For the Love of Persian Rugs

HERIZ_210Antique Persian rugs were enjoyed both as décor and furnishings in historic Persia by the populace from the clerics to nomads to potentates. Modern day collectors can be driven by the value proposition of a Persian rug and or their decorative appeal.

If there is any question about the intrinsic value of a genuine Persian rug one only has to be reminded of the June, 2013 sale by Sotheby’s of a 17th century Kirman vase rug from southern Persia that sold for a record smashing $33.765 million.

Many of us will not be in the market for a rug with price tag of a significant fortune in the millions, however owing something of quality that will most likely hold its value through time and bring years of enjoyment to your home is still an achievable proposition.

Do you buy A Rug with your Head or your Heart?

Serious rug collectors and buyers do their research, can spend considerable time before making a purchase and know it can take up to at least ten years to see their investment bring a return of anything from 20 per cent to 100 percent. These collectors are in it for the investment and often the long haul. More people are most likely collecting rugs for the love of it as the purchase for investment sector are the minority in the global Persian rug business.

So how about the rest of us who do not have million dollar budgets to spend on a rug? Determining what is most important to you should influence your decision.

Are you attracted to owning a work of art that is a beautiful slice of history with a story to tell to adorn a living space? If so you are most likely going to let your heart be your guide when you purchase your Persian rug. The design of the rug will resonate with you have meaning for you and you are most likely making the purchase because you like the look and feel of the rug.

The material a rug is made from will also influence your choice with wool or cotton generally being at the lower end of the scale with a rug made from silk potentially pushing the price up.  If you love silk and must have a rug made from silk you can either buy a smaller rug or if you desire a large silk rug on a lower budget you may be looking at rugs that do not deliver the same quality made in China or outside of Iran.

The knot count of the rug you purchase will also influence the price. History tells us that the knot count of the rugs was just as important as the materials the rug was made of. Antique Persian rugs and silk carpet were frequently made with a knot count of 1,000 knots per inch that is significantly higher than the modern Persian carpets with a knot count between 16 to 800 knots per inch depending upon skill of the weavers and the materials used.

Keep in mind, when you are on your whirlwind holiday that a rug purchase in a local market may not be what you think you are buying.  If you want to have a bit of fun bartering for it and be willing to risk a low dollar purchase then go for it, however be prepared that it may end up in the family pooches kennel after the holiday ends.

If you are buying a rug with your heart and purely for the love of it, still important to consider is the space the rug will live in, the materials it is made of and if it can stand the test of time.  Regardless of your motivation when buying a Persian rug; with your heart and for the love or it or purely as an investment, Persian rugs offer another important buying proposition.

Being made by hand from sustainable, natural animal and vegetable fibers like cotton, wool and silk and traditionally having used natural dyes derived from insects, plants and minerals to dye the fibers, an antique Persian rug can be considered eco-friendly.  How valuable is that?

Green Living – A More Earth Friendly Life

RECCYLE  REUSE 2Green living means living in a more environment friendly manner in order to create a positive impact to the environment and to ensure that the planet is able to provide for future generations. It is also referred to as sustainable living or eco-friendly and green living may well be one of the most sought after yet challenging lifestyles of the day.

As a green living advocate, your main intention will be the reduction of carbon footprints. Harmful carbon emissions from various products and activities are released to the environment on a daily basis. Minimizing or eliminating these emissions is your biggest goal as a green living adherent.

To achieve this outcome, it is vital for you to use renewable resources more and more. For instance, oil is a non-renewable resource. Once the supply of oil runs out, everything that relies on this resource will stall. Cars, power supply, companies even the ordinary house stove will be crippled once gas is depleted. If you can cycle as a mode of transport you will make a positive impact on the environment and your well-being.

Renewable resources are your best option. This is because they are never depleted. Trees can be planted again. Vegetable oil can be made over and over again as long as the vegetables are available. The same principle applies with wind or solar energy.

This is why a huge number of people worldwide have shifted to solar energy for household or company use. For instance, in 2010 more than 100 countries have utilized solar panels to generate electricity. The power produced however is still insufficient to cover the total world demand of 4.8TW. It is still a long way to go before total transition to renewable resources is made however you can contribute in your own small way to reach that goal.

 What is Green Washing?

With the growing awareness of living green among people, some unscrupulous business people are taking advantage of this honorable endeavor by dishonest practices. One such practice is green washing.

Green washing is the act of making an unsubstantiated claim about the positive environmental impacts of a certain product. Some companies make it appear that their products are more eco-friendly than the others. This may place them a step ahead of competition. Also, it makes them appear more socially responsible because of their seemingly environment friendly practices. Thus, making them a champion of the green living cause when in reality they hardly contribute anything substantial.

This dirty tactic is more of a marketing strategy to lure more customers like you who are intent on pursuing some environment friendly practices to buy their products. For instance, when green computing became the vogue, a number of companies changed their packaging and advertisements to align with the rising energy efficient demands of the consumers.

