Posted February 15, 2022 by Joseph Starr from Designer Pages.
It’s funny how the incidental nature of Zoom can influence relationships, even one cultivated within the constrained hour-long parameter of a video interview. When I joined the call to talk to Jason Nazmiyal of Nazmiyal Antique, Vintage, and Modern Area Rugs, he noticed (in the wall-sized square visible behind me) that I had a Salvador Dalí etching. Some minutes later, as we discussed how he sources his antique and vintage collection, he returned to my etching: “How many times do you think your Dalí changed hands, before it ended up in yours?”
The Art and Business of Collecting Antique Rugs
The comment was an integral element in the hour-long education I received on the business of antique and vintage rugs. My mind flush with visions of hard-scrabble journeys to far-flung locales and wind-swept steppes, I had asked Jason where he had obtained most of his inventory. The answer surprised me: “Through years of contacts I’ve created with dealers in Paris, London, Milan, Chicago, California…”
This isn’t to say that Nazmiyal’s 40 years in the business have been travel-free. To the contrary, especially in the early days, he would often travel to meet with dealers and examine rugs. “I would get up and fly from New York to London, meet with the dealer, and fly home the same day.” But his career has been mostly devoid of challenging journeys to tribal locales in order to seek out artisanal rugs and buy them first hand. Just as with my Dalí etching, the huge inventory (at more than 3,000 fine and decorative pieces, one of the largest collections in the world) is mostly comprised of rugs that have had many owners: “I’ve never bought one rug from Persia: Buying rugs is analogous to buying art. 99% of my rugs are over 100 years old, so by the time I get them they may have changed hands up to five times.”