VERY OLD RUGS ARE FAIRLY EASY TO IDENTIFY BECAUSE THEY ARE SO FINELY MADE AND DELICATELY WOVEN
The classical period for Persian rugs began in the sixteenth century, the seventeenth century for Turkish.
Characteristic of the classical period is a superlative design. The overall patterns have rhythm and balance, which today invariably degenerated into ostentation, imitation, and lack of proportion. A few rugs have been dated and signed by their makers. However, even with these marked signatures, authentication of a rug is difficult to verify. Most dates are marked in Arabic numbers. The numbers two and three in Arabic may be easily changed to simulate each other. As a result, many rugs have been forged since the end of the nineteenth century.
Generally speaking , there are several other signs of age to be aware of. White will change to a cream color, and blacks wool is usually the first to break down. The back of an new rug should be fuzzy, and that of an old one smooth. The front of a new rug is harsh, that of an old rug is smooth. The design and look of a new rug are rough and a bit harsh, while an old one might have more elegance and character.
The new factory made rugs are often put on the market as antique. They copy the design and chemically treat the rug to look “antique”. One thing that almost always gives them away as new rugs is their wonderful condition.