However, as more private groups are getting involved with the green movement, the façade that these companies wore were slowly exposed to the public. Some non-governmental units are making it a life-long mission to determine the environment-friendly businesses and products from those who are not.

How to incorporate green living in your daily life

There are many ways that you can integrate green living into your everyday life. They say, everything begins at home. This gem of truth also holds true in green living practices.

To implement eco friendly practices, it is best to start small. Start within yourself. The examples you show will rub on to others and before long, green living is no longer a distant reality but a pulsating truth.

 Household Products

When you use energy efficient appliances and lights in your home you can make a significant impact on the environment. You may even influence other people and their households and when most households make use of these energy efficient materials then it will not be long that carbon emission and other problems associated with fossil fuel will be greatly reduced.

Energy Efficient Lights

Lit Energy efficient light bulb in a group of old light bulbsOne great example of an energy efficient product that you can use is the light emitting diode or LED. Using LED lights can be very advantageous to your home. This lighting technology is highly energy-efficient and it can last an extremely long time. LED bulbs have an extended life of around 40,000 hours which is way longer compared to ordinary light bulbs and incandescent, halogen or even florescent lamps.

Technological advancements introduced made LED even more efficient as it can now emit higher wattage of light without increasing its energy use. Also, the lifespan of an average LED bulb also increased in the process.

 Solar energy

Another great option that you can harness in your household. It provides energy for your homes using sunlight. Perhaps, you could consider the most popular solar technology use nowadays which is the photovoltaic system or PV. This technology makes use of PV solar panels. The panels are mostly made up of silicon materials that can convert sunlight to electricity. For every 100 square feet of PVsolar panel, around 1kW of electricity is produced.

A 1.5kW PV panel can produce 7.3kWh of power. The ordinary household requires 20.5kWh of electricity everyday. This means a third of your electricity needs in the household are provided by the PV. It would also help if your family makes use of energy efficient appliances such as air conditioner, washer and heater to extend the use of PV.

When you use PV panels, you save the environment 1 ton of carbon emissions per year. A regular PV can last 25 years. This means, you save 25 tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the environment.

You can also incorporate other energy efficient practices in the household such as minimizing the use of lights, use of low wattage appliances and utilizing toilets with low flush to conserve water. In addition drying clothes by hanging them under the sun, turning off the computer when not in use, walking or cycling to work, using a carpool, taking 2 minute showers and wearing appropriate clothing for the climate can all make a positive difference.

What about green living food?

ORGANIC PRODUCEYour food intake also matters. Processed animal products make use of fossil fuel and water to produce. According to studies, a pound of beef requires 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of water to produce. In comparison, if you eat more fruits and vegetables you reduce water consumption let alone potentially improve your health and prevent diseases. In addition if you choose organic or biodynamic foods you will be contributing to more sustainable agriculture.


Aside from using energy efficient products, another option for green living that you can adopt is recycling.

Recycling means converting waste products to new products. For instance, plastic garbage is recycled into bags. Thrown water bottles can be made into a Christmas tree.

Recycling helps the environment in a number of ways. It minimizes the need for landfills. It can also reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions ie the manufacturing of plastic requires the use of fossil fuel energy which emits CO2.

It also saves other resources. For instance, recycling paper can save the trees. Trees are used to manufacture paper. If paper is recycled some trees are spared from being harvested and cut down.

Each of us can make a difference. If we all work together to attain the same end, we will get there faster. Global warming, climate change and other adverse effects of carbon emissions are all harsh realities that may confront us. By doing our share, we can create great impacts to the environment at the same time provide a sustainable and secure place for future generations.

Sustainable living is about you making a conscious choice to shift to more eco-friendly practices. You can make a difference to the environment. Everyone can!

Toxic Chemicals In the Home – Is Your Home A Health Hazard?

green-cleaning 2Cleanliness is next to Godliness, right? That’s why we like to keep our households sparkling fresh and clean.

Plain soap, water and elbow grease were the traditional cleaning agents of yore but these days cleaning and personal products have trendier names, fancier packaging and are often detrimental to our health.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that cleaning product labels contain information on toxicity and poison control where warranted, it doesn’t require manufacturers to post their material data safety sheets. In most cases, you won’t know what chemicals are in the products you use on a daily basis unless you take the time to track them down.

The Corporate giants who profit from manufacturing the toxins that impact on your health and that are now ubiquitous in your home and just about anywhere and everywhere you go in everyday life will not volunteer any more information than they are required to by law.

slowdeathbyrubberduckIn their book “Slow Death By Rubber Duck“, leading environmentalists, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie expose the hidden and harmful dangers that we have become exposed to in the toxic world that we now live in. Canada has been leading the charge in many ways with addressing the issues of the excessive amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday life.  In particular Canada has taken decisive action in relationship to BPA in products.

If you want to identify, better understand and eliminate the effects of the numerous toxins impacting on your health and the environment this is a must read for you.

