oriental rugs oriental rugs
Written By : RugKnots  |  

So you have a beautiful oriental rug that adds the perfect amount of charm to your room, but did you know that there are tell-tale signs that can help you identify fake oriental rugs. Maybe you are looking to buy a rug and want to know how to identify rugs that might be fake. With sites like eBay and Craigslist, there is no way of authenticating that antique oriental rug you've been eyeing up. Even brick and mortar rug stores are known for being shady! But, don’t worry! This blog post has all the signs that you need to know to identify fake Oriental Rugs

7 Signs To Identify Fake Oriental Rugs

Signs To Identify Fake Oriental Rugs

1. Your Rug Has A Hard Plastic Back

Real oriental rugs, hand knotted oriental rugs will always feature a soft backing whose pattern matches the top pile like a mirror image. If the back is not a mirror image of the front, the rug is not an authentic, hand knotted oriental rug. When the back of the rug is hard plastic, this mean that your rugs top pile is made from a synthetic material and the hard plastic back is holding the rug together

Your Rug has a Hard Plastic Back

These are a few popular materials used in synthetic rugs: 
      • Polypropylene
      • Nylon
      • Acrylic
      • Polyester

These materials are budget-friendly but do not last as long as Wool Rugs. A synthetic rug is meant to be aesthetically pleasing for a short amount of time. With professional cleaning, a synthetic rug will last only 3-5 years. Check out our Wool VS Polypropylene blog to learn more about the differences between wool rugs and Polypropylene Rugs.

These are a few popular materials used in synthetic rugs:

2. The Colors Are Bleeding

Genuine Oriental rugs should only be dyed with all-natural vegetable dyes. When the practice of hand-knotted oriental rugs began, centuries ago, chemical dyes were not even close to being invented! If you not only want a beautiful area rug but also want the experience of owning a rug that is rooted in history and royalty, vegetable dyes are the only way to go! Most dyes will appear brilliant and true to exactly what you are looking for, but the real test is how well they last under a stain and frequent traffic. Determining whether the dyes are good or bad lies within whether or not the dyes are colorfast. Using a dye that is colorfast is essential to creating a decades-lasting oriental rug. Although difficult to determine, you can test it by taking a damp cloth and leaving it on top of the rug overnight. The next day, if there is color on the cloth (transferred dye), the dye is not stable or colorfast.

Some chemical dyes may be relatively stable but will eventually transfer toxic chemicals when dampened. Never purchase a rug that was washed with a fugitive dye. Spilling anything water or oil based will result in a bleeding dye mess on your carpet below, hardwood flooring and clothing. Anything porous could be ruined from the stain of a fugitive dye bleeding. This intense bleeding results from a short cut in the dying process. The rug was not properly rinsed after the dying process, leaving the dyes fugitive. RugKnots rugs are not only rinsed, but hand washed, ensuring your rug will never bleed, remaining as soft and plush as possible. Believe it or not, the main contributor to the rug's softness is how the rug was washed. Of course, hand washing is the most effective.

Run as fast as you can. This is the most shady process that unscrupulous rug dealers use to hide imperfections on their rugs. Holes, cuts, fading, and bald spots are covered up with ink in the hopes that the buyer won't notice the imperfections. This is especially important to know when you buy an antique rug. Because of their age, inconsistencies are more likely to have occurred on the piece. When you buy an oriental rug, be sure the type of dye used is written on the invoice. This ensures that the dealer cannot contradict his claims if you decide to return the rug.

The Colors are Bleeding

3. The Fringe Is Sewn Or Glued On

The fringe on hand knotted oriental rugs not only is a design element, it is a structural element. When the rug is being hand knotted, the fringe is the first element on the loom. The decorative knots are then tied around the structural fringe. The fringe is a part of what's holding the rug together. Because the fringe is so vital to a hand knotted oriental rug, rug dealers add fake fringe to a rug to make it appear hand knotted. This is an especially common practice on Hand Tufted Rugs. If you flip the rug on its back, you'll see that the fringe is either glued or sewn on. This is one of the easiest ways to determine if your oriental rug is fake. 

