Rug Materials

Wool is Great

Wool is one of the oldest known textile fibres, and is the chief fibre used in hand knotted fine Oriental rugs, as well our hand tufted contemporary rugs. The qualities that ancient societies valued in wool apply just as much today. Depending on the type of wool, it is warm, durable, soft on the skin and can be beautifully coloured.

Wool Rug benefits include:

- Durability and Ability to Maintain its Appearance
- A Soft, Natural Fibre on the Skin
- Beautiful Wool Colours
- Fire Resistance
- Water Repellence
- Dirt Repellence
- No Static Build Up
- Noise Reduction

The Best Rug Wool in the World

The two biggest sources of Wool in the world are Australia and New Zealand, home to tens of millions of sheep (20 million in Australia, 11 million in New Zealand !) and famously vast sheep farms. Australia mainly produces wool for use in the garment industry, while New Zealand focuses on wool for textiles, including carpets and rugs. New Zealand wool is exported around the world, with the top markets currently being China, the UK and rest of Europe and India. In Europe, NZ wool is mainly used for machine-made carpets and rugs, while in India it is mainly used for hand-made carpets and rugs. (China mainly uses NZ wool to make household textiles and yarns.)

There is a good chance that any contemporary rug you buy will have some New Zealand wool in it, as NZ wool is also often blended with local wool to produce a desired finish. Where rugs are 100% local wool, it is likely to be a medium quality, hardy wool for basic flat weave rugs, or the finest quality local wool for hand-made knotted and tufted rugs.

Manmade Fibres Come of Age

Madmade or synthetic fribres have shown tremendous improvements in quality and style in recent years. Today, the best synthetic fibres are comparable to wool in looks and feel. And an added advabtage is the availability of more vibrant colours than is usually posible with wool. A synthetic white rug, for example, can be a pure, brilliant white, whilst white wool rugs are typically a more matt, "off-white." Other synthetic fibre colours can also be brighter and more brilliant than the same colours in wool.

The main synthetic fibres you will see in our rug descriptions are Acrylic and Polypropylene. Acrylic rugs, including the Fine Acrylics which have a softer, velvet-like finish, are typically hand-tufted, with China now a major source of hand-tufted acrylic rugs. Polypropylene is another major synthetic fibre for rugs, for both modern and traditional rugs styles. Heatset Polypropylene is popular as a softer, higher quality version of PP. PP rugs are usually machine-made on factory looms, and includes production in Europe, notably in the Benelux region.