When holidaying in Marrakesh or Rabat, chances are you will see some beautifully hand crafted rugs and if you’re appreciative of the handmade arts, you may be tempted to buy one or two. These are a big investment as each rug is completely handmade and can take up to two months to make, so it is important to make sure that it is completely genuine and made of quality materials before you decide to part with your money.

Size and Budget

As with any purchase, you need to have an idea of what you want before you enter into sales, otherwise you may be parted from more money than you had originally intended. Measure the room where you intend to place your new Moroccan rug. Ideally, the rug should fit comfortably in the room while allowing for a border of flooring to show around the outside of the rug.

Like with any handmade piece of art, Moroccan rugs come in a range of prices depending on the size, design, quality and region of origin of the rug. Make sure to do adequate research on the type of rug you are looking to purchase; fibre quality, design intricacy for example, before you attempt to look for your new rug.

Does your Dealer Know His Stuff?

An expert seller of Moroccan rugs will make it his business to know the industry inside out, and should be able to provide information about the fibre content, quality and region of origin for each rug. He won’t pressure you to buy a specific rug and will be able to provide quality and design comparisons between different rugs.

Region of origin can be crucial when thinking about your budget for a hand crafted rug, as urban made rugs tend to be more expensive and intricate, whereas rural made rugs tend to use natural dyes for greater authenticity. If your dealer doesn’t seem to know his stuff, or appears to be pushing you to purchase a specific rug, you can always walk away.

Testing the Quality

You are allowed to request information about the material from which the rug was constructed, as it gives you the best indication of the quality of the rug.  Wool and cotton blended rugs are the most popular type of rug, as they are durable and last longer, and the differing materials allow for a mixture of intricate designs.

100 percent wool rugs are the highest quality, and the softest grade of wool is normally shorn from a live sheep. This is the most expensive form of rug, but can produce the best results with beautiful designs.

Authentic Moroccan carpets are very rarely made with synthetic materials, so try to avoid synthetic rugs. If you have already bought a Moroccan rug and are worried it may be made of synthetic materials, there is a way to find out however it may damage your rug. Burn a small corner of it with a lighter; if the rug burns and begins to emit a bad odour; unfortunately it is made of synthetic materials as pure wool fibres do not burn.

Take time and effort into choosing your Moroccan rug, it can make all the difference! A well made rug with beautiful designs can sometimes betray the signs of synthetic materials, so even if the rugs have a few blemishes, sometimes that validates their authenticity. Speak at length with your rug dealer to ensure you get the best possible advice. Most rug sellers will even organize home delivery so that you won’t have to worry about fitting it into your suitcase before you get back on the plane!

[grey_section]The writer of this article, Natalie Dokic, is passionate about Morocco, the Arab culture and Islamic art. She also loves interior design and travel and is a regular visitor to the souks of Morocco and stays at Riad El Zohar in Marrakech whenever she can.[/grey_section]

[ Photo credit: Nancy Williams via Flickr ]

2 Responses to “How to Choose a Handmade Moroccan Rug When You’re in Morocco”

  1. Moroccan Rug Appreciator

    A great guide for Moroccan rug lovers! Thanks for sharing with us!

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