Moroccan Rugs: Tips for First Time Buyers
All bazaars in Morocco are great fun! Regardless of which bazaar you visit. One of the joys is getting lost and then spending hours enjoying the energy and the fun of negotiating with traders in an area that is embroidered with colorful and detailed Berber rugs.
Buying the perfect Moroccan Berber rug on the other hand has to be the ultimate hustle especially if it's your first time buying one from a Moroccan Bazaar. It’s easy to become overwhelmed as there are lots of stalls selling these exquisitely made rugs with the makers using a traditional knotted technique that dates before time. I’ve put together this handy guide to help you navigate yourself towards the most vibrant rugs.
Strolling through a Moroccan bazaar where there are Berber rugs for sale, with insistent sellers calling you to their stores, can be dizzying–so you need to have the proper backup in your battle. Knowledge is power, and knowing the holy trinity of Moroccan rugs beforehand will arm you with the information and confidence you need. I'm making it sound like some kind of battle strategy because IT IS. Plus, the more you know about Moroccan rugs, the more you'll appreciate the artistry and workmanship that goes into every rug. You'll also be better equipped to get the most value for your money.
• Before anything, you should have some ideas of colors and designs that you may like. As simple as a Pinterest search will pull up an infinite number of different Moroccan rugs. Familiarize yourself with some of the names of styles you like. Note, every tribe in Morocco has a different style so when you say “Moroccan” rug it includes lots of different styles and designs.
• You will want to have an idea of the size of the rug you want or need. This is very important. Keep in mind sizes are done in metric and most rugs are not made in the same dimensions as western rugs. They are typically much more rectangular to fit in Moroccan homes.
Bargain As if Your Life Depends on It!
There’s always a warm reception from traders, and prices are negotiable, which helps to make the bazaar experience one to enjoy. While you can get most of these treasures at amazing prices, those prices don’t come easily. You’ll need to do a lot of negotiating and endure a fair share of hassle. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to offer about a third to two-thirds of the price originally suggested by the bazaar trader. You should eventually expect to meet somewhere around 50% of the price. While it may take a while to arrive at such a deal, the good news is that you’ll likely be offered countless glasses of sweet mint tea to sweeten any deal reached.
As a bonus, If the price doesn't go down no matter how much pressure you put into bargaining, just say no and start walking away. Trust me on this, they will desperately call after you to meet your suggested price. It always works.
Buying a Moroccan Rug From Online Stores
If you are not feeling like venturing the countless Bazaars in the quest for a Moroccan rug, there is always the option of buying it online from the comfort of your home (I see you millennials). Nowadays, there are all kinds of e-commerce sites offering the same Moroccan rug charm and value as Bazaars do, with a wide range of colors and sizes and different price points. One of the many shops out there is the celebrated online rug store Babakech. You will find a constantly rotating selection of vintage and contemporary Moroccan rugs, and distinctive designs encompassing most rug styles, including shags and Kilims from various Moroccan regions and tribes.
Nobody wants to get sucked into a scheme that will cost them dearly, so a lot of haggling is key. But when it comes to Moroccan rugs, you ultimately get what you pay for. And while you don’t want to overpay, something too cheap will eventually show its quality. That's why you should always remind yourself that you are investing in a piece of art.
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