Common Toxins in Your Kitchen and Bathroom

Here’s a short list of the toxic chemicals that you can come into contact with every day:

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is an ingredient found in leading brand baby bottles, epoxy glue and lubricants used for auto and household maintenance is a known hormone disruptor. Through numerous scientific research studies it is also believed that rising levels of BPA can be linked to increases in breast and prostate cancer, metabolic disorders and behavioral problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. BPA is not friendly for anyone of any age or gender. Think about that plastic water bottle you drink from?

kordeltawaterbottleThere are now BPA free products available including baby bottles and water bottles without BPA.  Follow Canada’s lead and make sure baby bottles are BPA free. We love the Kor Delta BPA free hydration vessel that is not only good for your health, it is also very stylish and comes in a great choice of colors.  We also love this product from Kor because the company donates a minimum of 1% of sales to water -related causes around the globe. There is even a great surprise under the lid every time you take a drink.

Sodium hypochlorite a/k/a chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach is the active ingredient in a host of household cleaners, mold and mildew removers and oven cleaners. When mixed with ammonia – a common ingredient in other household products – chlorine bleach products produce toxic chlorine gas.

Phenol and cresol

An ingredient used in disinfectant cleaners, dishwashing liquids and pre-wash stain removers. If swallowed, these chemicals can cause diarrhea, dizziness and fainting, or – in the worst cases – liver and kidney damage.


An ingredient used as a preservative in liquid detergents, laundry detergents, fabric wrinkle removers, particleboard furniture and building materials and cosmetics. Studies have linked formaldehyde to leukemia and other forms of cancer. Even at low levels of exposure, formaldehyde can irritate the eyes, throat, skin and lungs.


An ingredient found in household cleaners, window cleaners, paint strippers and various forms of metal polish. Exposure to even low levels of ammonia can cause skin and eye irritation; exposure to high levels of ammonia can cause severe burns and pulmonary edema.


TUNA MEAT IN A CANMercury can be found around your home, in your food and in the environment including in water.

Of considerable concern are the high levels of mercury in fish. Recommended as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, fish has become a popular dish on many menus and diets around the world.  If you are a sushi lover, eat tuna or you are pregnant reducing the amount of high-mercury fish in your diet is advised.

Around the home you can also find mercury in thermometers used to assess fevers and in cooking to check the temperature of candy, meat and oil for deep-frying. Mercury can also be found in fluorescent lights although to a lesser degree than a decade ago and in those old-fashioned temperature gauges attached to signs that many people collect as antiques.

Once released into the environment, mercury enters the food chain through water pollution from whence it causes neurological damage in all vertebrates including humans.

A 2003 study found that 8 percent of American women have blood mercury levels that have been deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) According to the World Health Organization, however there is no safe limit on the amount of mercury in your body.

Prolonged exposure to or unsafe levels of mercury can affect liver and thyroid function, cause tremors, memory loss irritability and disturbances to vision.

In February 2009 at the end of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Council meeting in Nairobi an agreement was made by environment ministers for a global crackdown on mercury.

The decision taken by over 140 countries was a turning point that would lift a major health threat for hundreds of millions of people. With a significant risk to the environment as well as human health a voluntary Global Mercury Partnership was decided upon while the negotiations and final agreements for an international mercury treaty could be finalized.

Since 2009 several more events have been held with a 2013 goal to have
the regulation of the use and emissions of mercury in a new global legally binding instrument.

Top Household Cleaning Hazards

TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTSChemical cleaning products are supposed to make our lives easier by cutting down on the effort involved in keeping a tidy home. Many of these products carry significant health risks and threaten our environment.

What is more important, your health and the environment or a get clean quick method that is harmful to your health and the environment?

Carpet/Upholstery Shampoo

It takes a lot of chemicals to get spilled coffee off the white sofa; among them are perchlorethylene – a known carcinogen, extremely toxic to liver functioning – and ammonium hydroxide, a weak ammonia solution that’s also been linked to cancer.

Furniture Polishes

Furniture polishes make great use of petroleum distillate, phenols and nitrobenzene.

In addition to being extremely flammable, petroleum distillates are potential carcinogens, linked in particular to skin and lung cancers. Phenols cause edema, hives, rashes and burning when it comes in contact with your skin and when ingested phenols can cause circulatory collapse and coma.

Nitrobenzene poisoning typically occurs through inhalation of toxic fumes. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, cyanosis and in extreme cases, circulatory and respiratory collapse.

Air Fresheners

You didn’t think those air fresheners worked by pumping out all the unpleasant smells in your house and replacing them with fresh, sweet-scented air, did you? No, they work by coating the inside of your nose with a chemical residue. That residue contains phenols and formaldehyde.

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

The active ingredient in many toilet bowl cleaners is hydrochloric acid, an extremely corrosive substance that can cause pulmonary edema, permanent kidney and liver damage, and even coma and death if ingested; and severe burns if splashed accidently on the skin. Some toilet bowl cleaners also contain oxalic acid whose fumes cause pulmonary edema and which interferes with the absorption of calcium if ingested.

