The advantage of purchasing a new rug is that, well, it's new. It is clean, the wool is still springy and the colors are crisp. This will generally last less than a year. Afterwards the rug stays pretty much the same for a very long time, provided it is not abused.
The advantage of buying an older rug is that you can procure an older rug in the condition of a new rug after less than a year for a fraction of the price. Also, good quality rugs, like good wine, improve with age, as the wool and colors develop lovely nuances, and the rug acquires a "je ne sais quoi" that gives it character.
Identifying the type of Oriental rug that matches your interior decor is only half the challenge. You still need to find the rug. We can help. Contact us for a free consultation.
Particular attention should be given to the quality of the material and craftsmanship (how fine the weave is, the quality of the dyes and the wool), the draughtmanship, the balance of design, and the harmony of colors.
In the case of a vintage or antique rug, the condition of the rug needs to be examined .
1. Damage and wear. Slight wear to the fringes or the sides can be ignored. Small tears or spots of wear in the body of the rug are better avoided in contemporary rugs (less than 30 years old), but are acceptable in older pieces. Large areas of wear where the pile is down to the ground or large tears and holes, should be avoided for all but collectible pieces.
2. Color runs. Check if strong colors, like red, have spilled over adjacent light areas, especially ivory or white.
3. Fading. Compare the colors in the front of the rug to the back, and the top of the pile to its roots, see if there are obvious differences.
4. Stains. A few dime-sized stains can be ignored especially if they look like they would come out in cleaning. Larger stains should be avoided.
Your local dealer is an obvious place to start. But you will pay a hefty premium, often several times the price you could buy the rug for from a private owner. Online sites such as ebay and Craigslist crawl with dealers and pieces of cheap quality. Reputable auction houses could also be an option, although the sale in this case is final and you would still pay 40-50% more than what the owner is selling it for because of the commissions and fees. Buying an Oriental rug while traveling abroad can be a fun experience. Unfortunately, the places that are usually accessible while traveling are tourist traps. Serur's Antique Rugs offers you an alternative.