Rug Buyer’s Guide

Deciding on a fine rug or carpet:

Maximizing the decorative value of your personal space to its fullest potential is essential.

Beautiful hand knotted rugs will be among the most distinguished aesthetic investment in your home, and should be considered the basis and foundation in creating or furnishing your decorative space.

Rug Buyer's Guide

It’s best to begin your room decor with the rug. The hand knotted rug’s color palette and designs welcome a broad variety of fabric choices hand knotted rug or fine carpet. The rug may be the most exquisite and unique expression of craftsmanship in your home.

When a Dilmaghani rug is intended for a pre-designed living area, bring in fabric swatches as color representations. Our expert staff work easily with colors and fabrics. Except for those at final sale or small pieces, Scarsdale showroom rugs can be delivered to your home on 24 hour approval.

Dilmaghani furnishes homes across the United States with fine Oriental rugs and carpets. Ask your local rug retailer for Dilmaghani area rugs, browse our inventory online, or visit our Showroom or Warehouse in person.

Our best clients are those who are educated and well versed in the process and history of Oriental Rugs. Unfortunately, some clients visit Dilmaghani after having made poor purchasing decisions through impulse or online. After many years in the industry, we have compiled suggested readings for any individual interested in Oriental rugs.

Common Misconceptions listed below, discusses the dangers of purchasing a rug or carpet under false pretense, sales gimmicks, GOBs and many other ‘tempting’ conditions. These can have drastic negative outcomes.

MISCONCEPTION: Oriental Rugs Automatically Appreciate in Value.
TRUTH: Fine Oriental rugs may attain investment status, although dramatic price appreciation can take years. Buy your rug with an eye for beauty and let your grandchildren worry about the profits!

MISCONCEPTION: Oriental Rugs of the Same Name Are of Equal Quality.
TRUTH: Although rugs often take the name of the village where they are woven, rugs with the same name or design are not necessarily of equal quality. Over the years, some areas in Persia (e.g. Kerman and Tabriz) have produced a dozen or more qualities. Differences can be subtle and prices can vary widely based on quality of weave, dyes and wool. These are quickly evident to the expert eye, but transparent to the layman. Unintentional mislabeling often occurs when an original name such as Bokhara, Kerman, etc. is applied to a rug made in a country other than the original. For example, a Pakistan Bokhara should be clearly labeled as a Pakistani rug using a Bokhara design. Again, there may be a broad range of qualities bearing this name. CARPETS BY DILMAGHANI’s trained salesmen will demonstrate and explain the variation in rug types and qualities.

MISCONCEPTION: Old or Antique Rugs are Valuable Regardless of Condition.
TRUTH: The overall condition of a rug is vital to its value. A rug with frayed or torn edges, worn areas, or other damage will be of little interest to collectors. Further, such pieces may have a very limited remaining life span. Buy old rugs only from an established, reputable dealer to avoid a problem rug. Common practices of recoloring trouble spots and temporary repairs can transform a badly abused rug into a seemingly beautiful piece, though the “shine” quickly vanishes as the worn areas re-appear and serious problems become apparent.

By United States Customs definition, a rug must be 100 years old to be a genuine antique. Oriental rugs may also be referred to as “semi-antique”. This definition is not universally agreed upon. Less reliable dealers may use the term “semi-antique” for a rug as new as ten or twenty years old. At CARPETS BY DILMAGHANI a “semi-antique” label, in line with import trade convention, means at least 50 years old. Many dealers consider a semi-antique to be anything over fifteen or twenty years old. Don’t be fooled by terms a fast talking salesman might use – have him or her explain his terminology.

MISCONCEPTION: The Higher and Thicker the Pile, the Better the Rug.
TRUTH: The quality of a rug is generally a function of weave, color (dyes) and wool. The pile height is not as critical a quality factor as is the weave. Some of the finest rugs ever woven are very thin and fine in weave. Given EQUAL quality wool, a closely woven rug of short pile should wear better than a moderate quality weave with a high pile. Do not assume, however, that a finely woven piece is necessarily made of the best materials. At CARPETS BY DILMAGHANI no matter what rug you buy, you can be assured it meets Dilmaghani’s high standards. Mr. Dilmaghani makes periodic visits to rug weaving centers to exact top quality at the source.