The Fringe is Sewn or Glued On

4. It's Not Hand Knotted

Meticulously tied by a specialized artisan, every single knot in an authentic hand knotted oriental rug should be hand tied. If the piece is marked as hand tufted, this is not the same thing as a hand knotted rug. Hand tufting is the practice in which a canvas backing is stretched behind a stencil and a tufting gun punches a design into the canvas. The practice takes very little training and the rug loses its investment potential and is left quite weak. The lifetime of a hand tufted rug is about seven years, while hand knotted rug's lifetimes are 50+ years. What's so polarizing about this is that although hand tufted rugs are a lot easier to produce, they don't even cost much less than a hand knotted rug. Again, lining the rug dealer's pocket even further.

Thankfully, you can buy hand-tufted rugs from RugKnots at the honest, low prices they should be sold at. If life has been hard on your oriental rug, you always have the option of overdying. Overdying is the process of taking a faded rug, de-saturating the rug and then re-saturating the rug with a single vibrant color. A hand tufted rug is not as strong and can't withstand an over dying process. The bleaching agent used to desaturate the rug will break down the bonds of the glue holding the tufted rug together.

It's Not Hand Knotted

5. The Rug Isn't Made With Wool

Half the charm of an oriental rug lies within the history of the practice. Artisans hand knotted the carpets. Merchants haggled the prices in the fragrant bazaars. Kings, emperors, and pharaohs laid their feet upon their functional pieces of art. Not only are they beautiful, but oh the history and culture behind them! Swoon... Hand knotted rugs are a romanticized art form that is lost when the piece is made from plastic by a machine. The charm is simply gone. RugKnots uses only the premium grade wool imported from the hills of New Zealand and from the finest local wool farmers in Pakistan.

The Rug Isn't Made With Wool

Wool Is: 
      • Hypoallergenic
      • Antibacterial
      • Flame retardant

You will never have any allergy issues with wool (as long as you're not allergic to it). A wool oriental rug will last you decades, and can even be used as investment and heirloom pieces. If taken care of properly, hand knotted wool rugs will hold their value extremely well. You will be lucky if a synthetic rug lasts 3 years. They are simply not made to last. In order to own a true, authentic oriental rug, and become capable of identifying oriental rugs you need to know that it must be made from wool! Check out this video to see why you NEED a wool rug.

6. You Got A "Steal" On The Rug

Because the rug is hand knotted, it takes a significant amount of skill and time to complete an oriental rug.  As with anything that is handmade by an artisan, hand knotted wool rugs are expensive. Hand knotted wool rugs have so much investment potential. If taken care of, wool rugs will last decades - if not centuries. Remember when people used to take their shoes to cobblers? And clothes to tailors? Same concept. Goods today have a lifetime and once the lifetime is expired, they are meant to be thrown away. Back in the day, clothes, shoes, and yes rugs, were made to last. The same hand knotting practice used centuries ago for kings is used today. If your rug was unusually inexpensive, be sure it is not made from a synthetic material, hand tufted, or made with unstable dyes. 

You Got a "Steal" on the Rug

7. Going Out Of Business Sales

The next thing that you will want to avoid is going out of business sales. Everyone knows this trick right? They advertise that they are going out of business — everything is "70% OFF!" and "EVERYTHING MUST GO!" This allows the customer to buy high quality goods for a fraction of the price. Right? Wrong! Stores will truck out the valuable merchandise, truck in new, lower quality stuff, open their doors, and make everyone believe that they are receiving high quality goods. That is... if they are even going out of business at all! Many times they just advertise this to bring in extra revenue around a holiday like Labor Day or Fourth of July. This is just another reason why it is of paramount importance that you find a reliable rug retailer to provide you with a high quality, authentic oriental rug.

Going out of business sales

Frequently Asked Questions About Oriental Rugs

1. How Can I Tell Where My Rug Came From?

This question basically refers to the origin of the rug. You can determine the rug's origin by looking at the backside of your rug. However, an expert can do this job just perfectly after looking at the color, style and color of the rug by just looking and examining the rug! 

2. Are Oriental Rugs Outdated?

Oriental rugs will always stay in trend no matter how times change. They can never get out of style because these are kinda how rugs identify! 

