Ever since the domestication of sheep, humans have been using wool to help keep themselves warm. By some estimates, as far back as 34,000 B.C., people have enjoyed the luxurious fibers of the fabric, well before even the invention of iron or sheers to sheer the wool. The production of the fabrics has changed somewhat over time; the wool of today is much more manageable and softer due to improved production techniques as compared to the ancient variety. However, relatively little has changed in the millenniums of wool. The basic elements are sheep, something to sheer them, forming yarn and a means to sew or weave. People have been using the material for clothing and wool rugs for a long time and still do so.
The material is nothing new and its tradition only adds to its appeal. Some people prefer to buy wool area rugs instead of a synthetic fabric for a few reasons. It is generally considered more environmentally friendly because it is natural and does not contain potentially toxic chemicals and it does not require as much energy to produce. In fact, some people still produce the fabric in the traditional manner without any electricity. The other major reason people might purchase a wool rug is that they are simply classy and functional. The added quality and sophistication of contemporary wool rugs will cost the consumer a bit more. The synthetic varieties of carpet are much cheaper and easier to produce and have therefore become the norm; the price of the natural variety is worth it.
In addition, the natural fabric has a few advantages even over the best synthetic materials. It recovers more quickly after being pressed down, maintaining its shape even after prolonged pressure on it. It also resists stains more easily than most synthetic materials because of the natural oil on the fibers. It is fairly fire-resistant and water-resistant naturally, as well. It is not hard to clean and when it is stained, the stains generally come out without much hassle. All of these benefits from a natural source seem unbelievable and demonstrate why the material has been so popular for thousands of years.
There are a few levels of the carpet in terms of how traditional they are. Hand-knotted and hand tufted wool rugs for sale are the most traditional, most sophisticated, most individual and the most expensive. On the other end of the spectrum are the area rugs which have been completely machine-made. There is a happy medium, however. The hand tufted varieties rely on machines to do the knotting, saving untold human man hours and money. Once the knots are made, the hand-tufting process begins. This type of rug looks and feels like a hand-knotted one but is much more reasonably priced and does not really have a downside.
Depending on the motivation for buying this type of rug, there are certain things to consider. If the priority is to be free of chemicals in the home and in the products you use, then make sure the rug is not treated with chemicals to make it more stain resistant or more durable, as many wool rugs are. If the reason is that using synthetic materials is not desired, then make sure the wool is not made with a blend of natural and synthetic materials, as many floor rugs are. Finally, if tradition and style are the main priorities, then look for hand-tufted and individually designed rugs made using methods that are more traditional.
Modern contemporary wool rugs are at once trendy, stylish, chic and also part of an ancient human tradition that has been keeping us warm, clean and comfortable for a very long time.