NEW YORK—When Stephen “Dusty” Roberts and Barry O’Connell get together, talk invariably turns to rugs. So it was inevitable that Roberts, a rug care industry personal coach, and O’Connell, a world-renowned Oriental rug expert, would draw upon their mutual passion and expertise to create the Great NYC RugLover Tour—and, following the tour, to pass on the insight they gained leading a group of rug enthusiasts through some of the city’s collections of antique, high-end rugs.
The recent tour took participants to New York’s most prestigious showrooms, including those of Hagop Manoyan and the Nazmiyal Collection; New York’s leading antique Oriental rug store, and were invited to a Christie’s auction preview with leading Washington rug dealer Mark Keshishian and America’s top rug scholar Peter Saunders. The tour concluded with a look at the city’s oldest rug cleaning company, Rug Renovating.
“The Great NYC RugLover Tour gave participants an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the antique and high-end collectible rug industry,” O’Connell said. “Our group came away with specialized knowledge and advice from the world’s rug experts.”
Among that knowledge: How to spot a high quality wool rug. Roberts and O’Connell offered some tips to help rug buyers get what they pay for:
1. All wool is not created equal. “Scratch the rug’s surface,” Roberts advised. “If a little wool comes off, that’s fine, but if a lot comes loose, move on.”
2. Look at the back. “If you can’t see the rug’s pattern on the back, it’s glued together and will have odor issues in the future,” Roberts said. Only buy a rug if you can see the pattern all the way through to the back.
3. Beware of false sales. A store regularly advertising going-out-of-business sales or discounts of 50% or more is pulling a fast one, O’Connell said.
Other rug sellers to avoid: traveling auctions and online auction sites. “Play it safe and buy from a dealer with a real storefront,” Roberts said.
“Having seen some of the world’s most exquisite rugs, our Great NYC RugLovers Tour participants have an advantage when it comes to helping their clients purchase rugs in the future,” O’Connell said. “They know what to look for. The average consumer doesn’t have that advantage, but by remembering these tips anyone can make a smart rug purchase.”
For additional information, call 250.686.7847 or visit imaruglover.com.