Handmade rugs are highly desired and typically much more expensive than the machine-made options, but other elements such as knot density, materials used and the condition could play a role in what a rug could potentially sell for at an auction.

Knot Density

Handmade oriental rugs are woven and knotted by hand, and the knot density is the first factor in value. Knot density is measured in the number of knots in each square inch or centimeter; the unit is called kpsi (knots per square inch) or kpci (knots per square centimeter). Greater than 330 kpsi indicates a high quality rug; anything less than 80 kspi is considered poor quality.


Rugs are typically rated on a numeric scale by appraisers, and the materials used can rank high or low. Silk and fine cotton bring up the value of a rug, but using low-quality wool or jute fibers bring it down.

Colors And dyes

A rug with less than four colors blended are often valued lower than rugs with 10 or more colors. The blend of colors is also important; the more expensive rugs have a dozen or more colors that blend well, and not one hue sticks out or causes disharmony in the design.

Age And Condition

Like most antiques, oriental rugs usually gain value as they age, but poor a condition will bring down the value. It’s important for collectors to take care and purchase antique rugs from known sources so they know the items provenance, including past care.


Oriental rugs are valuable when they are rare, old and extremely well-made. Artistic touches and an intricate design increase the value.

The next time you are bidding on an oriental or Persian rug, make sure that you examine the fibers, age and knot density closely to ensure that you are not purchasing something that is fake or overpriced.