A hand-knotted rug is a work of art that starts its journey as a bundle of wool that gets hand-spun into yarn on a rudimentary spinning wheel. This hand-spun yarn is then dyed into various colors and used for weaving exquisite hand-knotted carpets. Because of this, the rug will always have certain disparities in their surface coloring,  known as “Abrash coloration in hand-knotted rugs” is one of the most common characteristics of a real hand-knotted rug.

One unique characteristic of hand-spun yarn is that the yarn is of different diameters because it is not made with a machine and therefore it holds the same color differently in different places. This variation in color, shades, and hues that one gets to see when the hand-spun yarn is used in a carpet is known as Abrash (pronounced ‘Ah-brash’) effect.

If you pick any antique rug, you will see this as a standard feature on them from the time when machines were not around.

The best way to identify a hand-knotted rug with an Abrash effect is to look for gradation in the colour tone of a single color across the rug. A machine-made rug will never be able to bring out the true abrash effect in a rug. This is a major difference in handmade vs machine-made rugs.

Examples of Abrash rugs

The word Abrash, in Farsi, means rainbow or spectrum. In the olden days, it was used to identify the variations in the colour of a rug’s pile. Jaipur Rugs offers a number of hand-knotted pieces with an Abrash effect. Certain pieces from the Project Error, Aakar, and Chaos Theory collections by designer Kavi have a beautiful abrash effect.

Significance of abrash effect

If you see a rug with an Abrash effect it instantly signifies that the rug has been made using hand-spun wool. This means that the rug is end-to-end done only by hand and is a unique masterpiece. The hand-spun batches of yarn took on the different gradations of the same color and over the years each batch will fade out differently and the effect will stand out as a unique characteristic.

For the untrained eye, this effect in hand-made rugs can be seen as an anomaly or a defect. But it is not so. When buying a high-quality hand-knotted rug it is important to note that the presence of the abrash effect is sometimes a part of the design and it only signifies the purity of the hand-made process that has gone behind creating it. In other words, when you decide to buy a rug with this effect you are choosing to buy a true work of art handmade from scratch.