MISCONCEPTION: Auctions Are a Great Place to Find a Bargain.
TRUTH: Auctions may be fun and exciting, but also the worst place to make a thoughtful decision about a rug! Most laymen are not qualified to evaluate the condition of a rug, to identify the presence of dry rot or other damage beyond the superficial. Nor can the consumer make a calm, unhurried decision about an item while under the pressure of bidding price against unknown buyers.

There are two types of auctions of significance to the rug trade: first, the established (permanent) auction houses such as Sotheby’s, and, secondly, the itinerant hotel auctions geared toward the unsuspecting consumer.

Considering the limited selection and opportunity for inspection, and the “as is/final sale” conditions of all auctions, a “bargain” can end up an expensive lesson. Even if you find a piece in one of the reputable and established New York City auction houses, be sure to have an expert examine, evaluate and advise you about your intended purchase.

At all costs avoid itinerant hotel/motel auctions, “Liquidation Sales”, and “Estate Sales” even at the best hotels, college campuses or other impressive locations. Experience consistently shows the quality of merchandise from such sources is inferior. Purposeful mislabeling of rugs, which if questioned by an authority can be passed off as a “mistake”, is often practiced by these operators. Also, prices may be carefully controlled by devious means. At these traveling auctions “shills” in the audience and “sealed” or “telephone” bids may be used to falsely escalate bids of unsuspecting buyers. After the sale leaves town, its sponsors can rarely be found. We know, because people frequently look to CARPETS BY DILMAGHANI to assist in identifying a purchase which proved to be less than what was represented and/or overpriced.

Recently a wholesale customer who sells DILMAGHANI carpets spotted a DILMAGHANI rug at a traveling hotel auction. How the rug was acquired by the auction is unknown; presumably the auction traded the piece or bought it used from the owner. In a rug store such a rug would usually sell new for approximately $7,250. The auctioneer represented the rug as a “65,000 piece” and ultimately sold it for a “bargain” at $13,650. BUYER BEWARE!

TRUTH: In recent years, consumer pressure for retail “sales” and “discounts” have proved fertile ground for overstated values and grossly exaggerated discounts in retail stores. Although, historically, the rug industry generally avoided sales, the current market is different. Today, it is important for the consumer to understand traditional American business ethics do not prevail universally in the rug market place. At CARPETS BY DILMAGHANI, we have a long tradition of offering the best possible prices on oriental rugs without all the gimmick pricing prevailing in the current market.

BEWARE of the “60% 70% 80% OFF ” SALE
What could be better than an oriental rug at 60-80% off? Frankly speaking, nothing could be worse! Don’t be fooled … no matter how convincing the advertising line or the salesman’s saga.

Despite claims to the contrary, rug dealers are in business to make a reasonable profit after covering the expense of salaries, advertising, rent, electricity, etc., etc. Remember also that good quality Oriental rugs need never be sold at a loss in the normal course of business ! Next time you see an advertisement for an incredible 60% off plus another 15% for bringing in the ad, ask yourself “75% off WHAT ?”

Follow this example: Let’s assume a merchant is willing to sell a rug at COST with only a margin to cover expenses. Most dealers have overheads approximating at least 20% of sales (and much more than 20% if there’s high rent or a heavy advertising budget.) For a dealer to cover those expenses and still give 70% off he must show an original price OVER FOUR TIMES the rug’s cost – in other words, a markup of 400% ! only to break even ! In fact, after figuring in all expenses and profits we find that many “discount” dealers are actually marking up goods 600%, 700%, 800% and more !!! All this to create spectacular “markdowns.” As a point of comparison, department stores typically mark up goods 100% (twice their cost), a figure which includes profit. For years, the department stores’ markup has traditionally been the highest in the industry.

In the final analysis, the 60-80% discount is meaningless if the article never sold at the pre-discount price or if the “60-80% off” tag remains year around. Offering an item for sale at $3,495 (60% off $8,750) is especially easy when the item should rightfully sell for $2000 – there’s ample room left to “bargain”. Unfortunately, many buyers walk away thinking they’ve gotten a “buy” only to find out later they paid much too much. This pricing scheme is a terrible ploy and creates a false sense of saving based upon a phony and unrealistic original price.


