Are Persian Rugs a Good Investment?

Persian rugs have captivated antique dealers and interior designers for centuries. Intricately woven designs display a level of skill that’s rarely seen, and even a lower quality Persian rug can be a work of art. A Persian rug is an heirloom, and has been for many centuries.

Which is why you might consider diversifying your investment portfolio with a Persian or Oriental rug. Occasionally, a Persian rug will cross the gavels of an auction house and sell for millions, catching the eye of savvy investors and art lovers everywhere. The always popular Persian rug seems like a solid investment.

A Persian rug can be a good investment, but only if you buy carefully. If you’re considering investing in a Persian rug, read this guide to find the dos and don’ts of these incredible design pieces.

Are Persian Rugs a Good Investment?

A handmade Persian or Oriental rug is a beautifully crafted piece of interior design that adds elegance and class to any home. These intricate rugs are a thing of real beauty, and the eye-catching patterns hold continual appeal. 

Persian rugs are an example of handcrafted talent, and a weaving skill that’s increasingly uncommon. Because of this, as well as their timeless beauty, they rarely decrease in value. Instead, an antique Persian rug with proven provenance can increase greatly in value over time. As these spectacular pieces become even more precious, the value goes up.

A Persian rug can be a good investment, but only if you make the right choices. When choosing a Persian rug as an investment piece, you have to shop carefully, and consult with experts. 

How to Choose the Right Persian Rug to Invest in

A Persian rug can be a fantastic investment, but it has to be the right rug. The market is littered with low-quality fakes, machine made replicas, and unassuming designs. Before making your investment, you have to research what makes a Persian rug so desirable.

The key points to consider when purchasing a Persian rug as an investment piece are:

  • Age.
  • Proof of provenance.
  • Condition.
  • Quality of materials and weave.
  • Design quality and rarity.

To start with, an older rug is likely to be worth more, particularly moving forward. An antique rug is unlikely to be subject to trends, and will retain interest and worth over time. Antique and vintage Persian rugs can be difficult to find, but it’s worth the extra effort.

This brings us to the second point: proof of provenance. As important as age is, it’s equally important to be able to prove that age. There are abundant fakes, and rugs with an unknown origin. Although these rugs may be attractive, they won’t increase in value. Being able to prove the origin of the rug is vital to building your investment. Furthermore, a rug with an interesting provenance may also have a curious history attached that increases the value. Consider the rug as more than just an item on its own — the story behind it can add interest to the piece.

One thing to look for is a rug with a signature. This can increase the value of the rug massively, and will help to prove the provenance. Again, be sure that the signature is proven real. Some fakes are embroidered with signatures in an attempt to look authentic.

The condition of the rug is vital, as the colors and patterns need to be clearly visible. Before choosing a Persian rug to invest in, inspect it for areas of damage that may bring the price down. Always check for damage that may worsen in future years – such as holes – as this will affect future profit unless cared for correctly. Although, be aware of rugs with no wear at all, as they’re likely to be fakes. We cover this in more detail below.

Assess the quality of the materials used in crafting the rug. Natural dyes with clear coloring are valued higher than chemical dyes. Similarly, the best materials for the yarn are wool or silk. The quality of yarn can also indicate how well the rug will age. A Persian rug made with a high-quality silk yarn will age better, and is therefore more likely to increase in value. 

Throughout this, never forget the importance of design. Unique patterns and bright colors are highly sought after, and can make a huge difference toward value. A rare design that displays quality will attract the interest of buyer’s, and you can collect on your investment.

Finally, always choose a Persian rug with a design that appeals to you. A Persian rug is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, and owning one should be a pleasure. When choosing a Persian rug, don’t just think of it as an investment piece. Instead, look for an appealing pattern that you’ll be proud to own. 

What to Avoid When Shopping for a Persian Rug

Knowing what to look for when purchasing a Persian rug is essential, but it’s also necessary to know what to avoid.

Don’t buy anything machine made. We’ll start with the obvious one, but avoid buying any Persian rugs that were made by a machine. These aren’t anywhere near as valuable, and are unlikely to significantly increase in value. What makes Persian rugs so special is the intricate process that was used to craft the complex patterns. Machine made rugs just don’t have this kind of unique appeal. Although a machine made Persian rug can still be old, and can still potentially sell for an impressive amount, they aren’t an investment piece on the level of a handmade rug.

Avoid Persian rugs with no damage. This might seem initially strange, but it’s best to be wary of Persian rugs with no sign of damage at all. Although good condition is imperative, too good likely indicates that the rug is not an antique. Persian rugs were made to be used, so there is nearly always some sign of wear on a true antique.

It is possible to come across an antique Persian rug in impeccable condition, but it’s unlikely. Be sure to check the provenance and age with an established dealer before making a purchase.

Don’t just buy the first thing you see. A handmade Persian rug is a beautiful item, and there are some truly spectacular examples of the craft out there. Unfortunately, it might take some time before you find something of this quality. Don’t buy the first thing you see in a sale. Take the time to research, then you can find a rug you truly love.

Be careful at auction houses. An auction house can be a great place to find Persian rugs, but always ask for the provenance of the item. Make sure it has been verified by a reputable dealer, and that there’s no question of authenticity. An auction house may not intentionally mislead you, but incorrect labelling does occur, especially at smaller houses.

Don’t buy a rug you don’t like. At the heart of it, an investment piece is an item you hold onto in the hope the value will increase. If you buy a rug you don’t like, you have to spend years looking at it, waiting to cash in. Instead, buy something that you truly love, and you have something to appreciate right away.

Are There Any Reasons You Shouldn’t Invest in Persian Rugs?

There is one reason to avoid investing in Persian or Oriental rugs, and it’s a big one. The Persian rug market is a highly specialized world, and it can be tricky to navigate. Rugs and fabrics are a specific area of the antiques trade, and not every dealer is qualified to authenticate them. Before diving into the world of Persian rugs, any investor has to seek out an expert who can confirm provenance.

As well as being difficult to buy, a Persian rug can also be hard to sell. When you decide to cash in on your investment, a reputable dealer will have to be involved. You’ll also need to be able to prove authenticity. Selling a rug for a good profit isn’t always as easy as simply putting it up for auction.

Once you’ve purchased your handmade Persian rug, there are necessary expenses for upkeep. A Persian rug needs to be cared for, and kept in good condition, or the price will only decrease. If you aren’t willing to pay to maintain the rug, it will start to lose value.

The final reason to avoid Persian rugs is that times and tastes change. However, a high-quality Persian rug isn’t subject to trends in the way other interior design pieces are. But, opinions do change, and there’s no guarantee that even an exquisitely crafted Persian rug is going to catch the eye of a buyer.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons to consider investing in a Persian or Oriental rug, not least because the attractive designs are lovely to have around the home. A Persian rug is an investment piece that you can enjoy owning, and an item that will bring you joy in the years before a sale.

However, choosing the right rug to invest in can be difficult. Always look around before buying, and familiarize yourself with the market. It’s worth it to find a beautiful handwoven rug that can bring you joy, and increase in worth, over the years.

Matt Roberts
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