You’ve probably been in this kind of situation: You enter an antique shop and see an exquisite tapestry. The dealer says it was handmade and brought from the land of Timbuktu (or some exotic location). You pay a hefty price on the tapestry, but discover later that a small tag sewn on the fabric says “Made by machine in Canada”. Bummer.

Knowing the difference between handmade and machine-made is especially helpful when you’re looking for a handmade rug. let me share with you some tips on how to spot a rug sewn by hand:

Check the weave at the back.

Handmade rugs are woven with colored foundation threads that are horizontal to the fringe of the rug. These threads are found in handwoven rugs, and may not be perfectly straight.

Knots should be uneven.

Nobody is perfect, and that’s why the knots at the back of the rug should not be as well. Observe that some of the knots may be bigger than others, and that’s a good thing.

Rug pattern has imperfections.

While the front pattern may be repeating throughout the whole area of the rug, most handmade rugs will not possess a consistent size and shape in the repetitive patterns.

Check the label.

Sure, it can be faked, but most rug dealers will guarantee that if the tag says “Handmade in Iran”, then it really is.

On a final note, you must buy your handmade rug from a reputable dealer. Make sure that you enter a rug shop whose owners are knowledgeable in what they are offering. More importantly, they should be trustworthy and comfortable to deal with.

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