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There are a few things you need to consider before you go looking for a rug. How big? How many knots (thickness)? What colour and how much do you want to spend?

Remember with rugs, like anything, you get what you pay for. Mass-produced rugs are usually made from cheap, synthetic materials, which stain more readily and wear out sooner. Carpet making is one of the few crafts where hand-made beats machine manufactured every time.

The Tibetan rug makers have spent many centuries perfecting their craft using the coarse but soft wool fibres of mountain sheep, goats and yaks.

Choosing size: a good trick is to measure out the size using newspapers so that you can visualise how big (or small) a rug looks in position. Bigger is usually better when it comes to rugs – you’ll have it for generations so go for something that you can really enjoy and stretch out on. Leaving some surrounding area uncovered esp timber flooring not only displays your timber, slate, tiles, etc but it accentuates the rug, much the same as the frame chosen for a nice painting.

How many knots: The amount of knots per inch describes the thickness of the wool used in making the carpet. Each pair of threads is looped through a cotton base mat – the warp - then hand tied. Once the carpet is complete all the threads are trimmed by hand. Thicker wool means the rug sits more heavilyon the floor and is thicker – the trade off is that with fewer knots per inch designs are less detailed. The 100 knot rugs have more elaborate and detailed designs, are more lightweight and more likely to be used as wall hangings. Our rugs come in three knot densities: 60 knots per inch, 80 and 100 which result in rugs 15mm, 12mm and 10mm thick respectively.

What colour: Surprisingly, it’s easier than you think to find the right rug for you. There may seem too many to choose from in varying colours and patterns - from complex, traditional patterns to simple contemporary styles to fit the most modern décor. Tell Paul about your current or planned colour schemes, furnishings and settings and he can display for you various options. Some you may not have initially considered!

Complex, traditional rugs will fit in almost anywhere because they have a wide range of colours to complement almost any surrounding – it is almost impossible to find one that doesn’t look good. Rugs that have a predominant colour can be matched with a colour within your room. Most of our contemporary rugs have colours that fit in well to today’s colour palettes like terracottas, blues and greys. These work well as complementary colours and as contrast colours. Your new rug will outlast you current décor so it’s good to know it will always fit in.

How much do you spend: Tibetan rugs have the reputation for being expensive, boutique items only available in specialty shops and galleries. Actually the remote location of the Tibetan craftsmen means that a carpet has to travel through the hands of many traders before reaching the west – amazingly the actual craftsmen receive just a small proportion of the final sale price. We import directly from two Tibetan refugee camps located south of the Tibetan border in Nepal and we pay the craftsmen fair prices for their rugs. We only mark up the rugs once to cover business and transport costs and then sell them directly to the public. You’ll pay about the same for your hand-made rug as you would for a mass manufactured rug from a large western factory. See our price list for a guide.

Buying a rug from this website: It’s hard to visualise a rug without seeing it in position. It’s even harder to make a choice when all you have to go on is a picture. What you don’t see on this site is the quality, character and depth of colour of each rug. Each one is different and each one has something of the craftsman who made it. An average 2 square metre rug takes 45 days to weave. Additional to the weaving is the carding, spinning, dyeing, trimming, washing and fumigation all of which occurs within the Tibetan refugee camps.
It’s a risk when you buy something sight unseen that’s true – but we’ve sold many rugs to people in America, Europe and Asia and have not had one returned.

Every rug sold through Rugs of Tibet helps Tibetans live with independence and dignity. It helps them support their families, educate their children and plan for a future. You can help support them by purchasing from ‘Rugs of Tibet’.

Our Fair trade Policy

Many corporations see the entire world experience only in terms of supply and demand, profit and loss. Their world operates in terms of productivity and shareholder value with little interest in the most important aspects of humanity. Many of these western businesses take advantage of third and developing world desperation by using populations all over Asia as cheap labour. Such corporations make decisions based on profits and growth. Poverty, desperation, disease, lack of education, exhaustion and pain, ill health, emotional and physical torture are concepts that do not appear on a balance sheet - yet they are part of everyday life in countless sweatshops all across Asia.

You can make a difference – open your eyes before you open your wallet.

When you buy one of our rugs you can be sure that the person who made it is getting paid a fair price – a price that respects their skill, hard work and dignity. That is our promise.

Paul endeavours to visit the Tibetan refugee camps in Kathmandu and Pokhara each year to assess for himself the camp conditions and the political situation in Nepal as it is rarely reported in our local press. He also has a personal association with the families he supports and likes to their well being. This year he was able to witness first hand the democratic voting for local Tibetan representation within their exiled community.

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