4 simple tips how you can distinguish a handknotted Beni Ourain rug from a FAKE Beni Ourain copy
The Beni Ourain rug design dominates already since years the interior design world. No wonder – already Yves Saint Laurent loved these rugs from Morocco. And as they are so demanded now, there is of course, for every client an offer. Some like the original and traditional Beni Ourain rugs which are sustainable and have a good quality. Others like it cheap or just don`t know what they are buying, so they buy a fake copy. And believe me, there is many companies which produce them. Unfortunately they also sell them with the name Beni Ourain or Berber rug, which is actually not allowed. But no one knows, so no one cares. There is not much protection for the consumer in this market. I experienced something like that on a market in France, where some people sold Fake Beni Ourain rugs for the price of an original one. The story about that, you can read in the end of this blog.
So how do you know if you buy an original Beni Ourain from Morocco? For this I ve got 4 tips for you.
NUMBER ONE – THE MATERIAL
Very simple, but true… The original Beni Ourain rug is made out of sheep wool. You can see this easily already on a picture, if you want to order online. Often you see bloggers posing with their fake Beni Ourain rugs which are not made out of wool. Some of these fakes are made out of polypropylene. Shortly said: The production of polypropylene costed probably many polar bears already their death. If you want to know more about it, google Polypropylene. It`s a thermoplastic. Go for the sheep wool from Morocco, it is definitely the more environmentally-friendly option. Morocco has many sheeps from which they take the wool without killing them and the wool grows back like our hair.
NUMBER 2 – The rug fringes.
Originally the Beni Ourain rugs have only on one side the fringes. The reason is the way they are made – as the weaving frame doesn`t give naturally any fringes when you begin to make a rug. So if you buy a vintage Beni Ourain you can be sure there is only on on side fringes. As the demand of these rugs got really high in the last years and clients want to have fringes at both sides, the Moroccan berber women started to add also fringes on the beginning of the rug. As the client wishes… But if you want a really traditional Beni Ourain rug, choose one which has only fringes on one side. It is is more traditional.
NUMBER 3 – THE KNOTS
So how can you see the difference from the machine made one and the original one? When you turn the FAKE rug to the backside all knots are equal. You can see it`s machine made because it looks perfectly made. The original Beni Ourain rugs are also nicely made, but the knots are slightly different, not as perfect as a machine can make it.
NUMBER 4 – THE COMPANY
So… Be aware of where you buy your rug. When you buy from a big company which offers many different rugs like Indians, Persians, Turkish rugs… And when this company has from one Beni Ourain Design like 1000 times the same piece – directly drop the idea that it is original! This probably is a company which made their number one goal a big profit. Not caring about anything else. Even when there is written Beni Ourain rug or Berber rug – there is many of them produced from full- automatically working weaving machines. So if you want an original beni ourain rug, you better go for a small company where you can transparently see where they get their products from. They should only have a very limited amount of rugs from one and the same design. My advice: Buy an original one to support the traditional handcrafted arts from Morocco to invest into a sustainable product for yourself which is not loosing its value when you buy it.
A STORY ABOUT A FAKE BENI OURAIN RUG SELLER
2019 I was really surprised what I saw on a big street market in the centre of the city Bordeaux in France. There was one corner with Moroccan rugs which caught my eye. I
Looked around and the friendly seller directly opened the Beni Ourain rug which I seemed interested in. On first sight, I saw it was a fake. I call it fake, when it was produced with a machine, because this is then not a handcrafted, traditional rug. I pretended not to know anything about rugs and asked where the rug came from. The charismatic seller, he was by the way Moroccan, showed me a label, a sticker, on the back of the rug – certifying that it was originally from Morocco. “Nice”, I thought, “everyone can print a sticker, write on it whatever you want and put it on a rug…” Well, I cannot say if this Moroccan seller bought the rugs from China or if there is already machine made rug productions in Morocco. But one thing was sure: It was not a traditional Beni Ourain, it was a cheaply produced product for the same price offered as an original Beni Ourain. What I wanna tell you with this story, be aware from who and where you buy! This was a fraud! If you own an original Beni Ourain rug it keeps its value or even rises the value with time. That`s same for example with a Louis Vuitton bag. It keeps its value and rises with time. If you buy the cheap copy from Turkey, it is not worth anything, also not, when you paid the price of an original one, because someone just committed a fraud on you.
MY MESSAGE TO YOU IF YOU BUY A BENI OURAIN RUG
So finally the decision what you consume is up to you. My personal advice is clear, please go for the original. You support the power of Berber womens handcrafts and the thought of taking care of our environment as the Beni Ourain rugs are very environmentally friendly made. And… Very important – only buy from a company which you trust, a company which communicates openly so you also have a wonderful story to tell to all your visitors coming to your home about your original Beni Ourain rug.
Thanks for the informative article. It is hard to know the difference but this article helps.