Oriental Rugs always use natural fibers, and any rug containing synthetic material will invariably have been machine made.
The only exception to this rule is the occasional use of very small quantities of gold or metallic thread in some workshop and masterworkshop items.
Wool, cotton, and silk are the main materials in rugs, although goat and camel hair are sometimes used by nomadic and village weavers.
Wool- The best and most widely used rug-making material.
It is soft, durable and easy to work. However, the quality varies considerably and not all wool is suitable for rug-making. Good carpet wool needs to combine softness with strength and springiness, otherwise the rug wears out quickly and fails to return to its original shape if creased or depressed. Only certain types of wool possess the qualities required; the best comes from lambs between 8 and 14 months old, particularly those from the colder highland regions. Unless one has followed the rug-making process through from clipping to completion, the only way to assess the quality of the wool is to rely on the ‘feel’ of the item and the repuation of the individual weaving group. However, some rugs are prefixed by the word Kurk – as in Kurk Kashan – which indicates that the rug was made from wool taken from the flanks and shoulders- where the fibres are longest- of lambs reared in the winter and clipped in the spring. Kurk wool is generally considered to be among the best available.
The process of turning freshly shorn wool into yarn suitable for rug-making is both simple and universal.
The wool is first washed- normally after shearing- and then ‘carded’, a process that teases the wool into longer and straighter fibres. The fibres are then spun, either by hand or machine, into a continuous thread which is twisted together with other threads, in the opposite direction to which they were spun, to form the yarn.