Re: Dating by eyeballing a dye

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Posted by Sam Gorden on June 21, 1999 at 23:11:23:

In Reply to: Re: Dating by eyeballing a dye posted by Sam Gorden on June 21, 1999 at 21:40:50:

: : I had an interesting correspondence with George (O'Bannon)a few years back that was published in ORR. I thought a rug was old because of the fineness of materials and my judgement of the dyes. George thought it was 100 years newer based on what he had seen in the markets in Afghanistan. When I had a dye expert look at the rug, he estimated - without testing - that all the dyes were synthetic.
Believe me, there were some bright pinks es that can not tell synthetic from natural. Therefore, I submit that dating a rug by it's colors is inaccurate. The best we can do is to learn that certain colors are associated with older pieces and hope that the color we are observing is the same as the one we "know". For example, certain shades of green appear in old Ersari rugs; the old comes from a host of criteria - not just the "green". But one learns that that green is only seen in the old pieces, so we accept that color as natural and defining of an old piece. Color alone is not adequate. Regards, Marvin

The question of whether a dye is natural or synthetic reminded me of an incident which occurred in my rug club in Vienna. We had obtained as a speaker an expert on dye chemistry. After he had imparted his knowledge and experience to our members, the time was ripe for questions. I asked him "How could one distinguish between natural and synthetic dye colors?" Our expert replied, unabashed, "The answer is simple: "The natural dyes are beautiful and the synthetic are ugly." So much for science!


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