How to Determine the Age of Your Antique Rug - Bewleys Furniture
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How to Determine the Age of Your Antique Rug

How to Determine the Age of Your Antique Rug

The antique rug market can be challenging at first. The quest to “know” rugs is all about gaining knowledge, exposure, and discovering your personal taste. Many people who are antique and art collectors struggle to determine which pieces possess the level of quality, originality, and beauty that is appropriate for being precious tangible assets and are suitable for sophisticated home. The main reason behind this is the large number of counterfeit antique rugs available on the market. The so called Persian rugs are not always Persian but sellers get away with them due to the lack of knowledge or experience of the buyer when it comes to buying antique rugs. Fortunately, there are ways to determine the age of an antique rug.

Testing the Authenticity of Antique Rugs

Following are some ways to test the authenticity of antique rugs:

Check the Back

Antique rugs of 100+ years usually display an almost smooth and polished sheen to the knots on the back, from years spent rubbing against the floors. If the rug is not “old”, it will have new fibers visible.

Inspect and Sniff the Pile of the Rug

The odor of coffee grounds, burnt thread, or signs of earth or rot used to obscure rough holes made by the antiquing process are clear signs that the rug is new and it has been given a rapid aging treatment.

Gradation of Pile Colors

If a rug is truly antique, it will have pile colors that gradually mellow from a deep color at the pile’s base to a lighter color at the pile’s top, where the rug is exposed to the environmental elements and sunlight. If an antique rug is fake, it will have a sudden color shift midway up the pile length and you will be able to observe it changing from bright to pale. This occurs because of the abrasive chemicals used to give the rugs an older look.

“Less Antique” Antiques

Apart from counterfeit Persian rugs or antique rugs, many rugs that are advertised as antique or old Persian rugs are actually semi-antique (older than 20 years) instead of truly antique (older than 100 years).

Following are some clues that will help you determine how old the rug really is:

Dye Colors

Dying options were limited one hundred years ago. If you want to buy a truly antique rug, then it is recommended that you look for vegetable dyes (earth tones particularly of brown, yellow, and red) as these are the dyes that are usually found on truly old rugs.

Woven Family Names or Dates

Persian rugs frequently carry the date of the weaving (generally in the Islamic calendar) and the family mark of the weaver. This is a surefire way to determine the age of the antique rugs. That being said, you should watch out for date falsification as it is very common when it comes to Persian rugs.

There you have it. While there is no definite way of accurately determining the age of the antique rug, the above-mentioned clues will help you rule out the counterfeit ones and buy the rug that is truly antique.

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