The Ultimate Rug and Carpet Thread

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by mafoofan, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    If I don't care about provenance at all, but I want the absolute highest order of craftsmanship and materials - where do I go?
     


  2. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    Foo, I think Bounder is trying to say that you can get the same type of rug, crafted to the same standard with wool but sans provenance, woven in India or similar for $600. If one insists on an "authentic" rug, you will pay more but have almost no certainty that the provenance (or "story" in Bounder's presentation) is genuine.

    Fair summary, Bounder?
     


  3. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    Pottery Barn
     


  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    It depends on what qualities of a genuine Beni Ourain you consider essential to a good quality Beni-Ourain-like rug.

    The wool comes from the sheep of the region and is traditionally left undyed (blacks and browns in the rug are from wool that is naturally black or brown). The warp and weft should both be wool; most modern versions and knock-offs use a cotton warp to cust costs. The softer the wool and the tigher the weave the better. Everything else beyond that is sort of subjectve. Except, I think fake symbols that don't mean anything are objectively awful. But maybe you can live with that.

    You can get a newly made Beni Ourain made by a for-profit collective of Moroccan women. They seem to sell at a 15-20% discount versus the vintage ones. I'm not sure what the material difference is, if any. But as with many handmade things, I would not be surpised if people just don't make them like they used to. The contemporary versions are certainly a bit watered down in styling, having adopted various ornamentations and pattern embellishment not organic to the Beni Ourain for sake of fashion.


    His analysis stems from a false premise, which I discussed previously. The $600 rug is probably not materially identical. If somone wants to find me a 100% wool, handwoven, completely undyed rug about 6x9 feet in dimensions for that price, please feel free.
     


  5. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I guess my point is, barring display of real knowledge on the matter, it seems dubious to insist that two disparately priced things are materially the same just because you think they are similar in certain ways.
     


  6. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    This comes pretty darn close:
    www.potterybarn.com/products/beni-ourain-rug/ (BONUS! Pics in the link contain ConTrad interiors.)

    "Handwoven of 100% New Zealand wool." That takes care of 100% wool and handwoven. It's even got the artisanal imperfection that StyleForumites love: "Beautifully hand made, each rug varies in size due to its unique craftsmanship." I have no idea about judging the quality of wool that the Beni Ourain use vs. the wool Pottery Barn uses.

    Undyed? I have no idea. The web site claims the wool has been "washed for exceptional softness." I don't know if unwashed wool is a good thing or not, but it's probably clean, which is nice. And you did say soft wool is a good thing, right? Does it still count if the wool was washed?

    About 6x9 feet? Will you take 5x8?

    Price? $599. I also think there's a 10% coupon for signing up for the email list.

    The pattern looks similar to yours, but I'm not particularly well-versed in Beni Ourain symbology to know how authentic the pattern is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013


  7. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    What about something Persian or Turkish in style?
     


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    As you're probably familiar with from the realm of men's clothing, quality doesn't just come down to a handful of designators. Two different rugs may both be 100% wool, but how does the wool itself compare?

    Also, I hate the idea of buying a fake version of anything.
     


  9. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    Of course, which is why I said, "I have no idea about judging the quality of wool that the Beni Ourain use vs. the wool Pottery Barn uses."

    I was only addressing the handful of designators that you specifically mentioned: "a 100% wool, handwoven, completely undyed rug about 6x9 feet in dimensions for that price." I think the only thing I could not confirm is the undyed wool. It may or not be. The web site doesn't indicate.

    If you want to add "comparable quality wool" to your list of designators, then it's a different task. But, again, I have no idea how to compare the wools, particularly over the interwebs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013


  10. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    To be honest, some people might find this discussion slightly vulgar.


    My goodness, you could not be more wrong. Carpet dealers, especially those that deal with tourists, are exceptionally good at reading people, even across cultures. I know one guy in Turkey who speaks conversational English, German, Italian and Japanese, as well Turkish, of course. He can spot a tell a mile off. So he launches into his patter about the virgins and the mystical symbols etc. and watches to see how hard you bite. The more you are into it, the higher the minimum price he will accept. But if you aren't buying it at all, the minimum price comes way down. Of course, he is still going to make a healthy profit off of you, but he will happily charge double or triple if he can get away with it.

    BTW, not being morons, carpet dealers, especially those in tourist areas, who have an on-line presence list their carpets at pretty high prices. The last thing they want is for some tourist to whip out his iphone and beat them over the head with their own website.



    Pretty much. If you tell a carpet dealer you want a carpet that has been sat on by Elvis, his likely response will be, "Let me check in the back."



    Man, you have it bad. The only thing that is even slightly tricky is verifying that you are getting undyed wool. But undyed wool being used for black/brown isn't all that uncommon. (Note that there are no blue or red sheep, regardless of what the carpet dealer told you.) In any case, you can certainly find someone who will tell you that the carpet is undyed so I guess exactly comparable carpets really are easily available.

    Starting at, ROFLMAO, Pottery Barn. I note, BTW, the Pottery Barn will send you a sample of the carpet so you can verify what you are getting before you buy. I guess Pottery Barn has some pretty sophisticated customers.

    But if you are happy with your purchase and with what the guy you bought it from told you, who am I to argue with you? We have more important things to discuss.

    As it happens, I am representing a Moroccan prince who needs to transfer 100,000,000 USD out of the country. We need the help of a respectable Chinese-American with a New York bank account. I am authorized to pay a 10% commission for your assistance. Can you help?
     


  11. NorCal

    NorCal Senior member

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    Bounder, as much as I appreciate slagging Foo, you are completely off.

    Your "functional equivalence" argument is totally false as is your assessment of Foo as an easily conned tourist. If Foo is being influenced, it is by the "taste" makers, bloggers, and design magazines, not fast Ali.

    Which is worth more, a baseball used to pitch BT at a Little League game or a baseball used to record the final out of the World Series?
     


  12. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    As it happens, I have the ball that Allen Craig caught to end the 7th game of the 2011 world series. Would you like to buy it?
     


  13. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    If you're looking to play ball, the Little League ball will suffice.

    Foo has made it clear that authenticity is something he values, and he's willing to pay for that. The question is how much?
     


  14. NorCal

    NorCal Senior member

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    That was not what i asked, which is worth more at auction? obv. the WS ball is, just one of numerous examples of back-story effecting price of functionally identical items.
     


  15. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    NorCal understands.

    The question is not what you'd personally prefer to buy, but what is the price one would expect to pay for a genuine Beni Ourain of similar size and quality?

    Honestly, I was hoping some people with actual knowledge might chime in and tell me something meaningful about this rug. I guess not.
     


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