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How to Tell the Difference Between Handmade and Machine Made Rugs

Updated on December 1, 2014

Rug Weaving by Hand

Agra artisan working on a hand made rug.
Agra artisan working on a hand made rug. | Source

Area Rugs are an Investment

Area rugs can not only finish off the beauty of a room, they can become an investment if the area rug is manufactured by hand and not by machine. Each handmade rug is a work of art that is unique because the weavers can never quite duplicate what they have just completed. It doesn't matter if you are purchasing a collection of oriental rugs, medallion rugs or contemporary rugs, you will want to make sure that all of the rugs you purchase are in fact handmade and not the machine made impostor.

Look at the Back of the Rug for Clues

How can you tell the difference? There are a few clues that will tell you if the rug is handmade or machine made and the best place to start is by looking at the back of the rug. If the rug has slightly uneven knots that can be felt on the back, it is handmade. If the rug is smooth on the back and all of the knots are completely even, it is machine made. Human hands make the knotting a bit uneven while machines are able to repeat the same perfect weaving motion each and every time.

Just remember that hand work is always flawed at some point no matter how good the weaver may be. Machines repeat the same action over and over again resulting in perfection. A true hand made rug is never 100% perfection and that is a large part of the beauty and investment worthiness of hand made rugs. Each one is an individual work of art.

Hand weaving an Iranian rug.
Hand weaving an Iranian rug. | Source

Examining the Fringe Around the Edges

Another way to tell if the rugs that you are considering are handmade is by examining the fringe around the edges of each rug. If the fringe is sewn on, it means the rug is machine made. If the fringe is tied or woven into the rug, it means the rug is handmade.

This is actually one of the easy ways to tell a nice handmade rug that is worth the investment from a machine made rug that may be over priced and misrepresented.

Multiple weavers working on a rug.
Multiple weavers working on a rug. | Source

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What is a Hand Tufted Rug?

You may also hear the term hand tufted while looking into purchasing rugs. These types of rugs are not knotted and do not last. The yarn is pushed through the backing of the rug and a chemical compound is spread over the back to keep the yarn in place. These types of rugs are thought of as being handmade but are extremely poor quality and will not last long. In other words, if you are looking for an investment quality rug, stay away from hand tufted rugs.

A Woman Hand Weaving a Rug in Turkey

Why Does it Matter?

Some will ask why the difference matters. It matters because handmade area rugs are an investment. When you purchase a high quality, handmade rug, you are investing in that rug's future and with proper care it will last so long that it will not have to be replaced. Unlike machine made rugs that wear out faster and are generally made with inferior quality materials, handmade rugs can actually increase in value as they age.

Since the price tag of a high quality, investment level rug is extremely high, it is a good idea to educate yourself before you spend the money. Putting out thousands of dollars on what you have been told is a top quality, hand made rug only to find out that it is in fact a machine made rug that should have only cost a few hundred dollars is an experience that no one wants to go through.

If you are purchasing your rug online and won't see it face to face before hand, be sure to follow these simple tips:

  • Ask for photos of the back of the rug and the fringe from the seller. If the seller is representing the rug accurately and is trustworthy, there is no reason why he/she won't oblige.
  • Buy only from reputable dealers that have a track record of customer satisfaction with their inventory.
  • Ask for a guarantee on your rug purchase. Make sure you will be able to return it for any reason and will receive 100% of your investment back if you find that it was misrepresented in the sale ad.
  • Always pay with a credit card that way you have the protection of being able to do a charge back with the credit card company if anything has been misrepresented about your rug purchase.

It is best to buy in person where you can check the rug before making your purchase

© 2014 TheBadJuJu


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      rugsmanufacturer 11 months ago

      In this article you write lots of things about carpets and rugs, and believe me you done a great job. As a carpet manufacturer and exporter I know these facts and I know many people don't know about these facts.

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      Johannah 3 years ago

      Could you write about Phicyss so I can pass Science class?