Drain Cleaners

Most drain cleaners are a cocktail of lye and hydrochloric acid. Sometimes trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCE) is used as a solvent. Trichloroethane is occasionally used recreationally by teenagers looking for a high; death is associated with central nervous system depression and cardiac arrhythmias.

Lye is the common name for chemical sodium hydroxide, an extremely caustic, alkaline chemical that causes severe eye irritation and burns, and, when mixed with water, creates an exothermic reaction.


Dangerous when mixed with ammonia (see above) and an extremely caustic corrosive on its own, bleach has the potential to cause pulmonary edema and coma.

Dishwasher Detergents

Poison centers across the United States cite dishwasher detergents as the number one cause of accidental poisonings in children under the age of six.

Dishwashing detergent powders commonly contain highly concentrated amounts of dry chlorine. They may also contain phosphates that have a deleterious effect on the environment, causing the unchecked proliferation of algae in lakes and other standing bodies of water.

Even after the rinsing cycle is through, the compounds in dishwashing detergent leave a potentially carcinogenic chemical residue on the plates and utensils we use to eat.

Mold/Mildew Cleaners

A veritable smorgasboard of toxins that include formaldehyde, lye, chlorine bleach and assorted chemical fragrances.

Safe and Healthy Options

seventh-generation-cleanerThe dangers of using most commercial cleaning products are very real. Fortunately, many safe and effective products are now available that won’t harm our babies, infants, children, seniors, pets, planet or us.

You can reduce the chemical burden in your home with a variety of low cost methods by simply buying more natural products that don’t contain the harmful chemicals.

There are many different guides available so you can educate yourself and have handy the information you need to make a safer decision for yourself and your family.

Stop using the hazardous chemicals to get rid of household pests like cockroaches or flies. There are many different aromatherapy oils like bergamot and lavender when used the right way can prevent and help to eliminate some common household pests.

Other Poisons In Your Home

Of course cleaning products are far from the only chemical toxins found in your home. To some degree, we expect to find pesticides and other chemicals in our landscaping and gardening products.

Chlordane and dieldran are no longer sold as insecticides for everyday use, but they’re still used for industrial agriculture. Poisoning may occur through the ingestion of contaminated root crops, meats, fish, and shellfish.

Mercury may be found in many brands of charcoal used for barbecuing. But still – wouldn’t we be more comfortable if we chose to garden and barbecue with chemical-free alternatives?

Until two decades ago, lead was also a common ingredient in most paints and especially in older houses, still presents a serious health hazard particularly to children.

What about the family pets? Pity the poor dog whose toys, pet bed, collar and leashes are contaminated with lead, mercury, chlorine (PVC), bromine and arsenic.

Children and Chemicals

Children under the age of six are one of the two groups most vulnerable to toxic chemicals in the home. Exposure begins before birth.

A 2009 study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found over 280 toxic chemicals in the cord blood of ten newborns. Children’s metabolisms are much faster than adults, so they absorb common poisons more quickly. Furthermore, their still developing organs are more susceptible to chemical damage. Household cleaners that are kept in an unlocked cabinet underneath the sink are the perfect height for a curious toddler to investigate.

A report issued in 1989 by the U.S. House of Representatives found that the most common cause of poisoning in the home in children under the age of six is liquid dish soap, which is liberally laced with formaldehyde and ammonia.

Although most cleaning products emblazon the warning KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN in big, bold letters on the label, in 2006 ingesting common household cleaning products injured nearly 12,000 children. Three-quarters of these cases were children under the age of two. The number one culprit? Sodium hypochlorite or bleach.

The Elderly

Like children under six, the elderly are most likely to spend more time in the home that means they are at greater risk of exposure to environmental chemicals. Their metabolisms, and physiological and biochemical processes are slowing down and their organ systems may be showing signs of compromise.

With functional changes in their eyesight and nervous systems, the elderly may misread labels or become confused among similarly packaged products.

Seniors are most at risk for carbon monoxide inhalation and accidental poisoning involving pesticides.

Unless someone living in your home is severely immunocompromised, you don’t actually need that antibacterial scrub with the fancy label – plain vegetable soap, water and elbow grease will do the trick just as they’ve been doing it for many years.



Eco Friendly Furnishings – Enhancing Your Home Naturally

CARBON FOOTPRINT 2Celebrities are doing it, politicians are doing it and your neighbors are probably doing it!

Choosing eco-friendly furnishings for your home is fast becoming the zeitgeist of this decade and beyond. If you are considering becoming an eco-conscious homeowner or tenant there is a wealth of resourceful information available to enable you to create the green design and lifestyle that you are looking for.

You can buy everything from all your furnishing needs including, tableware, clocks, linen, candles, cushions, curtains and natural area rugs made from natural, sustainable, and non-toxic materials and that’s got to be good for you and the environment.

From the bedroom to the bathroom there is a wide range of products made from natural materials including organic cotton, natural latex, seagrass, pure wool, jute, beeswax, hemp, bamboo and sustainable timbers.

