The most expensive rugs in the world are those hand-woven in traditional rug manufacturing regions like Persia (Iran), Turkey, India or Caucasus. Oriental rugs were highly demanded for centuries, thanks to their fascinating patterns and motifs, quality of yarn, colors received by vegetable dyeing process, and durability. Nowadays an antique oriental rug is the true work of art, a masterpiece, worth even millions of dollars.
By nature, Persian rugs, especially antique ones, are the most expensive. The hours spent on weaving and the artistry may explain high prices. We can compare them to the works of famous painters. When it’s a famous master-weaver who creates the rug, its price may be higher. Also, the work of art might be expensive because of outstanding features or its background story.
In June 2008, on the auction at Christie’s, a collector bought a silk Isfahan antique rug for 4.5 million dollars. What is more, someone paid 5.5 million dollars for a carpet made of precious metal and jewels. The artistic value of that one, however, is controversial. In 2010, also at Christie’s, a rug aficionado bought a Kerman carpet for 9.6 million dollars. However, that is compared with a carpet that someone purchased at Sotheby’s New York in 2013. The anonymous bidder paid 33.8 million dollars for the Clark Sickle-Leaf carpet. With commissions and charges it was a total of 43.8 million.
What makes a rug so expensive? The beauty, materials, pattern or traditional motifs, and colors are one thing. The finery of a carpet comes from a number of knots. The more handwoven knots, the more labor hours a weaver had to spend working on the carpet. It sometimes takes even seven years to make an outstanding rug.
To sum up, the important factors are the amount of labor, materials and historical value. Taking them into account, it is not so suprising that some rugs are extremely expensive.