The most expensive Persian rug on record was sold for a whopping $33.7 million at a Sotheby’s New York auction on June 5, 2013. Prior to the sale, its value was estimated somewhere between $5 million and $7 million which, in itself, are insane numbers for a carpet. While not all area rugs made in Iran and Turkey have the same seven-digit price tag, everyone knows authentic Persian rugs are really valuable. There are several reasons why they are worth their weight in gold.
Owning a Piece of History
When you purchase a Persian rug, you are not buying just a handmade piece of floor covering from the middle east, you are essentially owning an untold story, the long and colorful past it originates from. In the beginning, nomads made the rugs for their own use and protection against the harsh climate within the mountainous region of ancient Persia. Soon the designs and craftsmanship of these rugs stood out in such a way that royalty and wealth took notice and began to incorporate into their homes. From that point, Persian rugs began to acquire their reputation for sophistication and luxury.
The ‘Sickle-Leaf’ carpet that sold for almost $40 million is a prime example of how history impacts the value of rugs – it was reportedly made in the early 17th century at the height of the Safavid empire in what is today’s modern Iran. It’s also one of the very few antique rugs from that period that’s been well preserved, which no doubt plays into its price value.
But what about the newer and more modern Persian rugs? The process of handweaving wool has remained virtually the same for over 2,500 years and if you’re buying a real handwoven rug, you should be proud to know that your decision will help keep this legacy of fine craftsmanship alive for more generations to come.
Persian Rugs are 100% Organic
Another reason why these rugs are expensive is that all materials used for making them are all-natural and organic. Wool, silk, and cotton are grown or harvested naturally which takes time and resources to do. These are processed into fibers that will be colored with plant-based dyes that provide the distinctive hues Persian rugs are famous for.
Aside from being eco-friendly, the rugs also benefit from the natural properties of these materials. Wool has fatty acids that prevent the growth of mold and bacteria which is why Persian rugs don’t need to be washed often. In addition, natural dyes that come from plants last longer. It’s how Persian rugs can survive for centuries and still look the same as the day they were woven together.
No Two Persian Rugs are Alike
On top of having a rich, fascinating history and using all-natural materials, Persian rugs are highly sought after for its uniqueness. There is no handmade rug that is the exact likeness of another even when they are made by the same weaver. There may be similar design patterns or colors but a closer examination will always reveal differences. These quirks are often a result of materials reacting to environmental conditions, weaving techniques used, how dyes are applied, geography and even changes in temperature.
Indeed, buying a Persian rug is its own unique experience altogether. At first, it’s price can make your head spin but the beauty of its art and the process that created it is truly priceless.