One of the most asked questions of our customers is how to check a rug’s quality. Therefor we’ve listed a few aspects to pay attention to:
There is a difference in quality when it comes to hand-knotted and machine tufted rugs. For machine tufted rugs the wool is tufted through a latex base. This base will possibly start to crack after a year or so, resulting in lots of shedding (losing wool). Therefor, always check the back of a rug to see the material used for the base. When it comes to Moroccan Berber rugs cotton is often used, wool is more rare. Another trick to check this, is to have a look at the fringes. These are made from the open ends of the loom i.e. the base of the rug. Both wool and cotton are durable, although wool is more sustainable and better looking.
Double spun over single spun wool
All high pile woolen rugs will shed to some extent. When you choose rugs that use 2 ply or double spun wool, shedding will be less. For rugs made with double spun wool shedding mostly clears up after a month of use when regularly vacuum cleaning your rug.
Knot density or rug’s weight
Check the knot density. A way to do this is to count the lines of wrap that are used in between 2 rows of knot. For example: we use two lines maximum, but 5 or more lines are often seen. Another good indicator is the weight of a Berber rug. One of our medium sized rugs holds 11 kilo’s of wool on average.
Fun fact: our rugs have a knot density of 25.000 knots per m²
source of the wool
A bit more difficult to discover, but probably the most important when it comes to Moroccan rugs: the geographic location where the wool is sourced. Wool from sheep hold in lower altitudes areas (around the bigger cities) have a short fibre length. This wool breaks easily and will shed a lot. This wool is used most frequently for Berber rugs sold in the big cities, cause it’s the cheapest option. On the other hand, wool from sheep that are held in higher altitude areas like Morocco’s High Atlas has a longer fibre length. This drastically increases the quality of a Berber rug.
New or vintage
If you want to buy a vintage rug, make sure it got older by time. In general and quite logical, the lifetime of a vintage rug will be shorter then a newly made rug. But what often happens is that rugs are given a vintage look by sand scrubs, ours of sunbathing or by cars driving over. You might understand that all of these methods don’t do any good to wool.
Hope this helped you out for a bit. For any additional questions, feel free to contact us.