3. How Can You Tell If An Oriental Rug Is Valuable?

The value of an oriental rug basically lies in between and back of your oriental rug. What you can do is to put your rug upside down and check for the knots and tufts in it. The color on the backside will tell you if the rug is valuable or not. 

4. Can You Vacuum Oriental Rugs?

Of course, you can, in fact, it is extremely important for your oriental rugs. It is very important to vacuum your oriental rugs regularly to keep them in the best shape and form. Otherwise, the fibers of your rugs can get packed down disorganizing the look of your rug! 

5. How Can I Tell If My Oriental Rug Is Hand-Knotted?

We can usually tell if an oriental rug is hand-knotted by the knots and texture, but sometimes it's not possible to know for sure. A good way of knowing is to look at the backside of your oriental rug where you will find out the original color that was used in making your carpet.

6. Are Oriental Rugs Made Of Natural Fibers?

Yes! It is important to note that many oriental rugs are made with natural fibers, so if you have pets or children they should be kept away from the rug. If your carpet has a tassel fringe on it, make sure to keep them above ground level for their safety. As the natural fibers wear down, the rug will usually lose its original luster and become flat. So, make sure to place oriental rugs with natural fibers on a rug pad and in an area where it will be walked on often so that the fibers are not worn down too quickly.

7. Where Can I Place Oriental Rugs In My Home?

People are often hesitant to place oriental rugs on carpeted surfaces, but this is actually a great way to utilize them. Placing an oriental rug over the flooring will not only add texture and depth to your room but also provides extra insulation from drafts or cold tile floors in the wintertime as well! You can place your oriental carpet in front of a couch or an armchair, at the edge of a bed, over your dining room table, and under an entertainment center. Oriental rugs usually give a traditional look so, it can be used to decorate any room in the house.

8. How Can I Know If My Oriental Rug Is Authentic?

This is a great question and it's one of the most important things for you to know when purchasing an oriental rug. Luckily, there are a few quick ways that you can tell if your rug is real or not which we'll go over below:

1.Antique pieces usually have fringes on all four edges whereas new rugs are neat and do not have fringes at the edges.

2.An authentic oriental rug is usually woven with a silk or wool fabric. New rugs are often made of polyester, acrylic, cotton, and linen so they will not have the same texture as an authentic oriental rug would.

3.Original oriental rug is made with wool and silk, which is a natural fiber. New oriental rugs are often made of polyester or acrylic fibers so they will not hold up as well to everyday use.

4.An original oriental rug is hand-knotted which means each knot is individually tied. New rugs are machine-made so they will not be as durable and have a very different feel to them from an authentic oriental rug.

5.Your rug will be a bit expensive. This is because oriental rugs are hand-made and an original rug will be made to order, so it can take up to a year before your new rug will be delivered. New orients may not cost as much but they are often machine-made which affects the quality and durability of the product.

9. Where Can I Find Authentic Oriental Rugs Online With Free Shipping?

There are so many online rug brands from where you can find authentic oriental rugs. For instance, west elm, Wayfair, Rugsusa, and RugKnots. RugKnots have authentic oriental rugs available in different sizes, styles, and colors for you to choose from. We also provide free shipping on all orders and also a 30 days return policy!

10. Can I Place An Oriental Rug Outdoors?

No. Oriental rugs are not designed for outdoors and they will start to deteriorate if left outside in harsh conditions such as rain, snow, or sun exposure. Oriental rugs are made for indoor areas as they are made of natural fibers and hand-knotted by professional designers. They are a gorgeous piece of attraction usually used for decorative purposes. If your outdoor areas are shaded then you can place an oriental rug.

11. Are Oriental Rugs Traditional?

Oriental rugs are traditional in the sense that it is a piece of history. They have been made since ancient times and they will be around for many decades to come, but because of how production has changed so much from when these were first created there’s no longer an established tradition but are usually used as a traditional decorative piece for traditional style housing.

12. What Color Should I Be Looking For When Buying An Oriental Rug?

The traditional colors used in these rugs are red, green, and blue. These can be mixed with other colors or they can just involve two of the three. Oriental rugs are famous for their own color palette. These colors go well in any area without overpowering any other piece of furniture or decoration.

