When buying a Persian carpet (or indeed any carpet), take into consideration several things:

- What is it made of? Wool is good for a durable carpet, but cannot be made too detailed in pattern. Silk is very beautiful, but delicate... perhaps you want one to hang on the wall? One good compromise is a woolen carpet with silk patterns in it. If you look at one of these carpets in the right light, the silk will shine out of the carpet.

- Is it naturally coloured? Cheap carpets are dyed with artificial dye, which should be avoided. If in doubt, compare a patch of colour on one end of the carpet to one on the other. It should be a slightly different colour. Also, natural colour may rub off slightly if the carpet is new.

- Is it hand or machine woven? Machine woven carpets generally don't look as good as hand woven ones, but if you really want to make sure, the classic test is to put a match to it. Machine woven carpets will produce smoke, as they have no oil on them. Hand woven carpets will burn cleanly (and without destroying the carpet.) However, I personally would shy away from this one... 8^)

- Does it suit the place you are going to put it? Nothing looks worse than a tiny carpet in a huge room, and obviously, you don't want it the other way round, either. Also make sure it matches the decor. Obvious tips for anybody used to home decoration.

- And finally, do you like it? Forget what criticisms anybody else has about the carpet... If you like the colours and the pattern, nothing else matters. Buy it!

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