BEWARE of “Going Out of Business Sales”
Akin to the “60% off sale” are the “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” (“GOB”) sales springing up periodically. The consumer must avoid such sales for many important reasons.

Firstly, don’t be fooled by the “Going Out of Business” routine. Throughout the rug industry in Europe and the USA, unscrupulous operators are setting up companies or buying weak businesses just to take them “out of business”‘. Entirely new inventories are brought in just for the “sale” and finally an “auction”. There’s a disturbing imbalance in the quality of the merchandise found in these sales. A few good pieces may be brought in for show, but mostly shoddy, defective and/or low quality goods are promoted at illegitimately “discounted” prices.

Secondly, careless labeling and possible misrepresentation of rugs is common at these sales. The pricing schemes used by the 60%, 70% operators are used extensively here too.
At a recent GOB sale in the New York area, Dilmaghani found 12×9 Pakistan Persian design rugs selling at $7,100 reduced from $16,900. At Dilmaghani, similar designs in better quality are simply priced at $3,850 – $4,200.

Thirdly, the sellers capitalize on an impulsive buying atmosphere. The sales help is often “pushy” and demeaning to the extent customers may be intimidated and pressured into making a purchase they might otherwise pass by.

Lastly, after customers have settled for a rug in this atmosphere, there’s nowhere to go when the sale is over and the rug pales in your eyes. You buy without recourse.

BEWARE of Church or Charitable Organization “Sales”
Periodically, church or charitable organizations host itinerant “sales”. When you buy from those “sales” you’re not buying from an establishment where you may easily return to the source. If after a month, you have a problem with your rug, the charitable organization may not find a solution. Here too, the concept of “sale” is frequently abused and there is no consistency in quality offered. Often these “sales” are backed by rug promoters with questionable merchandise. Lastly, don’t think that because you made your check out to a charitable organization you have an automatic tax deduction. The IRS loves to review large donations to charitable organizations. It’s an excellent source of revenue!

MISCONCEPTION: Country of Origin is the determining factor for quality.
TRUTH: Historically, Persian rugs and Oriental rugs were considered synonymous. This is no longer true. Today’s market has shifted from Persian goods to rugs made in India, Pakistan, China, and other rug producing countries. For years, the Dilmaghani company maintained rug factories in Iran and also purchased there extensively. Many of those exceptional pieces are still in our stock. (Note that older Persian rugs, those made in Iran prior to the Iranian revolution, are often considered to be superior to those made in the late 70′s and 80′s.) People are often mislead to believe all Persian rugs are better than rugs from other countries. This is definitely not so. wide variation exists in the quality of wool and the weave of Persian rugs. There are many Persian rugs which are decidedly inferior to merchandise from India, Pakistan, China, etc. Through our manufacturing connections DILMAGHANI now has the unique opportunity to establish quality control better than even possible in our own Iranian factories. Generally speaking, if one compares two rugs of exactly the same quality, one from Iran and the other of different origin, the Persian piece would be far more expensive. However, given they are the same quality, both rugs will provide equal service. In this comparison, the better purchase value clearly rests in the non-Persian rug. The intangibles, such as possible appreciation, cannot be foretold for either rug regardless of what the salesperson says.

MISCONCEPTION: Foreign travel gives you the best chance to buy from the source.
TRUTH: Tourist Buys Can Burn. It sounds romantic to select a rug yourself in the surrounding of a Middle Eastern bazaar. In fact, it’s a chancy way of doing business. There’s a large buying gap between the tourist and the seasoned professional rug buyer. Foreign sources reserve their finest pieces for the discerning importing merchants who buy regularly, and who know and accept only the best. The local tourist markets often serve as the outlet for less desirable merchandise.

Don’t either be misled by the foreign guide with the “key” to the “source”. The end result can be an expensive souvenir for you and a handsome commission for the guide. Frequently people bring us their “finds” for assessment. Almost universally the better quality and better buy was around the corner rather than a trip halfway around the globe.