Major Differences Between Wool and Silk Rugs
Wool and silk are the two most common materials used in high-end rugs. Each material offers unique benefits and drawbacks for both rug weavers and buyers. Whether you want a luxury rug for your home or an artistic rug as an investment, understanding the material is important. What is the difference between silk rugs vs. wool rugs?
Silk Rugs Vs. Wool Rugs When Weaving
Silk is significantly finer than wool. When weaving, this allows the artisan to create more complex and precise patterns. Of course, silk rugs are also significantly more challenging to make. Hand weaving is already an intricate skill, and using a material that is exceptionally fine requires even an greater level of skill. Furthermore, silk is more expensive to source than even the highest-quality wools, so it is less likely to be used in a lower quality rug. Historically, only skilled artisans working in cities worked with silk, but silk is more readily available today. Nonetheless, modern rugs made with silk still require masterful skill to make.
Silk Rugs Vs. Wool Rugs When Buying
Due to the greater challenge and higher material cost, you can expect silk rugs to typically be more costly than wool ones, but labor and material costs are not the only factors in valuing a rug. A high-end wool rug can be more expensive and desirable than a silk rug in some cases. There are several factors to consider when choosing a rug material as a buyer.
- Durability: Wool rugs are very durable. The piles are thick and strong and naturally resistant to spills and stains. You can expect a wool rug to last for decades of regular use. Silk rugs are also durable but less so than wool. They will not stand up to the same level of foot traffic and and are more sensitive to liquid spills. For this reason, silk may be blended or used as an accent with wool on some rugs to highlight both fibers’ attributes.
- Appearance: Wool is an attractive material and can hold dyes very well, and many wool rugs are very beautiful. Nonetheless, it is quite similar to other rug materials in appearance. Silk, conversely, is highly sought after for its unique beauty. The material shimmers and is very pleasing. Silk rugs also typically offer more intricate and unique designs.
- Care: Since wool rugs are durable, they can be cleaned relatively easily, and they should and can be vacuumed often. If there is a stain, you can spot clean it with a detergent. Silk rugs, however, need more delicate care and should not be cleaned with hot water or steam. For high-end wool and silk rugs, you should consider using a professional cleaning service for the best results.
- Cost: As mentioned, silk is more expensive to source than wool. Unsurprisingly, this transfers into the cost of the rug for the buyer. Additionally, since silk rugs are often made to be very intricate, they may be more expensive. Of course, for high-end rugs, the artistry, provenance and techniques are often more important than the material in determining cost.
- Touch: Different wools can feel very different. High-end wools are very luxurious to the touch, and larger piles of wool will typically make the rug feel more substantial and thick. Silk rugs are much more delicate to the touch due to the finer piles. However, because silk is sometimes mixed with wool, some silk rugs feel quite similar to wool rugs.
Silk Rugs Vs. Wool Rugs – Which to Choose?
Wool and silk rugs can both be very luxurious and worth owning. Typically, silk rugs are more expensive and sought after. The exclusivity of silk and the skill necessary to weave it have made it the material of choice of many masterful artisans. If you are looking for a rug as an art piece or for display, silk is likely the right choice of material. If you want a rug that you can use in a commonly visited part of your home, wool may be the better choice, and it is also often more budget-friendly. That does not mean that a wool rug is necessarily cheap, however. The size, origin, complexity, and knots per square inch also have a huge impact on the price. Ultimately, you should choose a rug that you like or think will work well as an investment. Material plays a role in both of these criteria but should not be the only factor in consideration.
In addition to wool and silk, rugs can be made from linen, viscose, bamboo, or banana silk. These materials are typically used for alternatives or to create other textures accented with the wool and silk staple fibers.
Find High-End Wool and Silk Rugs
Whether you want a high-end wool or silk rug, Nazmiyal can help you. Explore our collection of antique, modern and vintage rugs. We are confident we can help you find the right piece for your needs. Consult our experts if you need help or contact us to learn more.