"What is the difference between an Oriental Rug and a Persian Rug?"
This is a common question from new rug clients, and as important as the construction is to a rug, the rug’s origin —where it was produced— is also an integral component of the rugs history and value.
Oriental Rugs, by the strictest definition, are those produced in Asia. Iran, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet, and Nepal are the largest exporters from the region. Genuine oriental rugs are all hand crafted and unique. They are durable and long lasting investments.
On the other hand, Persian Rugs refer to a specific sub-section of the Orient. Persia refers to the Old Persian Empire whose borders changed frequently over it several thousand year existence. In 1979 the Islamic Republic of Iran came into being and is now the modern day equivalent of Persia. The Persian rug is regarded as perhaps the finest or highest quality rug of all oriental styles by rug collectors. All genuine Persian rugs are hand-knotted and their designs were once tied to specific towns and cities where they were created.
As the popularity and value of Persian rugs increased their patterns were replicated and produced elsewhere. However, their namesake remained. Tabriz, Hamadan, Gabbeh, Heriz, and Dubba are some of the most popular designs and their design name still refer to their regional heritage.
Persian rugs are often characterized by an unusually thick pile (up to 160 knots per square inch), rich and vibrant color combinations, and unique designs.
It is always worth asking your rug consultant whether a rug you are considering is Persian or Oriental. This is also a fun way to test your salespersons knowledge; if he fumbles or struggles with the answer, save your money and come visit one of our fine rug consultants.