Seagrass rugs are environmentally friendly because they do not contain formaldehyde and are very strong and durable making them an affordable option for any budget and a healthier choice for your home or office.

One of the fastest growing in popularity and most renewable resources is Bamboo. Available in the marketplace today is an extensive range of beautifully crafted items for your home including chopping boards, bowels, utensils, plates salad servers and of course beautiful bamboo rugs.

Bamboo, unlike other hardwoods does not swell or shrink as it absorbs little moisture and it is harder than maple and very durable so it will have a longer life span in your home. If you are not replacing items as frequently that will be a saving for your pocket book and the environment.

To shed some light on your planet friendly dining, home office or bedroom you can choose energy-efficient natural lighting to create your own special ambience. Placement of your lighting can also increase the effective output and choosing LED lamps will reduce energy consumption because they use less energy than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs and unlike fluorescent bulbs LED light bulbs don’t contain mercury vapor.

In addition, natural beeswax or soy candles can create that special ambience in the home, save on energy and are also available in a scented range with many being made from natural aromatherapy oils. Many of the candles currently on the market are made with synthetic wax and are cut with a considerable and concerning amount of petroleum-derived oil creating toxic fumes when burned.

The eco friendly home furnishings and now plentiful with so many innovative products available across all budgets and with many available online you don’t even have to get into the car to buy them. Now that’s eco friendly!

If you really want to be kind to yourself, family, friends and the environment you can keep up with the latest trends and fashion and win points for your support for the environment when you choose eco friendly furnishings.

Decorating In Eco Friendly Style – It’s Chic to be Green!

GREEN LIVINGGreen, green and more green! If you think that going green and being environmentally friendly in the home is a lot of hype about a short lived craze then think again.

With the media still feasting on the effects of the global economic crisis and the threats surrounding climate change going green and moving towards more eco friendly, sustainable homes and lifestyles is not simply a luxury fad for the rich and famous.

So what does it really mean to decorate your home or even office in eco friendly style and what are some of the benefits?

First and foremost, you need to educate yourself and become aware of the important issues and the options that are available. Think about using less non-renewable resources and that will also be less taxing on energy and water then you will be decorating with sustainability in mind and in many cases contrary to what you may believe your green design may be more affordable than you think.

I am sure many of you would like to think of yourself as having altruistic motives but let’s face it, who doesn’t want better health for themselves and if you didn’t already know reporting your eco-friendly improvements on your annual taxes could get you some benefits. Talk to your tax adviser for more information about any tax breaks related to eco-friendly choices in the home.

If you do have altruistic motives then the most obvious and greatest benefit after your own health and wellbeing is of course the bigger picture benefit to the environment and the global population. So let’s act local and think global and get on with our decorating project.

If you do have budget constraints then Shabby Chic may be the style for you. You don’t have to buy everything new with the Salvation Army and Goodwill offering old favorites at affordable prices and you will be surprised at what a can of eco friendly paint can do for your pre-loved furniture. Another option is the local wood salvage yards where you can buy reclaimed lumber to make your own furniture.

If you are concerned that you will have to wade through a quagmire of seemingly green friendly stores to find what you are looking for contact your local office of the U.S. Green Building Council to find the locations of the green stores in your area.

If health and wellbeing is your number one priority then you need to be considering the materials used in your home including floor coverings because carpet can off-gas formaldehyde which has even been attributed as a cause of cancer. There are safer options for floor covering with natural area rugs made from sisal, wool, jute, seagrass and hemp that provide very affordable options.

For those on more of a champagne style of decorating budget you will find just about anything and everything you want from eco friendly designer lighting to designer flooring.  Persian rugs can be a great eco friendly choice for flooring as many of the original and traditional rugs are made from natural fibers and colored with natural vegetable dyes.

Decorating in eco friendly style can make a positive difference for you and the environment!

Eco Friendly Cleaning Materials – Keeping Your Home Clean and Green

If you are concerned for the wellbeing of the environment, your loved ones, extended family and friends choosing to eliminate mainstream cleaners from your home and switch to more natural products may significantly improve your health and the health of the planet.

If you consider yourself to be “an average American” then chances are you are probably using about 25 gallons of toxic and hazardous chemical products in your home each year most of which will be in your household cleaning products. And to add a really scary component to that, more than 50,000 chemicals have entered the market since the 1970’s and by comparison many have not even been tested.

There are a myriad of reasons to switch to more natural, non-toxic cleaning products. In addition to being biodegradable most of these products are also very concentrated which means that you can use a lot less and not only save money for yourself that also means less waste, potentially less shipping and often less packaging. All this will also be a great saving for the environment.

If you are sensitive to harsh fumes, have sensitive skin or other allergies you can use a wide range of products from the kitchen to the bathroom that will keep you and your home clean and green and many of the more natural products will even outperform the traditional alternatives. Many of the ingredients used in the more eco-friendly products also contain ingredients such as vitamin E and aloe vera that can moisturize, smooth and even protect the skin making them very safe for humans including babies, children and even the family pooch.

