Persian and Oriental rugs are unique, no two are alike, even if several are created using the one design map, or ‘cartoon’ as it is known in the rug world. There is a myth going back the ages that weavers intentionally place mistakes in their masterpieces out of respect for God; as there is only one supreme being and only God can achieve perfection. Whether or not this is true or a charming excuse for any errors in a rug is debatable, but when tying hundreds of thousands or millions of knots at brisk pace small mistakes are bound to be made, meaning even if a rug is to be produced 10 times each will have slight variations from mistakes, to dye density, to wool quality. That being said, it is almost always possible to find a similar rug which will suit your tastes and requirements.
An experienced Oriental rug dealer with ties in countries in the middle-east as well as relationships with other dealers and wholesalers in the west will be able to find a similar piece and may even sacrifice margins in the knowledge that they will be able to sell the rug straight away. Most dealers would require a deposit to bring the rug in, which would only happen after detailed photographs are examined and the client believes the rug is right for them. Of course images are not always completely accurate to real life and nothing substitutes for seeing the rug ‘in-situ’, a good dealer will allow this with no obligation. When sourcing from abroad it may be agreed beforehand who is responsible for return delivery costs and of course, price would be pre-negotiated. Finding the perfect rug from your home can be a lot less stressful with a bit of communication and utilising the experience and knowledge of your Oriental rug dealer.
The process in sourcing a handmade rug varies but in general it involves five steps: consultation, the search, quotes and negotiations, delivery and purchase.
The consultation is most important, this is the clients opportunity to communicate exactly what they want and what they require, everything from colour, size, origin pattern and design can be important and it is vital to express these requirements as early as possible. Things like size should be flexible to a degree, giving the brief that a rug can be within certain limits. At this stage being open and up front about budget is important as it will be budget that determines the types of rugs available.
From this point a rug dealer will scour the globe using his or her contacts to create a shortlist of possibilities, at first these will come in the form of detailed pictures allowing you the client to choose which rug or rugs you would like to view.
Price and delivery terms are then agreed on and a deposit paid, allowing the rug to be delivered or imported from abroad. Most dealers will allow a client to trial a rug in their own home before fully committing to purchase on request.