Antique Persian rugs are classified as those that were made prior to 1930 in Persia, what we know now as the country of Iran. These gorgeous treasures were hand woven using high-quality wool and dyed using all-natural vegetable dyes (synthetic dyes were used later, and would disqualify a Persian rug as ‘antique’). The oldest existing rugs date back to the 16th century Safavid Dynasty in Persia.
In order to determine how much you should pay for an antique Persian rug, you will need to answer several questions. First, what is your budget? A large (17′ by 12′) hand-woven antique rug from Persia circa 1925 would start at around $4,800, so starting with a budget will keep you from spending more than you can. Also, price is a good standard of measure for an authentic piece. Don’t be fooled by ‘sales’ or ‘liquidations’–real antique Persian rugs don’t cost $200.
Second, what size rug do you want? Do you want to carpet a large area, or would you prefer a runner? Measure your space exactly to avoid purchasing a rug that is too large. Antique rugs are sold by PSF prices (price per square foot), KPSI prices (number of knots per square inch) or RAJ prices (number of knots per seven centimeters).
Knots are extremely important for determining many rug prices. Knots are counted on the back of the rug. They are the individual hand-sewn fibers used to construct the rug originally–as a rule, the more knots per square inch, the more expensive the rug. Also, be sure to ask–where was this rug made? If it wasn’t made in Iran, it’s not Persian. Overall condition and wear round out the list of factors you should take into account when purchasing an antique Persian rug.