13. What Is The Difference Between An Oriental Rug And A Persian Rug?

There is no difference between the two, but they are often used interchangeably. An oriental rug is a rug that is from the near east, which includes a lot of what we now call Iran. A Persian rug would be any other type of carpet out there in the world with a different name. A Persian rug can also be an oriental rug and vice versa.

14. What Is The Difference Between Hand-Knotted Rugs And Machine-Made?

Machine-made carpets are often cheaper than hand-knotted ones because they use a loom to weave them instead of knitting pieces together by hand. The knots in these carpets are uniform whereas knots in hand-made rugs are not. hand-knotted rugs are more expensive than machine-made because they are not as uniform and can have some irregularities.

15. Are All Persian Carpets Oriental?

No, there's a popular misconception that any carpet from the near east is an Oriental rug and vice versa but this is actually untrue as even though they can be used interchangeably, they're not always interchangeable terms. For example, some people call any rug made in China an Oriental or Persian but this isn't true as they can be any one of a number of different types.

16. What Should I Do If My Rug Starts To Fray?

If you notice that your rug has started to fray then it may be time for a repair or replacement. If these rugs start to unravel then this can lead them to become dirtier and so it's important to repair them before the damage becomes too apparent.

RugKnots is located just an hour outside of D.C. and we have stayed in business with loyal customers for decades now. Don't fall prey to all the unscrupulous rug dealers out there! If you have any queries, feel free to email us at info@rugknots.com or call us at (301) 660-7046. We are happy to answer your queries!

Red Isfahan Area RugRed Isfahan Area Rug
Rugknots Red Isfahan Area Rug - AR5569
$3,457.99 $6,915.98
Sold out

Free Shipping

Ivory Ziegler Area RugIvory Ziegler Area Rug
Rugknots Ivory Ziegler Area Rug - AR3597
$2,119.62 $4,239.24
Sold out

Free Shipping

Multi-Color Overdyed Area Rug - AR3441Multi-Color Overdyed Area Rug - AR3441
Rugknots Multi-Color Overdyed Area Rug - AR3441
$2,650 $5,300

Free Shipping

Free Shipping

Ivory Isfahan Area Rug - AR5496Ivory Isfahan Area Rug
Rugknots Ivory Isfahan Area Rug - AR5496
$2,545.47 $5,090.93
Sold out

Free Shipping

Multi-Color Ziegler Area RugMulti-Color Ziegler Area Rug
Rugknots Multi-Color Ziegler Area Rug - AR5075
$3,619.33 $7,238.67
Sold out

Free Shipping

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

kernow furniture

I love these ideas of decorating home with Persian and oriental rugs. I love all the amazing ideas.

Jenny Alexander

I have read your 7 steps with interest. Thankyou. I have a very large oriental rug. Most of the tassles are pleated/plaited together. Is this a feature or do the manufacturers do this for transport ?
Thanks for any advice.


I am trying to determine if I have a real oriental rug. It was my parents from over 30 years ago and they don’t remember if it is real or not. Most of the key elements mentioned above would say its real. However recently at our office where the rug lives, we had flooding in our office and half of the rug got soaked and just left to dry out (we probably should have moved it and dried it properly. However the colour has now slightly run. I cant work out if the amount of water is the cause, or if it is really fake.

Could you please assist!


Mussallem Area Rug

Mussallem Area Rug Cleaning, Service & Repair in Jacksonville, a hidden treasure for professional area rug cleaning, rug repair and commercial rug cleaning.

Darrin T

Most Persian Rugs are made from wool however I have numerous made from silk. There are far fewer made from silk and and finding them in larger sizes is even more rare. A silk Persian rug can cost up to 10 times the price of an equal size Persian rug made from wool.

Estelle Chisholm

I read you 7 steps with great interest. If good quality rugs are made from wool, how about silk? I have a small rug (with applied fringe) that is supposedly made from silk. How can one tell if it is other than burning a fiber and noticing the smell. I believe the fringe is cotton.

Shakargan metals

Whenever a business starts to go for their presence as one leading raw production company so there are many companies who
provide several solutions for business cnc machine services which provides business a complete click for what they are build for.


some oriental rugs have white white fringe. is this cotton bleached or oxidized? what color does the cotton typically come before its bleached. is it a linen natural color, the color of a white sheeps wool?