For those of us who are not environmental scientists wading through the quagmire of information can be quite daunting. Whether you are choosing laundry powder, spray and wipe all purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquids, furniture polish, carpet cleaners, bathroom or furniture cleaners and even your shampoo read the label and check for the following information on the product label;

Free of artificial fragrances, preservatives, colors, phosphates and chlorine, chemical free, non-toxic, no petroleum by products, solvents, fillers or thickeners. The product label may also advise that every ingredient is renewable and Earth friendly with some companies extending their philosophy to a shift in their supply chains to Fair Trade ingredients. The Fair Trade movement has proven to make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of farmers and workers around the world.

You can make a difference to your own personal environment and the global picture by buying from companies that produce household and personal cleaning products made from eco-friendly, renewable ingredients and if possible with a Fair Trade stamp to add that extra benefit.

Persian Rugs – A Valuable Investment to Enrich Your Home

Sarouk_218For thousands of years, the term “Persian carpet” has been synonymous with beauty, mystery and magic. Persian carpets are possibly the most highly prized of all carpets, renowned throughout the world for their attractiveness, their high quality craftsmanship and their durability.

What Is a Persian Rug?

Persian carpets are carpets and rugs that have been manufactured in the part of the world now known as Iran. Seventy-five percent of the world’s handmade carpets come from Iran, and carpets are that nation’s largest non-petroleum export item. Approximately 1.2 million Persian weavers live and work inside Iran today.

Modern Persian rugs are most often made from wool. In traditional societies, however, a Persian rug might be made from wool or cotton or even silk if the customer could afford it. The knot count of traditional rugs was just as important as the materials the rug was made of. The knot count of modern Persian carpets varies between 16 to 800 knots per inch depending upon the materials and the skill of the weavers, but it was not uncommon for antique Persian rugs and silk carpet to have a knot count as high as 1,000 knots per inch.

Weaving a Persian rug by hand is a complicated process that employs a loom and often takes place over many months. Persian Oriental weavers employ a number of different rectilinear and curvilinear designs that have often been handed down within families for centuries although today’s weavers are likely to use sophisticated CAD software to plot their designs before they commence the weaving process.

How Did Persian Rugs Originate?

Carpets are made from perishable materials like wool, cotton and silk that deteriorate relatively quickly, so there are not many examples of carpet-weaving from the earliest times. The oldest Persian-style carpet on record was discovered in 1949 in the tomb of a Scythian prince in Siberia’s Pazyryk Valley. Carbon dating reveals the Pazyryk carpet dates from the 5th century BC. It is exceptionally well preserved and well made, indicating a sophisticated carpet-making tradition that goes back at least a thousand years. Many archeologists believe the Pazyryk carpet actually originated in Persia.

Cyrus the Great is widely credited with introducing the art of carpet making into Persia in 529 BC, following his conquest of Babylon where carpet making flourished. By the Islamic conquests of the 7th century AD, Persia was renowned for its carpets, and Persian cities paid their annual caliphate taxes in carpets. Smaller hand woven rugs became increasingly popular as prayer mats.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Oriental rugs in general and the Persian carpet in particular became phenomenally popular all throughout Western Europe.

Are All Oriental Rugs Persian?

Among some people, the phrase “Persian rug” has become a generic term used incorrectly to describe Oriental rugs that come from Turkey and other parts of Western Asia (the Middle East.) In addition to the geographical difference in point of origin, however, there are also slight differences in the way these two types of carpets are created: Persian carpets are tied with a single looping knot while Turkish carpets use a double looping knot.

What makes a Persian Rug “Antique?”

antique-sarouk_225The oldest existing antique Oriental rugs from Iran date back to the 16th century Safavid Dynasty in Persia. An antique Persian carpet, however, is considered to be one that was made before the use of synthetic aniline dyes became standard practice. Synthetic dyes began to replace natural vegetable and mineral dyes around 1930.

Rugs that have been made before the 1930’s can be considered an antique. Rugs that were made during the 1930’s – 1940’s are classified as semi-antique and old if the rugs were made during the 1950’s.  If you are purchasing a rug that was made after the 1960’s it will be classified as new.

What Is the Historical Significance of Antique Persian Rugs?

Antique Persian rugs were used both as furnishings and as decor by every class of citizen in traditional Persia from nomads to clerics to potentates. Antique Persian tribal rugs and carpet designs typically showcase design motifs from the regions where they originated.

Antique Persian rugs are both works of art and an investment, similar to paintings. Unlike paintings, however, whose value depends upon the reputation of an artist that can rise or fall over time, the value of an antique Persian carpet as a commodity always continues to appreciate. In June 2013, Sotheby’s sold a 17th century Kirman vase rug from southern Persia with a sickle-leaf, vine scroll and palmette design for $33.765 million.

