You might think these two types of rugs go hand-in-hand, but they are very different in the way they are made, as well as their cost, value and longevity.
Being able to distinguish between the two is important, especially when price is a consideration.
Hand-knotted rugs are tightly knotted by hand so there are no other materials, such as glue, necessary to hold the carpet together. These rugs can last anywhere from 25 to 125 years depending on the quality, and some of the traditional well made ones are great investments. Since they take longer to make — an average weaver can tie just about 10,000 knots per day — hand-knotted rugs are generally more expensive. The value of a hand-knotted carpet is determined by many factors: the country of origin, the number of knots per square inch, the type and quality of the fiber, and the design of the rug.
There are a variety of ways to tie knots and usually, the method indicates the region in which a rug was made or the tribe who made it.
Asymmetrical Knot (Persian or Senneh)
Considered the finest knot, it is typical of Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt and China. This weave is very fine and tight.
Symmetrical Knot (Turkish or Ghiorde)
Primarily found in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes.
A hand-tufted rug is created without tying knots. Instead it is made by punching strands of wool into a canvas, which is stretched on a frame. This is accomplished with the help of a hand-operated tool called a tufting gun. This process is not very labor intensive, and requires less of a skill level than that of hand knotting.
They are made using a grid-like backing, and the yarn is looped and tied in patterns on the grid. Afterwards, to prevent the pieces of yarn from unraveling, the back is then glued and covered with a piece of canvas, or similar material.
In the final stages of production, a hand-tufted carpet is shaved on top so that instead of loops, you see a pile.
Tufted rugs last about 10 to 12 years and can be a good choice if you are budget conscious.
Although it is possible to find a high quality, designer, hand-tufted rug made by a well-known manufacturer, the majority of hand-tufted rugs sold are not well made. The wool, quality of latex glue used to secure the pile, the application of the glue, and the type of fabric used for backing all vary from well crafted to cheaply produced. Only time will tell if you got a lemon!
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