Persian rugs worth the investment

[attach]4452[/attach]Chinese lamps balanced on top of Indian tables, English Royal Doulton figurines behind glass-screen cabinets, French paintings on the walls, Turkish and Serbian ornaments placed meticulously inside shelves. Such is the ambience within the walls of Mira Mitrovic’s East York condo.

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Mitrovic was later raised in England and France before immigrating to Canada. She spent much of her time voyaging through parts of Europe and Asia. Undoubtedly, her travels have influenced her taste in furnishings.

Walk barefoot through her home and you’ll come in contact with her favourite adornments — Mitrovic’s collection of hand-made Persian rugs.

She originally set out to buy rugs because her new condo has hardwood floors so she wanted something both exciting and practical. After one visit to her local rug store, she was enchanted.

“I love them,” says Mitrovic, her eyes zoning into the maroon and blue hexagonal designs on the small Baluchi Persian rug in her hallway. “And I don’t have to worry about these rugs looking weird with my upholstered furniture because they pretty much go with everything.”

Despite being a recent collector of Persian rugs, Mitrovic’s familiarity with them dates back to her days in Europe, where she’d occasionally spot their familiar geometrical designs when visiting a family member’s home.

“It’s amazing how times have changed. They used to be so expensive,” Mitrovic says, “They come pretty cheap now.”

[attach]4453[/attach]Mitrovic says that a few decades ago, the average price for a Persian rug was in the thousands. Today, people can find them for a few hundred.

Her biggest purchase is the large, two by three metres, Bijar Persian rug on her living room floor — worth approximately $1,300.

“It’s an investment, but it’s absolutely worth it,” she says, pointing to the dark geometrical reds and blues mixed with an intricate floral pattern.

“These rugs are extremely resilient,” she says. “You can buy carpets of other quality for much less money but they look awful to begin with and they don’t last that long. These rugs are beautiful and they last for 300 years if you take care of them.”

Mitrovic points out that taking care of your Persian rugs doesn’t mean having to change your lifestyle as the presence of Mitrovic’s canine companion, a tiny dark Shih Tzu with unsurprisingly enough, a Persian name — Mi-Shah, would attest.

“If he spits a treat out or something, it’s easy to clean off in these carpets,” she says. “Nothing I can’t remove with cloth and some water.”

The fact that all her rugs are wool also helps in the cleanliness and longevity department.

“Wool is especially good for people with pets,” says Nima Kamranpour, owner of Pealac, a store on Broadview Avenue that specializes in carpets, rugs and custom-made designs. “It has more pile than silk. The more pile the carpet has, the longer it lasts.”

When it comes to Persian rugs, Kamranpour finds that there are a few routes to go and it all depends on a person’s situation and taste. Shall it be wool, silk or a combination of both?

“For floors, you definitely don’t want a silk carpet because silk wears out faster on traffic,” he says. “I would suggest wool for floors and silk for wall decorations.”

Emerging from generations of Iranian carpet-makers, Kamranpour admits that even to the most trained eye, it can be difficult at times to differentiate an authentic Persian rug from a great imitation.

“Turkey, Pakistan, India … Lots of countries do amazing imitations of Persian rugs,” he says. “In Toronto, you have to trust the salesperson because sometimes they’ll present a rug to you and they won’t say that it’s Persian, but since the design is similar, you might immediately just assume it is. So be sure they say it’s Persian, made in Iran.”

When inquiring into the value of Mitrovic’s rugs, Kamranpour suggests examining the density.

“Persian rugs are more dense than imitations,” he says. “Usually the more dense it is, the less damage there’ll be. And if it’s dense enough you’ll definitely get a better price for it if you ever wish to sell it or exchange it for another rug.”

However, it might be difficult to convince Mitrovic to part with her favourite rug which lies in her den — a Baluchi Persian with a black and red octagonal pattern, much akin to Aboriginal Canadian motifs.

“All of my friends like my rugs and ask about them,” Mitrovic says, “But what’s important is that I like them. Otherwise, they would have no place here in my home.”