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Advantages of Organic Vegetables Dyes Over Synthetic Dyes

Oriental rugs are unique for a number of reasons, one of which is their brilliant colors. Among the first questions that comes up when discussing the vibrant hues is whether or not the dyes are natural or synthetic. You may wonder why that even makes a difference, but to rug collectors the distinction is clear. Most will agree that natural dyes are the more attractive option because each color is derived from plant extract rather than chemicals. Not only is the color more beautiful but the dying process is much better for the environment. Because of this, natural and organic dyes in Oriental rug weaving costs 30% more than man-made synthetic and chemical dyes. But they are well worth it.  Weavers spend time identifying the vegetable source to be used in rugs which includes vegetables such as madder root, indigo leaves, onion skins, walnut husks, etc.   The person dyeing or weaving must first dig up the vegetables, grind them, then slowly seep them.  Today you don’t need to purchase an antique rug to obtain the benefit of the old beautiful colors in Afghan rugs. A new Afghan rug made with natural vegetable dyes offers stunning contrasting shades and a wide range of hues that are impossible to achieve through synthetic and artificial dyes. Understanding whether the dyes come from natural sources or synthetic helps to estimate a rug's market value and age. Keep reading to learn more about what goes into the colors.

What Makes Vegetable Dyes So Special?

The simple answer is because plant-based dyes are extremely special. They are much healthier for the planet and for you than dyes made with chemicals. Vegetable dyes also offer brilliant colors that artificial dying simply cannot achieve.

Vegetable dyes are extraordinary because:

  • they contain wonderful colors
  • they have a look deeply saturated without being edgy or harsh
  • they appear glowing and are simply beautiful.

Additionally, some of the colors themselves are extremely rare. If you have ever battled grass stains on
your child’s clothes, it might be surprising that green hues in Afghan rugs are fairly rare. Early Turkoman
rugs have various natural green hues, but in general, prior to synthetic dyes there wasn’t much green.
The reason for this is that when the surface of the rugs is exposed to light, the green looks very splotchy.
On vegetable dyed Afghan rugs natural yellows are mixed with indigo-dyed yarn, but the yellow is
extremely sensitive to light, making green a rarer occurrence.
Blues and indigo are often the hue of choice because it can be derived from a variety of sources. In
addition, it does not dye the entire thickness of most wools. Since it only coats the surface it offers an
attractive fade creating that antique look that is so popular. Darker hues such as browns, dark browns,
and blacks are typically derived from sheep with wool already in those colors. No dye needed! To
distinguish the difference between synthetic dyed yarn and natural occurring blacks is that these Afghan
rugs have a natural variance. The non-uniform look is unique to each rug and beautiful throughout.

Natural Sources of Vegetables Dyes

The natural sources of vegetable dyes vary. They typically come from the extraction of color from wood, bark, roots, leaves, flowers, berries, flowers, seeds and other origins. The following is a helpful chart to learn about the sources of natural dyes:

Let’s examine the source of the primary colors:

Color & Vegetable Source
Red, Rose, Apricot or Pink : Madder Root
Oxblood Red : Cochineal insects from India and Mexico
Blue : Indigo Leaves
Yellow : Onion skins or Weld
Black : Oak Galls or Acorn Caps
Brown or Camel : Walnut Husks

Natural dyes in purples, reds, oranges, and yellows are remarkable in that they have an organic ability to bleed within each other. This creates a glowing, beautiful look without being harsh like synthetic dyes.

Before dying, wool is first dipped into a hot solution of Aluminum or Iron Oxide.  This process prepares the wool to bond permanently with the dye. Full color palettes are developed by dyeing Afghan rugs in one bath and subsequent rounds of dying in two or more baths. Substantive dyes such as black walnut, cochineal, and safflower, bond without mordant. This type of chemical compound creates a chemical bridge between the dye and fiber.

In general, the material to be dyed is boiled in a mordant solution prior to dyeing. As you can probably devise, the natural dyeing process is extremely time consuming and unique to each individual Afghan rug.

The Problem with Synthetic Dyes

Besides being less attractive, synthetic dyes have a very dangerous side to them. This is worth knowing if you are planning on having a rug in your house dyed with chemicals. Unfortunately, the chemicals used to produce the bright colors are highly toxic, explosive, and in some cases carcinogenic. These deadly poisons are dangerous to work with, so why would you want them in your home? If you ask us, the toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, dioxin, and others are not worth the severe danger.

Let’s compare natural dyes to synthetic dyes. Synthetic dyes are one color and monochromatic. Each vegetable natural dye has elements of all the primary colors on the color wheel.  Madder root, which makes the red color, has elements of all three primary colors (red, yellow, blue).  Madder red harmonizes and looks good with your home furnishings.  Additionally, rug wools last longer with vegetable dyes. They are strong and resistant against fading and color bleeding. To become an antique rug, it will contain primarily vegetable dyes.

