
Why Buy Vintage Rugs?
There is great validity and real cost-benefit of purchasing a vintage rug over an antique or new rug (or even a machine made rug for that matter). The manner in which hand knotted rugs are made today is little changed over the course of many centuries. However, the main difference now is vintage rugs are an extremely affordable option, and regardless, will continue to last for many, many years.
Excerpts from an interview with rug specialist David Dilmaghani of Old New House and RugRag.com