Area Rugs made of silk are the most expensive of rugs. Silk rugs are made of hand-made fine silk or machine made artificial silk. Artificial silk rugs have the same effect as that of the pure silk rug. Artificial rugs are cheaper and therefore more affordable.
Handmade Silk Process
Pure silk rugs are made of hand woven fine silk. Their texture has a fine quality. They come in all patterns, sizes and colors. These rugs have fine designs and intricate patterns and a weaver can weave only two square foots per month. Pure silk rugs are most expensive and are suitable for using in all types of countries and climates.
Various countries produce silk area rugs. India is one of the leading producers of silk rugs. The weavers of Kashmir valley have been creating master pieces from as early as 1500 A.D. i.e. from the period of Akbar. The craftsmen had originally been from Persia, whom the Mongols had brought and established in India. Gradually the Persian craft had blended with that of the Indian and Mongols, which gave birth to the new pattern and design unique to India.
Real silk is produced as the larva of the silkworm. The cocoon is spun by the silkworm of a single silk fiber that can be up to several thousand feet in length. To extract the silk, the cocoons are boiled or heated to kill the silkworms. Then the silk thread of several cocoons are spun together to make the silk yarn. Natural silk is a fibrous protein which is composed of a number of amino acids. Silk has extremely high durability, exceeding that of nylon. Silk is used to make oriental rugs because dyed silk is a fiber with rich, saturated colors, and a distinctive, almost translucent luster and has a sheer velvet touch.
Artificial silk has somewhat familiar qualities of silk. But it does not come from the silkworm cocoon. Most often this means mercerized cotton; sometimes it means a manufactured fiber like rayon or a blend of chemically altered and manufactured fibers. The whole point of using artificial silk in an area rug is to save the cost of real silk. Karastan Persian Renaissance is a good example of that.
It is very difficult to distinguish between an artificial silk rug and real silk rug. A real silk rug is very tightly woven having around 500 knots per square inch and has fringes of real silk. An artificial silk rug has medium weave having around 200-250 knots per square inch and has cotton fringes.
China had been the pioneers of manufacturing silk, and have been producing silk rugs for quite a period of time. The pure hand knotted silk rugs of China have captivated the international market with their sheer and fine texture, subdued and muted colors and beautiful patterns.
Although Persia has been the homeland of carpet weaving, manufacture of silk rugs is a less common practice there. Iran mainly produces rugs of wool or cotton or both mixed. Yet the silk rugs produced in Persia have the same traditional and unique Persian designs.
India from its very early age of carpet industry has been producing pure silk rugs. The silk rugs of India are very popular in the international market for their unique pattern (a blend of Persian, Mongol and Indian art), fine and detailed motifs and bold color combination.
Silk area rugs are comparatively expensive yet they have an outstanding appearance mainly due to the sheer and translucent texture and are the most sought after in the world of rugs and carpets.
Carpet & Rugs: Wool vs Nylon
The most important component of an area rug is the fiber. The type of fiber used and the construction of the pile are the two key factors in determining how durable the carpet will be. There are five basic types of fibers used in carpets.
Nylon is the most popular of the pile fibers used. It is the most durable of the synthetics and offers excellent durability and strength. It is wear-resistant, resilient and withstands the weight and movement of furniture. It has also good stain resistance capacity and is an excellent choice for heavy traffic areas. It is available in beautiful colors, making it a great style choice throughout the home.
Olefin (polypropylene) is a relatively inexpensive fiber. It is strong, resists wear and permanent stains, and is easily cleaned.
Polyester fiber offers excellent color clarity and retention. It is also extremely fade resistant and provides excellent resistance to stains.
Acrylic offers the look and feel of wool without the cost. It is also moisture and stain resistant.
Wool is the classic fiber, offering both luxury and performance. It is considered the premium area rug fiber, as it is strong, durable, but soft to feel and comes in beautiful colors. It can be cleaned easily and is naturally stain and soil resistant. But wool is very expensive and not easily affordable.
A wool/nylon blend combines the superior look and comfort of wool with the durability of nylon. It is also very common because it gives the effect of wool at a cheaper rate and is easily affordable.
If a comparative study is made between the two principle fibers i.e. wool and nylon, it can be seen that both fibers have great characteristics; neither fiber is better than the other. What makes one better is the location in which it is used. A quality carpet is made with superior materials through a well-monitored manufacturing process using the latest technology. This level of craftsmanship will produce a carpet that offers maximum performance.
Nylon area rugs generally resist staining and soiling better than wool area rugs, although wool provides excellent stain resistance if maintained properly. Wool fibers are available in hand and machine-made area rugs but are costly, but synthetic area rugs are usually more affordable. Wool tends to wear longer than nylon fibers, because the natural tendency of wool fiber is to stretch rather than break.
Wool is more hygienic and bio and environment friendly and better than any other fiber at helping the body’s natural thermoregulation process – controlling body temperature by wicking, evaporating, absorbing and insulating so the body works at maximum efficiency, all the time. This maximum efficiency is called Optimum Body Temperature (OBT). Optimum Body Temperature (OBT) is the temperature at which the body performs most efficiently during any physical activity.
It is known that more wrinkles a sheep has, more is the wool. In several countries where wool is manufactured by rearing sheep, it is seen that more wrinkles mean more perspiration and greater susceptibility to fly-strike, a ghastly condition resulting from maggot infestation in the sweaty folds of the sheep’s over-wrinkled skin.
