One thing that I learned for sure is don't even bother going to HOM furniture, if you are looking for a silk on silk rug. They only have 3 among all of their stores and all 3 are at the Plymouth store. Of the 3 there was only one that I would have considered buying since it had some nice colors and I liked the pattern. The rug was $6000 and was a 8'x10' silk on silk one so that is actually pretty reasonable. I would have like a smaller one that would have been easier to hang on a wall. Additionally it had a really low knot count for a silk on silk rug, It was only about 320 KPI (knots per square inch), the one that I saw while in India was a small 2'x3' silk on silk rug with a knot count of 1000 KPI. I would really like to find a smaller rug with that kind of knot count.
Now for some things that people should know if buying an oriental rug:
There are several materials that these are made of, most common is cotton or wool for quality rugs. You will see nylon, rayon and other synthetic fibers including synthetic silk on cheep rugs. If you want something that will not go up in value go with a rug made of synthetic fiber. From here on out there will not be any mention of synthetic fibers. If looking for one that will gain value go with cotton, silk or wool. If you want to use it on the floor go with wool it is by far the most durable one and will hold up to traffic the best. Cotton holds up better than silk and will provide a finer carpet than wool, but is not as durable. Silk is the least durable of the natural fibers, but makes very fine carpets.
The construction of the rugs is mostly done by hand and there are a couple parts to consider. The first is the wrap and weft, this may also be listed as the base. This provides the structure for the rug and is woven like a standard fabric. The other is the pile and this is the part that sticks up and makes the surface. The pile is knotted to the wrap and weft. When someone says a rug is silk on silk they mean that the pile is silk and the wrap and weft is silk also. A silk on cotton is a silk pile on a cotton wrap and weft. It is not uncommon to see a mix of materials usually silk and wool be used for the pile.
What determines how fine a carpet is it's knot count is usually wool will have the fewest knots while silk will typically have the highest with cotton in the middle, this is looking only at pure materials. When a rug is a silk on cotton rug will usually have a higher knot count than a silk on wool rug. The skill of the carpet weaver also affects the number of knots. The reason that knots are important is that they affect the detail in the carpet along with how different the light and dark side is. The light and dark side will be discussed later
There are several things that determine the quality of the colors in a carpet. First is the dyes. Vegetable dyes are better they are less likely to run, and more fade resistant. The problem with vegetable dyes is they don't work as well on silk so synthetic dyes are used instead. Both dyes can produce very vibrant colors, but for the best investment quality rugs go with vegetable dyes. As mentioned earlier there is a light side and a dark side of a rug. This is not the back side as you may think. If you are looking at a carpet on one side walk around it to a side next to it or to the opposite side. There will be a color change, some times it is only a mild light to dark other times it can be a very impressive color shift. The more knots per inch the more dramatic this can be. As mentioned the carpet I saw in India was 1000 KPI and there was a very dramatic color shift, green to white, red to yellow blue to black, where as the one I looked at at HOM with at best 400 KPI was only a mild darkening of each color.