TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Glossed over
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  12-17-2001 on 01:43 p.m.
Dear Michael,

An importer of new rugs from Iran very recently told me that the high sheen of the wool in one particular line of new Persian rugs is the result of processing rather than the natural qualities of the wool itself. I was taken back a bit, as I have publicly praised these very expensive rugs in large part because of the superiority of the wool.

When I mentioned that the DOBAG rugs have nicely saturated colors but little gloss, he attributed that fact to the DOBAG rugs being less chemically “processed.”

Some Afghan rugs with Caucasian designs also have a sheen far greater than one would expect from their modest prices. Perhaps they and other groups of new rugs are processed so as to exaggerate the gloss of the wool. And maybe, just maybe, some distressed antique rugs have been subjected to something similar just before being placed in an auction.

I know one local dealer who sometimes rubs coconut oil into some rugs to “restore” the luster, but the chemical processing sounds quite different.

I recognize that I’m not giving solid information on which to base a reply, but what do you know of these processes that boost the sheen or gloss of wool? And what are the long term effects?


Subject  :  Re:Glossed over
Author  :  Michael Bischof mailto:%20koek@dv-kombinat.de
Date  :  12-17-2001 on 03:13 p.m.
Dear Wendel,

another example of how important it is to know all the details, as with wine. "All" means all, sensu strictu. About the particular pieces that You mention I have heard until now, hearsay.
DOBAG rugs have wool from daglic sheep which, in most cases, have less gloss and do not perform that good over the centuries as , for example, the wool from the Karaman sheep did. But if one would very carefully select from one herd, select then even more from the best vleeces one could still get great gloss as it is documented by few splendid early kilims from that area. Today it would make no sense.
The prices for modern rugs do not allow such a thing. But DOBAG rugs have an excellent quality-price ratio - and You buy what You see.
For sheen of the new, not used material DOBAG is not the champion but I insist on fair sport. One can compare them only with other new pieces if these are not "processed" stronger than DOBAGs.
Without processing it is possible to improve the sheen by selecting better wool (quite more expensive) and by carefully mixing it with Mohair (even more expensive ; another headache: one would need special machine combing which is not available below about 1 ton as the usual, established combing process limits the obtainable quality of the yarn a lot).
To go on with fair methods: dye the yarns saturated with natural dyes. Then use the piece, sit or lay on it constantly. The next days I hope to be able to show here examples for that.

When the price is moderate and the sheen astonishing the least unprobable thought is, of course , "pro-cessing". But let us be careful: without independant judgement (but who should bring that ?) no final word can be said.

To improve the sheen later:
- cheap synthetic fats , including Lanolin (contains 10% mineral oil based fat, paraffine)
- silicone - there is this joke of the well known Munich dealer whose moustache had an unusual amount
of sheen at the evening of the exhibition opening. Silicone is so strong that one can easily
make gray concrete get a sheen, using minimal amounts, but for a trained eye it has a kind
of wrong glance, like a .... polightness refrains me from going further
- natural means, wool fat alcohols, but these are difficult to apply. It needs access to very special
emulsion technology.

Yours sicerely

Michael Bischof

Subject  :  Re:Glossed over
Author  :  Stephen Louw mailto:%20slouw@global.co.za
Date  :  12-18-2001 on 04:07 p.m.
Dear Michael,
I find your account of wool, and of the DOBAG experience, fascinating. Can you tell us anything about the wools used by analogous Iranian outfits, for example, Zollenvari.

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