Indian Wool vs New Zealand Wool

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Navigating the world of wool rugs can be incredibly difficult.


I have 5 easy ways to tell if the rug you are looking at is a quality rug.

The most important being where the wool comes from...

5.Indian Wool

Indian wool is some of the worst wool in the world

The sheep are starved and horribly mistreated

Once the wool is shaved, the wool must be highly processed to remove the blood from the wool that arises from careless shaving.

new zealand wool rugs : indian wool rugs ; indian wool rugs

This chemical process leaves the wool brittle and weak

Sorta like your hair after you shampoo it but before you condition it

Unlike your hair,

This wool does not get conditioned

Rather it is taken through a machine to be spun into yarn

Machine spinning cuts down on cost and time but results in a tough yarn

By processing the wool and machine spinning the yarn,

The yarn swells twice it's size.

This is a trick to make the wool heavier and wider to create the illusion of luxury and charge more

new zealand wool carpet : indian wool carpet ; indian wool rugs

4.New Zealand Wool

Wool from New Zealand is cruelty free

Extra care and attention goes into the shearing process to first, and most importantly, secure the safety and well being of the sheep

Because no harm is done to the sheep,

The wool is not chemically processed and it is sold in its raw, natural state.

This means,

The New Zealand wool is expensive and,

new zealand wool area rugs : indian rugs

Only used in high end rugs.

Using Indian wool is a pretty standard type of wool in hand knotted rugs.

Sorta like how a radio is standard in any car or truck on the road.

New Zealand wool is an upgrade

Like a built in navigation system or keyless entry.

3. All Knots are NOT Created Equal

Sorry, guys.

But not all knots are as good as others.

There are 3 main types of knots in a hand knotted rug.

Persian Knot (Senneh Knot)

persian knots

The Persian knot is asymmetrical and open to one side

This not does not leave gaps and is less bulky than Turkish knots

This means, more knots per square inch

Persian knots are used to create more intricate curvilinear or floral patterns

Iran and Pakistan are known for this knot

Turkish Knot (Ghiordes Knot)

turkish knots

The Turkish knot is symmetrical and can be identified by two small bumps within one knot on the back of the rug

This looks like a double knot

Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and northern Iran are known for this type of knot

This type of knot is deceptive

It creates more bulk making the rug look like it has a higher knot count

The final knot is known as a Jufti knot

Jufti knots are also known as false knots

Instead of being tied around two warp threads, the weaver ties the knot around four

With this short cut

The weaver spends less time on the rug resulting in a lower value and quality

 new zealand wool area rugs : indian rugs

This is what you have to watch out for in Indian made rugs.

The knots in Indian rugs are not as tight AND

They are counted differently and rug knots in Pakistan and Iran

In certain areas of India, oriental rugs are measured using two numbers


"5/40", "9/60" or "13/65".

These numbers are called the bis and bhutan.

The first number (bis) is the number of knots in 9/10ths of an inch across the horizontal plane - so 9 would be 10 knots across (9/0.9=10).

The second number (bhutan) is the number of knots vertically in 4 1/2 inches.

Therefore 60 bhutan is the equivalent of around 13 knots per vertical inch.

A "9/60" rug would therefore be around 130 KPSI (10x13=130).

A quick method of calculating the Indian measurement is to multiply the two numbers and divide them by 4.05 (9x60=540... 540/4.05=133)

As you can see, this is incredibly confusing and deceptive.

You will have to look out for this when you are buying a hand knotted rug made in India

Rugs made in Pakistan and Iran,

You don't have to worry.

All you do is take a ruler and count how many knots the rug has per square inch

Super simple.

What is the difference between Persian and Pakistani (Oriental) rugs? Learn more here

2. How to Tell When a Wool Rug is Fake

It's fairly easy

The easiest way being paying close attention to the knots

Flip the rug over and if you can see knots,

You mostly likely have an authentic rug.

The pattern should be an exact mirror image as the from and you should be able to count each individual knot

indian wool are rug : new zealand wool area rug

If you see a piece of canvas or fabric,

indian wool : new zealand wool area rug

The rug is fake

This means is is a tufted rug and the fabric backing in addition to latex glue are holding the rug together.

There are a few more ways to tell..

Find out more here

1.Machine Spun Wool vs Hand Spun Wool

Just like your grandma's apple pie,

Hand made is better.

And due to its hand made nature,

It's irregualr.

Some parts of the wool are spun more tightly and some parts are spun more loosely


When the wool is dyed,

Some parts take lighter and some parts take darker

indian wool : new zealand wool

You know how that grocery store bought cake is beautiful on the outside with perfect rosting facade...

But then you sink your teeth into the dry and brittle sponge and you immediatley regret the calories?

It's like that.

Machine made rugs are perfect because machines are programed to be perfect.

But the real beauty and charm lies with the small imperfections that result from the rugs hand-made nature.

indian wool rug new zealand wool rug

Machine spun wool is swollen.

Another example..

"Volumizing" hair products swells the hair and make it frizzy so it looks thicker...

That is exactly what machine spun wool does.

It swells the wool

to look more thick so the rug seems more plush!


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  • @Baba There are many different types of wool, but when it comes from New Zealand, it’s important to know that the wool comes from there because you’re getting a wool that consistently scores the highest grade/quality next to Australia, compared to other rug producing nations. New Zealand wool is also the whitest, which helps with the dyeing process and makes the final result more colorful than other wool. :) Hope this answers your question!

    RugKnots Area Rugs on

  • Is it enough to know that wool comes from New Zealand, or is it more to know about quality of New Zealand wool. Thanks!!!

    Baba on

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