Bottom Line

Regardless if you are a serious collector or simply love having a single Afghan rug in your home, you owe it to yourself to educate yourself about the dyes in your rug. In summary, the qualities of each rug is:

  • Synthetic dyes
    • stay the same and never change
  • Vegetable dyes
    • colors form a patina and becomes more beautiful with age retaining their value

Having quality rugs with organic dyes are not only more attractive, but better for. your health and the environment. We carry a variety of rugs colored with beautiful vegetable dyes. This rug will offer a gorgeous decoration to any room.

Understanding What Professional Rug Buyers for in Knotted Oriental Rugs

The art of purchasing knotted Oriental rugs is something that professional rug dealers take years to master. Buyers look for a variety of characteristics including size, colors, quality, and characteristics. Consumers look for the same things, but on a different level. After all, they are purchasing according to their own tastes, while professional buyers are seeking rugs for numerous buyers. Both buyer and consumer know that size is among the most important issue. The dealer needs the rug to fit into their inventory while the consumer wants the rug to complement their needs at home. Keep reading to learn more about what to look for when buying these priceless masterpieces.

Standard Rug Size

Knotted Oriental rugs are available in the following standard sizes:

●2×3 feet.
●3×5 feet.
●4×6 feet.
●5×7 feet.

When a buyer is considering Oriental rugs for their inventory, they need to determine which size sells the best and how much room they have to comfortably keep them in stock. For the consumer, the size of the rug depends on where it will go. From the bedroom to the living room or an office space, there is a perfect size Oriental rug for any spot.

Color Areas

The very best Oriental rugs are naturally colored with vegetable dyes. As the second most important characteristic for both dealers and consumers, the following are color areas to look for:

    • Field and main border color
    • Secondary and accent colors
    • Rug colors need to be blended, complimentary, and work together perfectly!

One wrong color and the rug will not work perfectly in the room to fit in with other colors. You want your Oriental rug to complement the décor, not take away from it.

Styles & Patterns

In addition to color and size, style and patterns are very important. Style is crucial because it combines pattern/design and the overall look. Be aware that the woolen yarns and wash finish will also influence the look of rugs.  The basic 3 styles are:

    • Contemporary
    • Transitional
    • Traditional

To complicate matters, there are more “looks” than “styles.” That means that the majority of rugs normally fall into one of the 3 styles above.  A few examples of different “looks” or “rug types” are:

    • Tribal
    • Berber
    • Flat woven
    • Braids
    • Chenille’s

Making the Best Choice

Just as professional buyers want to make the best choice, as a consumer straight, cleanly woven and the overall finish should always be evaluated. It is easy for dealers who have spent years perfecting their craft viewing and comparing thousands of rugs. As a consumer this can be hard due to lack of experience. It’s a good idea to rely on your rug dealer for expertise. Give us a call, we can help!

Everything you should know about rug pads under Hand-Knotted Rugs

Once you have invested in a hand-knotted Afghan rug, you will want to secure it in place by putting a rug pad underneath. Choosing the right pad will help protect and extend the life of your hand-knotted rug. Although not as exciting as pursuing a fabulous rug, this is an important purchase and needs to be taken just as seriously. Not all rug pads are created equal and when it comes to pads or underlays, you get what you pay for! The following tips should help you make the right choice.

Understanding the Purpose of Rug Pads

A hand-knotted Afghan rug is a work of art that may last for many generations. These rugs are incredibly expensive, so selecting the right rug pad is much like framing a priceless painting. Everything from form and fit to size are important for functionality. Rug pads do so much more than keep your Afghan rug in place. Along with providing grip and ensuring the rug does not slip under your feet, rug pads offer 
adequate air flow and additional cushioning. Too often rug pads are considered an afterthought, but they are an essential part of protecting the rug and floors of your home. The extra cushion that a rug pad provides can help absorb shock and prevent wear and tear. Rug pads can also guard against wrinkling, slipping, and buckling that can ultimately cause tripping hazards and ruin rugs.

Criteria to Look for in Rug Pads

  • Non-slip pads should grip the floor and the back of the rug.

  • 1/16” to 1/18” thickness for light traffic areas and under doorways.

  • ¼” thickness for heavy traffic areas.

  • Natural Rubber is a MUST (no PVC or vinyl)

  • Rugs body should hang 2” over pad not including the fringes.