The most famous of all Persian carpets are the two Ardebil Carpets, Tabriz-style rugs that originally lay on the floors of a mosque in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Ardabil. These carpets were sold to a British rug dealer in 1890 who used them as a template to create endless copies. Interestingly enough, during World War II, copies of the Ardebil Carpets lay on both the floors of 10 Downing Street and Hitler’s office.

Are there Different Kinds of Persian Rugs?

qum_202Iranian carpets are classified according to size. Farsh or Qāli are living room rugs, sized 6 X 4 feet and larger. A Qālicheh is what might be called a Persian area rug, measuring 6 X 4 feet or smaller. Gelim are the pile rugs and flat weave kilims that originated as prayer rugs.

Geography is another means of distinguishing types of rugs:
Gabbeh rugs: Gabbeh are coarse pile rugs that originated traditionally in Persia’s mountainous Zagros area.
Qum rugs: Qum rugs come from the city of Qom, one of the holiest cities in the Shi’a Islam tradition, known for centuries as a center for high end silk carpet production.
Tabriz rugs: Tabriz rugs are manufactured in the northern Iranian city of Tabriz, which has been a carpet manufacturing center since the 12th century.
Shiraz rugs: Shiraz rugs are woven by tribal weavers near the village of Shiraz in the southwestern part of Iran.
Sarouk rugs: Sarouk rugs (sometimes called Sarough rugs), the most popular Iranian carpets among Western consumers, are manufactured in the countryside outside the city of Arak. They’re distinguished by their traditional floral motifs and their bright blue, red and pink colors.

Are Antique Persian Rugs Considered Environmentally Friendly?

Antique Persian rugs may be considered eco-friendly because they are made by hand from natural, sustainable vegetable and animal fibers like wool, cotton and silk. Antique Persian rugs also used natural dyes derived from plants, insects and minerals to dye these fibers.

How Did Persian Rug Makers Get Their Dyes?

The precise formula of the dyes that Persian carpet makers used to color their wool and other fibers were closely guarded secrets for centuries. They were generally derived from plant bases, crushed insects and mineral preparations.

The most popular hue for carpets was a red dye extracted from the root of the madder plant, also called Rubia tinctorum which grows wild outside Tehran and Yazd. The exact shade of red varied according to the alkalinity of the mordant and other substances, such yogurt and grape juice.

Another popular shade for traditional Persian carpets was blue, which was derived from the leaves of the indigo plant. Indigo did not grow wild in Persia and had to be imported from India, which accounts for the relative rarity of blue shades in Persian antique rugs.

Where Can I Buy Persian Rugs?

For years, the only place consumers could buy designer rugs and high quality carpet from Persia/Iran was through specialty rug or carpet stores or on trips when they traveled abroad to Iran.

These days with a myriad of beautiful  Persian carpets to choose from it is easy to buy high quality Persian rugs online at competitive prices. When you’re buying online you will be able to see photographs of the rugs you are looking at buying.

Persian rugs can be a beautiful enhancement to your home decor and a valuable investment that will last through time.

Is a Persian Rug a Good Investment for My Home?

Persian carpets, carpet runners and stair runners can be an excellent investment for your home.  In addition to the monetary value of your Persian rug you will be owning a piece of history and enhancing the decor of your home or even office environment. It is important to note that a machine woven rug does not carry the same value as an investment in hand woven rugs, hand knotted rugs or antique decorative rugs. Your carpet’s age, size, knot density, condition, whether it is made from hand spun or machine spun fibers, and whether it is crafted from aniline or natural dyes, will all determine the market value of your colorful rugs in the years to come.


Sarough Rugs

brilliant-sarouk_225Situated near Arak in west-central Iran, the village of Sarough is an important historic center with an esteemed name in carpet weaving for the well sought after Sarough rugs well known for supplying the demand of the American market particularly from the 1920’s -1930.

Also known as Saruq and Sarouk the village of Sarough is considered to be a very significant village for rug weaving with it’s much sought after antique masterpieces produced prior to 1900. With the impressive craftsmanship of the artisans and the high quality of the materials found in the antique rugs they have caught the attention of private collectors and museums alike.

Sarouk (also Sarough or Saruk) premium rugs are typically made with a cotton foundation and a pile of high quality vegetable dyed wool with the occasional use of a wool-silk mixture and even some goat hair can be found in the foundation at times. Using hand-spun wool from their sheep the weavers use the Persian asymmetrical knot and weave patterns in bold reds, burgundy and navy in striking designs including floral vines and curvilinear to make the sought after rugs ranging in size from mid to large. The Sarouk rugs are also recognized for their coral background and their durability to hold up through decades of wear.

Whether you are buying a Sarouk rug for the love of it or for an investment, the old Sarouk rugs have seemingly held their value through time and are on the best seller list for Persian rugs.

These talented weavers can be found creating the Sarouk rugs in workshop environments and the village and you can easily purchase your beautiful Sarouk rug online and have it shipped to you.


Hamadan Rugs – A Beautiful and Timeless Investment

hamadan_208Hamadan hand woven tribal rugs are produced in one of the several hundred villages in the Hamadan region.

