One of the most common insights that we provide customers walking in off the street of our sunny Corona Del Mar, California store location is: How to tell the difference of quality between different area rugs. So we’ve decided to take to the internet and share some information that you can use the next time you’re out area rug shopping.

Knowing the difference of material quality between rugs will help you better choose your next area rug and understand why one rug is more expensive than the other.

So how does one recognize good wool?

Like most things, you must start with high quality materials to end with a high-quality product. In the rug world, first-grade is hand spun unadulterated silks or wools. In simple terms, the better the wool or silk, the better the rug.

Good wool will have a certain luster or sheen, but it should not shine as if it was glossy.   It is commonplace in today’s world to see poor quality wools blended with petroleum-based artificial materials to approximate the sheen of good quality wool. You should avoid these wool hybrids at all costs. They are much more brittle and easily fall apart. Also, petroleum-based materials can sometimes take on odd smells over time, especially if laid in an area that gets direct sun light.

The best quality wools are hand spun. You can detect hand spun wool in rugs by looking for a knobby texture to the weaving. Machine spun wools are also very acceptable, but do not demand the same prices as the hand spun wool rugs.

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So how does one recognize good silk?

Testing silk rugs is actually pretty easy to test. Pull a strand of silk from the rug and burn it. If it shrivels and smells like burnt hair, it’s silk. If there is any other reaction, the rug is made of some other substance. The most likely culprit is a mercerized cotton.

Silk rugs should be extremely shinny. A high shine is indicative the rug is actually made of silk opposed to another material. But beware of dealers referring to the silk rug as “art silk.” The “art” usually stands for artificial. So make sure to ask the dealer if it’s real or artificial silk, because this will dramatically affect the price.

Silk rugs should be extremely tightly woven and intricately detailed. There should also be real silk on the fringes of the rug that is actually a part of the rug’s structure. Artificial silk rugs will often have silk sewn into the ends of the rug to deceive buyers when feeling the rug.

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