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Antique and Vintage Rug Maintenance and Characteristics


Old Persian Carpets and Oriental rugs gain unique qualities over time that are important to consider. Among these rug characteristics are color variations or abrash in rug terms.

"Abrash" refers to natural color differences in a rug or carpet. Commonly, people find these differences in the middle section, but they can also observe them throughout the entire rug. In hand made rug the abrash appear as a linear pattern. It appears as subtle changes or shifts in color intensity, tone, or shade.

Handwoven rugs, particularly traditional rugs and tribal rugs, consider the presence of abrash beneficial. Rug experts do not see it as a problem, but rather as a positive aspect.

Abrash is visible in handwoven type of rugs like Caucasian, Persian, Oriental, and Modern area rugs. Abrash is when a carpet or rug has small differences in color intensity and shade within one color. People in the trade used the term Abrash in antique or vintage rugs.

Rug enthusiast like abrash as it makes the rug look special and real with more character and depth. Abrash can show good rug craftsmanship and use of natural dyes, which are important in traditional rug-making.

Antique Bidjar, bidjar Rug, Abrash.
Above is an Antique Bidjar Rug With Abrash.

Above is an Old Antique Bidjar Rug With Abrash.

Abrash occurs during the rug-making process for several reasons:

1. Dyeing Process

Handmade area rugs especially antique rugs and vintage rugs often use natural dyes derived from plants, insects, or minerals. Color differences can occur due to small changes in dye batches.These batches may have been made at different times or with different materials. As a result, the yarns used in the rug weaving process may have subtle color discrepancies. Normally one would see abrash in a linear pattern.

  • Dyes

The rug dyeing process is a delicate and complicated task. The procedure may vary slightly, depending on the substance used in making the dye.

For the newer rugs the manufacturers treat the rug wool yarns with chemicals to enhance its dyeing properties.

The desired dye and color determine the duration of time the rug wool yarns remains in the vat. This duration can range from a few hours to several days. After attaining the desired color, yarns are remove from the vat and hang in the sun to dry.

Rug Dyes, antique coloring, vintage rug colors
The rug dyeing process is a delicate and complicated task.

2. Hand Spinning Wool Rug Yarns

Artisans typically hand-spin the wool or other fibers, such as silk or cotton, used in handmade rugs, especially in antique rugs. Handspun yarns can vary in thickness and density, affecting how they absorb dye and appear in color.

Handcrafted rugs, vintage, Spinning Wool Rug Yarns
Hand Spinning Wool Rug Yarns

3. Shearing Wool Rug

After the rug is woven, it undergoes a shearing process to create an even pile height. The variation in how the pile is cut can affect how light reflects off the fibers, resulting in subtle color shifts.

vintage rug, antique rug maintenance
Shearing Wool Rug Example

4. Rug Wear and Rug Age

Old antique rugs can fade and develop abrash over time from sunlight and other environmental factors.

Antique Tabriz Persian Rug
Antique Tabriz Persian Rug | Available at Socal Rugmasters

Antique Tabriz Persian Rug

Antique Bijar rug, vintage, abrash
This antique Bijar rug is a great example of abrash

This old antique Bijar rug shows abrash. Looking at the image of the rug's field color, you'll see different shades of navy blue. A straight line separates the color variations.

Abrash in vintage rugs, rug maintenance by socal rug masters
Abrash in Antique Heriz Rugs

Abrash is not present in all rugs, as it depends on the materials used and the weaving techniques employed. Machine-made rugs lack abrash as they use synthetic dyes and uniform fibers, unless designed to include abrash.

Fake abrash in new and printed rugs refers to the attempt to imitate the color variation found in handmade rugs. However, artisans do not make these rugs by hand and they do not possess genuine abrash.

Manufacturers may use various techniques to create fake abrash in new and printed rugs:

1. Rug Printing Techniques

Digital or manual printing processes can mimic the look of abrash in printed rugs. Manufacturers can imitate handwoven rug patterns by strategically using dyes or pigments to create various colors.

2. Rug Chemical Treatments

Some manufacturers may use chemical treatments or washes to create artificial abrash on the surface of the rug. These treatments change the colors to make them look less the same and more like the natural differences in old rugs. The issue here would be the longevity of the wool or other natural or organic fibers used in the rug. Oxidizing the natural fiber decreases the length of the rug viability and resistant to use over time.

3. Inconsistent Dyeing

Machine-made rugs can intentionally have unevenly applied synthetic dyes to create a similar effect as genuine abrash.

4. Texture and Pile Height Variation

By varying the texture or pile height of certain areas of the rug, manufacturers can create the illusion of color shifts and abrash-like patterns.

It's important to note that while fake abrash might visually resemble the genuine variations found in handmade rugs, it lacks the historical and cultural significance associated with traditional rug-making techniques. Authentic abrash in handmade rugs is a natural outcome of the traditional dyeing and weaving processes, often reflecting the artisan's skill and the use of natural materials. In antique and vintage rugs foot traffic, vacuum cleaners, and UV light would bring up the beauty of abrash among these rugs.

For consumers seeking an authentic and high-quality antique persian rugs, it's essential to be aware of the differences between handmade rugs with genuine abrash and machine-made or printed rugs with simulated abrash. Knowing how rugs are made, what they're made of, and the manufacturer's reputation can help you make smart buying choices.

SoCal Rug Masters, Rug Services and Locations, Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside County

SoCal Rug Masters offers all types of rus services to Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside County. We offer Persian rug cleaning, Oriental rug cleaning, modern rug cleaning, and Rug Spot Cleaning throughout Southern California. Our Customer Service, Cleaning Methods, and rug cleaning solutions make us the best rug cleaning company in los angeles, best rug cleaning Orange County, and best rug cleaning Riverside County. Some of our services consists of antique rug services, rug repair, rug restoration, remove odors from rugs, rug spot cleaning Los Angeles Rug Repair, and Los Angeles Rug Restoration.

During our rug care services and professional rug cleaning we remove dirt, pet hair, extra rug fibers, remove odor, and remove stains. Our rug cleaning services, rug repair, and rug restoration in unbeatable. Unlike other rug cleaners we take our time to deep clean your area rug considering every detail to protect your rug integrity and value.

For any rug services, vintage rug maintenance, or consultation please contact us at 949 522 1212 or book online. We will be happy to assist you with your rug services Los Angeles, Rug services Orange County.

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