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The state of the Persian Rug market post lifting of US

sanctions
The 2016 Domotext handmade Carpet Fair in Hannover was abuzz with a dawn of a new era for
Persian rugs as US sanctions had been lifted; with speculation that the American dealers will be
rushing to update their stock after so many years of sanctions. In Oriental Rugs reality only time will
tell if such expectations will materialise. Yet there are some specific tangible indicators of growing
demand.
New Emerging Market
In the last decade we have witnessed an astronomical rise in the value of Chinese artefacts and
Russian antiquities. From the 1980’s and well into the 1990’s the demand for Japanese
antiques remained persistent. Today if you talk to any leading reputable antique dealer of Persian
rugs, they will tell you of a sudden increase in demand and hence prices. Lord Lamont, the newly
appointed trade envoy to Iran has called Iran “the world’s biggest emerging market since the
collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago”. If the swift growth of demand for high-end Persian
rugs is anything to go by then there may be a great deal of truth in that statement.
As a collector and dealer of antique rugs I have many loyal clients around the world. But I have to
admit to have been taken by utter surprise of the growing demand coming from inside Iran. Persian
carpets were brought to Europe around the sixteenth century and have since reigned supreme. One
of the most talented Old Masters of the 17th Century Sir Anthony van Dyck painted Royalty and
aristocrats resplendent against their obligatory Persian carpets, slightly lesser – albeit moneyed -mortals were seen with Turkish rugs.
Today Iranians inside the country are beginning to reassert ownership of national treasures lost long
ago to the West. This coupled with move away from the stark minimalism of the last decade and
growing demand for rare quality pieces by discerning clients around Europe and especially North
America is keeping the antique market buoyant.
The lifting of sanctions is obviously a key factor. But there are Oriental Rugs other salient influences
that cannot be ignored. Tastes are changing and our interior-designer clients are increasingly after
rare antique and vintage multihued pieces. The vibrant rugs we have supplied for fashion shoots or
even London Fashion Week were last deemed stylish in the 1960s and 70s. For the last two decades
we have successfully produced minimalist rugs for many leading stores such as the Conran Store,
Liberty and John Lewis. The sale of such Persian Rugs production goods in contrast is fast
diminishing. Irrespective of sanctions, demand and prices for certain goods go up and they Persian
Rugs can also simply go down due to the changes in consumer tastes.
Increasing Rarity
Still many have attributed the rise in prices of production and particularly Persian vintage rugs on
sanctions. But the reality is that certain good are ever more difficult to source. In the last two
decades, the number of Persian weavers has halved to about one million. The artisan weavers of the
past are fast disappearing. This is largely due to demographic changes and employment aspirations
of an increasingly urbanized society. 71 percent of Iranians live in cities, the population is
predominately under thirty, with a literacy rate 93 percent for those aged between 10 and 49. While
demand seems to be growing unabated; all these factors are augmenting the rarity values of quality

antique and vintage rugs.
Our Location:
First Floor, Unit 9
Park Royal Oriental Carpet Centre
1 Chandos Road
London NW10 6NF
Contact Info:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8735 0701

Email: info@sharafiandco.com
Website: http://sharafiandco.com