Oriental Area Rugs: An Introduction for the Buyer

For the collector and home decorator alike, oriental area rugs have a compelling dual nature: they are both work of art and household object. A rug’s aesthetic appeal will be a determining factor in any buyer’s purchase. Knowing a little about a rug’s origins and authenticity can help you make that choice with confidence.

The Special Appeal of the Oriental Carpet

Aside from having potential investment value, oriental area rugs will always provide aesthetic pleasure for the buyer. For collectors and astute interior decorators, the look of a rug will always be the starting point for any oriental rug purchase.

Visual appeal, however, provides only part of the explanation for why oriental carpets can inspire such aficionado devotion. As carpet authority Jacques Anquetil comments, “a carpet can be regarded as a woven record of a society or ethnic group.” Oriental area rugs offer a window onto histories and traditions entirely unlike our own in the West.

Home Use of Area Rugs

In addition to the aesthetic enjoyment one can derive from them, area rugs serve a practical purpose in the home. Although meant for household use, noted oriental rug expert P.R.J. Ford notes, “the vast majority of oriental carpets will not last for generations if heavy demands are made on their functional value as floor coverings.” That functional use can compromise investment value will therefore be a consideration in any area rug purchase.

Oriental Area Rugs as an Investment: The Negatives

In the Asian world, carpets have always been viewed as a form of currency – as insurance against bad times, a wedding dowry, or method of paying one’s taxes. However, as P.R.J. Ford points out, oriental rugs do have some disadvantages when purchased as an investment. As noted, a rug’s use as floor covering can affect its long term investment value. Additionally, “it will be some time before a carpet appreciates enough in value to cover your investment.” Finally, a carpet will never pay an annual dividend.

Oriental Area Rugs as an Investment: The Positives

As with any work of art, certain factors are key when determining the value of an oriental area rug: authenticity, quality, rarity and condition. Investing the time to do proper background research will help ensure buyers choose wisely. If you make an informed purchase, and treat your carpet with care, it can be an excellent long term investment.

The best advice is to buy in the top of the category decided upon. Look for quality and choose wisely, and any buyer will consider their initial expense as a fairly prudent outlay against their carpet’s eventual investment return.