Nylon fibers are used only in machine made rugs. One of the greatest advantages of nylon rugs is a byproduct of the fiber being non-porous. This means that it is absolutely stain proof and resists soiling and staining from almost any chemical. Nylon fiber rugs are also more affordable than a wool rug. Wool fiber is available in both machine and hand made rugs. Wool is the traditional and patent fiber used in fine hand made Oriental rugs. Carpets in Iran are produced by using wool, cotton, silk or synthetic fibers. But carpets in USA are mostly produced by using synthetic fibers.
Wool is best and naturally the most durable fiber, it wears the longest and cleans up well. A wool rug must be professionally dry-cleaned or cleaner appropriate for cleaning wool rugs should be used.
Nylon has been treated to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Nylon rugs are easy to clean and the color in the yarn will never fade. They are also affordable and less expensive. Many of the wool rugs are made with the finest New Zealand wool. Wool lasts forever. Eventually, nylon rugs will wear out, but wool lasts a lifetime.
One can really never estimate the exact date or time period when area rug weaving had started. But we can easily presume that rugs are being used from the ancient times, probably from the beginning of human civilization. Animal hides had been a common material to be used as rugs. Rugs or mattresses woven from reed were also used.
The Oldest Surviving Rug: Pazyryk, 5th century BCE
From the evidences gathered from Mesopotamian civilization and also from the Egyptian tombs, historians could easily connect the rug making craft to be as old as in the 2000B.C.
In 1949, a remarkable event in the history of area rugs took place. A Russian archeologist named Sergei Rudenko discovered the “Pazyryk” carpet during an excavation of a burial site in Siberia. This is the oldest known surviving rug. It had been frozen in ice for ages, which preserved the carpet’s texture, color and design. This rug dates back to the 5th century BC and has rich color, minute and striking details and a hand-knotted technique, which is still very much in use. This rug was made with a knot called the Ghiordes (Turkish) knot. This rug had an average of 200 knots per square inch. This rug was a major discovery and proved to be a milestone in the history of area rugs.
The Pazyryk carpet is regarded as an outstanding work of the Scythian art. Area rug experts believe that the nomads who wove it came to the area from the region now known as Mongolia.
A rug called the “Spring Carpet of Khosrows” possessed by the King of Persia was the oldest known rug before the discovery of the Pazyryk carpet. This rug dates back to about 550 BC, and was made of wool, silk, gold, silver and precious stones. It was hand-knotted, measuring 400 feet by 100 feet in size and weighed several tons. This massive rug had patterns and designs which reflected the springtime including birds in flight, blooming flowers, ripening fruits and a green meadow around the border, which included solid emeralds.
Although these rugs have been ancient in their age, their patterns, designs, color combination and techniques remain an outstanding example to the modern area rug world.
Wool area rugs provide wormth and beauty to a room
Wool area rugs are some of the most pricey rugs in existence, but they are also some of the most attractive rugs. Wool area rugs are adored for their softness and durability, and the purifying effect they have in your room. Wool fibers have a unique ability to hold airborne dust and dirt through static electricity. This keeps the atmosphere clear of dust.
Wool rugs also provide warmth to the room; not only by the feeling of warmth they exude, but also by being non-conductive, they help retain the room’s natural heat. The same quality of non-conductivity also makes them naturally fire-resistant, and provides another reason for the high value people put on them.
It is very good for rooms with a high degree of humidity and moisture to have a wool area rug. They prevent bacterial growth and are non-toxic and non-allergenic. Overall, a wool area rug is the preferred area rug for people with kids at home, because of their various health-related benefits.
Nowadays a lot of sellers will provide area rugs with free shipping. You can buy a wool area rug online from the comfort of your home and expect to get hassle-free delivery within a couple days. Most sellers will offer a return policy for defective rugs, and some will often pay for the ship-back. These aggressive marketing policies have made buying wool area rugs a much easier task.
In the olden days wool area rugs used to be hand-woven in places like Persia, India or Anatolia. These would often take a year to make, and would be so costly that only Kings could have afforded them. But these days one can buy machine-made wool area rugs for a fraction of the old price, and these are of such great quality that even a connoisseur would be hard put to distinguish a machine-made form a hand-made wool area rug.
Karastan makes some of the best machine-made wool area rugs. Karastan area rugs are object of desire the world over. This manufacturer has been in business for over 6 decades, and has created an impeccable brand name for itself. Their Axminster-made wool rugs are processed in various patented washing processes to give them that faded look which makes them appear exactly like authentic Persian rugs. What with their quality, their design and fine texture, and the patented tea-wash and luster-wash processes to produce the faded effect, a good Karastan wool area rug is nowadays considered as good as any Persian or Indian antique rug. They can be rightly called the common man’s Persian rug.
Wool area rugs need good maintenance, though. It is good to vacuum them regularly, because they collect a lot of dust. Take care to use an upright vacuum cleaner with a beater-bar action but one that does not have tooth or combs to damage the delicate rug. Be careful to turn them around so that the same area does not always get the most traffic or sunlight; be also careful to immediately repair any damage or wear and tear, preferably using professional repairing experts. Burns, spills or other such damages need to be very quickly and carefully repaired.
Well taken care of, a wool area rug can give years of satisfaction. It can give a room a distinct identity, so that, years down the line, old men who once were kids will fondly remember that “room that had that old wool area rug” where a lot of happy days of life might have passed. A rug gives character to a room, and a room with such character becomes a part of the home, and an important element of the family that lives in that home.