Materials for the Best Rug Pads

Authentic Afghan rugs are typically created using premium natural fibers such as silk and wool. For that reason, it is especially important that the rug pad you choose is of high quality and not cheap plastic or containing synthetic glue or adhesives. Many of the rug pads on the market are inexpensive and can damage your rugs. Many even contain clay filters which easily disintegrate, leaving a powdery mess on your floors. Other pads can permanently stain your precious Afghan rugs because of the hazardous glues.

Although you may end up paying a bit more, purchasing a high-quality rug pad, made with 100% natural rubber, without any glues or synthetic adhesives is the best solution for your valuable Afghan rug. Because you love your rugs and want to protect them to your best ability, selecting a rug pad made with the highest manufacturing standards is key.

For smaller Afghan rugs and runners, you will want to consider a non-slip, low-profile, waffle-style pattern. This is the gold standard of rug pads. In many ways it is also an eco-friendly choice because the rubber is all natural.


Now that you know the importance of high-quality rug pads, the key question is to determine what kind of rug you have and match it with a rug pad that fits in line with your rug’s size and pile. For example, small Afghan rugs with a flatweave need more grip, while heavy pile, large, thick rugs need less grip and more cushion. Have questions? Give us a call! We can help you select the best rug pad for your priceless Afghan rug.

Why Buy a quality Rug?

For some people, rugs are a simple way to add comfort to a room or protect hardwood flooring. For others, rugs are a design anchor seen as artwork that amplifies the aesthetic of a room. Either way, some people ask themselves why they should spend much money on something that gets walked on. Simply put, wherever a quality rug is placed, it seamlessly transforms a room. Rugs can have an amazing impact on a space, no matter the size. From a visual and tactile standpoint, they add an irreplaceable appeal to the experience.

Choosing the right rug sounds easy, right? Not so fast. Buying a good rug is much like buying a good piece of furniture for your living room or arguably even as important as the home in which it will be displayed. Knowing what to look for in a rug and the company from which you are buying it benefits from some research. After all, the rug is something that will be seen every day. It should be stylish, the right color, the right size, and durable enough to withstand soles and spills.

Sure, you could find a rug on amazon or at the local Target and pay considerably less than if you purchased a quality masterpiece with a price ranging hundreds or thousands of dollars. Because of that you may wonder what makes spending more and purchasing a premium rug worth it.  You might be surprised just how many factors are involved including size, material excellence, and production of a good rug.

Features of an Excellent Rug

Buying a good rug is an investment for a reason. The time it takes to create a complex design and produce an incredible rug might astonish you. A quality rug could take months or even several years to produce. The detailed process needed to develop a uniquely beautiful and intricate design is not something that is done quickly. In fact, the ancient art of oriental rug creation is a dying art. This disappearing craft is practiced by only a few companies these days. Keeping alive the practice of producing high-end rugs is what makes our job at Kirishian Imported Rug Co. so special. Alternatively, less expensive rugs are machine made and produced in mass quantities, resulting in a cheap and less attractive rug.

Materials are another element of the quality of the rug. Low quality rugs are made of wool or synthetics like polyester or natural fibers known as jute. Expensive rugs are typically made from silk and high-quality wool. The problem with cheap rugs is that they simply do not last. They are susceptible to stains, fading, pilling, and even ripping. A cheap rug may last a couple of years and then be discarded. Unfortunately, inexpensive rugs are often priced that way because they are not produced in an ethical fashion.

Every Rug Tells a Story

When you think about your home, you probably find it as a place of comfort and tranquility. It may be a place filled with love from family and friends. Similarly, your rug tells a story, too. It is a visual display of your taste, style, and personality. Choosing the right one is important. Because we have been doing it for over 100 years, we are experts in helping people find exactly what they are looking for at the right price. Let us help you find a rug you love. Contact us today!

The Unique Process of Making a Quality Afghan Rug

The incredible amount of skill, time, and dedication from highly skilled artisans are among the reasons why a handmade Afghan rug is so special.  The exquisite designs, craftsmanship, and hours spent on each individual rug provide qualities that outlasts most rugs and explains their premium price tag. Whether you own an Afghan rug or are thinking of purchasing one, understanding the unique process that goes into making them will provide insight and undoubtedly support your purchasing decision. The following steps, from the first idea to final product, are part of the development of these extraordinary rugs.  

It All Begins with an Idea

As with any project, each Afghan rug starts with an idea. Because these rugs can take several months to complete, having a plan is extremely important. The plan acts as an outline to support the timeline of the rug. Each unique idea includes a variety of field patterns, border themes and medallion details. As you can probably imagine, the creative ideas and options are endless! The final design decision is important from a commercial aspect, as it is the crux of the significant investment ahead.

