Persian carpets are a smart investment
A home decoration piece that is tasteful, useful and has investment value is not easy to find.
Antique vases can be used to put flowers in but might be knocked over by children, whereas art pieces only provide visual pleasure.
Yet Persian carpets fit all the categories of luxury, usefulness and they are child-proof. Hong Kong is one of the most popular cities in Asia for such carpets, according to Avais Ahmad, owner of Al-Shahzadi, a local Persian carpet store.
'There is a growing interest in Persian carpets from Hongkongers, as more go overseas to study and travel, and understand what luxury is and desire to have the best,' Ahmad says. He say Persian carpets can be treated as an investment as prices will always go up.
Carpets from Iran are becoming rare as the younger generation do not want to get into the business, pushing the prices of these rugs up. Al-Shahzadi offers clients a trade-in carpet service as well.
After buying a carpet from the store, clients can bring it back and receive the same amount they paid for it, trade it in for another carpet or the store can help clients sell their carpet at market price. Ahmad says he has also noticed a trend of mainlanders coming to Hong Kong to purchase Persian carpets.
The sizes and prices of the carpets vary and so does their usage.
'Some people buy a small Persian carpet to use as a placemat for their telephones and those would cost about HK$1,500 per piece,' Ahmad says.
Other uses include hanging a carpet like a piece of art on a wall or turning it into a pillow to sit on. The majority of such carpets costs from HK$8,000 up to millions of dollars, depending on the size, origin, materials used and the artist.
'Persian carpets are originally from Iran, but now other countries like Pakistan, India and Turkey are introducing their own version of Persian carpets, but the ones originating from Iran still cost the most,' Ahmad explains.
Persian carpets are traditionally made of silk, but not all are made purely from silk.
Many rugs today are made from a combination of silk and wool which costs less than pure silk ones.
Each carpet has a unique design and Ahmad refers to these designers as the 'Picassos in the Persian carpet industry'.
Similar to art works, the more famous the designer, the more expensive the carpet and if the designer passes away the carpet will become a rare collector's item.
There are a number of Persian carpet stores in Hong Kong and Ahmad warns interested buyers to beware of the ones they choose.