One of the oldest cities in the world, the ancient and historic Persian city of Hamadan is situated in the rugged mountain area of north-western Iran, 300 kilometers west of Teheran. Although rug production does occur in the city of Hamadan, hence Hamadan rugs, fundamentally the town serves as a focal point of trading for all the other villages.  Some of the finest of the rugs are known and sold as Tuiserkan, Nahavand, Hosseinabad and Malayer with the other carpets being traded under the generic term Hamadan.

Producing a significant number of tribal rugs, the rugs from the Hamadan area are all handmade and are considered to last for extended periods of time largely due to the wool being spun from the more resilient sheep that populate the higher and therefore cooler altitudes. Silk is rarely seen in this region. Historically, before 1920, the carpets were tied on a wool warp, however, these days the carpets are all made on a cotton warp with one weft.

Modern-day rugs are colored with natural vegetable dyes with a myriad of colors from bold reds, yellows, rust, blue and green, to the more subdued colors of beige and salmon although generally the more contemporary Hamadans feature dark and strong colors. Soft brown colors from undyed camel hair can be found on older pieces from the region and today you will find carpets made after 1960 have a less fine wool and are frequently made with synthetic colors.

Many of the rug designs from the Hamadan area are strikingly geometric, also featuring floral, small animal and the well-known Herati designs. Hamadan rugs can also be found in a variety of sizes including very attractive area runners. Zaronim and Dozar measuring approximately 150x100cm and 200x120cm are the most common sizes.

Caroline Bosly author of “Rugs to Riches”, consider Hamadans to be a good investment for an antique rug and one that appears to increase in value with years.  You can still find a beautiful Hamadan at an affordable price. If it is not so important to own an antique you can also buy Hamadans that were made after the 1930’s at even more affordable prices.

In addition to owning one of these beautiful works of art for yourself an easy online purchase with shipping can make a gift with a difference for that special person in your life.

History of Hamadan Rugs

Hamadan rugs are carpets made in the foothills of Alvand Mountain, a peak in north central Iran that rises 1,850 meters above sea level. These carpets are known for their durability because the sheep from whose wool these carpets are woven have unusually thick fleece to keep them warm at high altitudes.

Where Do Hamadan Rugs Come From?

Three hundred kilometers west of Teheran lies the city of Hamadan, a metropolis so ancient that it’s mentioned both in the histories of Herodotus as well as in the Old Testament under its one-time name Ekbatana. The towns and villages surrounding Hamadan are famous for handicrafts that include ceramics, leather and Persian rugs.

Hamadan rugs are distinguished by their distinctive color palettes, which are dominated by indigo blue and bright red hexagonal or diamond-shaped design elements on ivory, red, blue or brown backgrounds. Design elements include geometric figures, floral designs, jagged lines and hooks. High end Hamadan carpets are manufactured from handspun yarns that have been tinted with natural dyes.

Older Hamadan rugs may frequently contain camel hair as well as sheep and goat wool. Silk is almost never seen in this type of Persian carpet although occasionally cotton threads may be incorporated into the rugs’ foundations.

What Is the Historical Feature of the Region?

Hamadan lies at the foot of a mountain pass that was part of the fabled Silk Road in ancient times. The city’s strategic location made it an attractive target for foreign invasions.

In the 11th century, Hamadan briefly became the capital of the Seljuq Empire. Though the city was all but destroyed three centuries later by the Mongol conqueror Timur, by the 17th century, it had risen again. During World War I, Hamadan was the scene of fierce battles between Russian forces and their Turkish and German enemies.

Are There Different Styles of Hamadan Rugs?

There are approximately 1,500 villages outside of Hamadan, each of which has its own characteristic style of carpet-weaving. Many villages specialize in producing two or more styles. Experts at the industry magazine “Rug News” estimate that there may be as many as 3,000 distinct Hamadan designs. Some of the best known designs are:

• Bibikabad: Bibikabad carpets are distinguished by the relative thickness of their wool, which makes these rugs more durable than other Hamadans. Their most common design element is a motif called the Herati, which incorporates floral forms within a diamond.
• Ingelas: Ingelas is a village to the southeast of Hamadan that was originally settled by Turkish immigrants to the area. Ingelas rugs use cotton warp and weft threads.
• Borchelus: Borchelus carpets come from the villages on the eastern side of Hamadan. Typically, they feature a central medallion on an ivory background. This medallion is often repeated on the four corners of the carpet.
• Dergazine
• Kabutarhang
• Husianabad

Are Hamadan Rugs Still Being Made in the Traditional Way in the Region?

Even today, many Hamadan rugs continue to be woven in the traditional manner by hand, although cotton is more often used for the warp and weft threads than it was several centuries ago. The carpets are still colored in the traditional manner with vegetable dyes.

Hamadan rugs are a good investment because of their durability and striking design. With proper care, your Hamadan rug will provide you with enjoyment for many years to come.