Quality Materials Make a Quality Rug

The process begins with unprepared, raw wool. The wool is primarily made from the fat tail Karakul, a type of sheep. This particular wool is historically used in the making of the most premium rugs. The unique dual fleece property has a soft inner layer and a long outer layer. This is important because the combination is perfect for making carpets. Because Afghan wool is found in the province of Ghanzi, among the coldest locations in Afghanistan, it is top quality fleece. Once the artisans have the wool, they begin hand sorting it by separating it into dark and light shades.

The Wool Spinning Process

Not all Afghan rugs are made with hand-spun wool. Sometimes machine-spun wool is used. Hand-spinning is extremely time consuming and labor intensive, which produces a much tighter look. Hand-spinning creates a beautiful effect to the texture, offering natural variance. One of the most popular types of hand-spinning wool is done with a drop spindle. This process helps prepare the wool for dyeing.

Dyeing Wool Continues the Rug Journey

The beautiful colors of Afghan rugs often make choosing a difficult task! Just like spinning wool, dyeing wool is also an expert skill. For example, to get a purple color, the wool is first dyed with indigo and then again with a red shade. Additionally, the process of natural drying in natural sunlight prolongs the colors of a quality Afghan rug.  Wool drying is as important as the dyeing process. 

Weaving the Rug to Perfection

Afghan rug weavers are dedicated to knotting. The size of the rug grows with each row of knots. Weavers follow a strategic plan. They typically leave the pile height long and then go back later to trim it. Even for the most experienced artisan, weaving takes a significant amount of time – approximately two thirds of the entire rug production. A skilled weaver can knot around 10,000 knots a day. This number fluctuates depending on the complexity of the rug.

When you purchase a quality Afghan rug, you can trust that it has been crafted with the care and commitment of fine artisans with years of experience. The uniqueness of the distinct design and colors is exclusive to the rug you purchase. Although some may have similar features, because the rugs are hand-crafted, you can trust that your purchase is one-of-a-kind. Ready to add an Afghan rug to the décor of your home? Contact Kirishian Rugs today!

The Importance of a Runner Rug from Kirishian Rugs

Are you thinking about getting a runner rug but aren’t exactly sure the best use for it? If you ask us, this decorative, narrow rug is an essential part of any home. A runner rug is a great way to add the illusion of a wider hallway or make a smaller space look bigger. If you want to add exceptional comfort, beauty, and depth to any room in your home, then a runner rug may be the solution. But before you buy, there are several things to consider. From color and size to contrast and design, you will want to be sure you find the perfect one for you. The following are a few things to consider when shopping with us at Kirishian Rugs.

What’s the Best Location in the Home for a Runner Rug?

There are many obvious places in the home that you may have already thought of for your runner rug. However, because literally any space can be enhanced by a runner rug, there may be a few locations you have not considered. Depending on the dimensions, style, and color choices, runner rugs are ideal for kitchens, bedrooms, entryways, and hallways. Hand knotted and elegant, runner rugs are one of the best ways to instantly upgrade a room or hall.

Upgrade the Kitchen

Rugs are not often considered in the kitchen. But runner rugs are a stylish way to upgrade this space. Placed between an island and cabinets, a runner rug will add a pop of color to earth-toned or neutral kitchens. Not to mention, a runner rug adds warmth to an otherwise cold floor.

Create a Cozier Bedroom

The bedroom is a great place for a runner rug. Large area rugs are often the first go-to choice. However, a runner rug on either side of the bed adds a cozy and chic element that complements the room. Turn up the coziness with a decorative and colorful runner rug or two in your bedroom. Here is a little secret, runner rugs are also a great idea in a walk-in closet, too.

Create a Welcoming Entryway

Welcome guests into your home with a decorative and colorful entryway runner rug. Whether at the front door, patio door, or breeze way, runner rugs add suppleness to the area. When anyone enters the home and removes their shoes, the entryway rug can help soften footsteps. A runner rug can also help create the illusion of a larger entryway, which could make the area more inviting.

Beautify Any Hallway

Protect hardwood floors or carpeting in high traffic hallways with runner rugs. Hallways are particularly popular for runner rugs because they add a touch of warmth and uniqueness to the hallway. We offer a variety of colors, styles, and sizes to ensure that you get a rug that perfectly fits the area.

Update a Staircase

For those with hardwood stairs, runner rugs are an absolute must. They don’t only add decorative appeal to the aesthetic of the home, but they also help to reduce falls and slips, preserve the life of the stairs, and reduce noise. Make a bold statement on any size staircase with the perfect runner rug. If you have any questions about installation on your stairs, let us know. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns.

If you are looking for the perfect runner rug for any space in your home, let the experts here at Kirishian Rugs help. We will gladly offer advice on color, design, and size. We want you to be satisfied with your rug choice so contact us today!