An adjuster was presented with a water damage claim involving what was described as an antique 10-foot by 13-foot Heriz Rug valued at $25,000. The water damage caused the colors to run, rendering the Persian rug a total loss according to the insured’s claim.
The owner provided the adjuster with the provenance of having inherited this early 20th century rug from a family member. The owner also provided documentation of having spent several thousand dollars restoring the rug to what was described as “pristine” condition. Initial online research using the term “Heriz rug” along with the age, size and the word “pristine”, supported the $25,000 claim. Nonetheless, the adjuster had some reservations about whether or not the rug was a total loss, and called in contents claims specialist to consult on the case.
Persian rugs are handmade. The foundations of these rugs are threads called “warp thread” running the full length of the rug. Contrary to popular belief, the “fringe” is not added onto the ends of the rug as a decoration, the fringes are actually the exposed ends of these warp foundation threads. The weft threads are the foundation threads that run the width of the rug. The materials used for the foundation threads vary by region of origin, but they are most commonly white cotton. The foundation is essentially a thread grid upon which small pieces of differently colored dyed pile material, usually wool, are wrapped around the cotton foundation threads, and tied, or “knotted” to create the wonderful, colorful patterns we associate with this type of rug.
When a rug is said to be “thread bare,” it means wear and tear has worn down the colored wool pile, starting to expose the white foundation threads. What do some people do when a rug is this worn and the exposed white foundation threads are becoming visible and unsightly? You guessed it. They paint the area with dyes, coloring the white foundation threads to match the pile colors, in an attempt to mask the rug’s extremely worn condition.
Fortunately the carrier and the adjuster involved in this particular case had contents specialists to handle the specialty claim and provide the expert assistance needed to recognize that the rug in question had lost its pristine condition long ago.