Hand-knotted rugs are the only authentic Oriental rug – contemporary design or traditional. Several other rugs are labeled and marketed as “hand-made” or “hand-tufted”, including hooked and needlepoint rugs, but according to industry standards, for a rug or carpet to be labeled as “hand-knotted”, it must actually be knotted by hand.
“Tufted” rugs can be made by hand or by machine. The pile yarns are punched into a fabric, the most common being cotton, and the face pile is clipped and a cotton material covers the back of the tufted rug.
“Wall-to-Wall” carpeting is not as durable when hand-knotted – knotting does not occur because of its backing being glued to the foundation.
Natural Dyes & Synthetic Dyes
Roots, vegetables, fruits and many other natural substances are used in natural dyes – they have been used in Oriental rugs for thousands of years, though synthetic dyes had taken over the market in World War Two. The popularity of natural dyes resurfaced in the 1980’s and were used in more traditional and/or antique reproductions of rugs.
These days, natural and synthetic dyes are both used in Oriental rugs and as a general rule of thumb, vegetable dyes are used in rustic designs or “village” pieces (used to add character to the rugs) and synthetic dyes are used in more sophisticated “City” pieces (where the color needs to stay consistent.