A rug’s durability, softness, thickness and functionality are determined by the material from which it is made. High quality rugs are made of high quality wool, which makes them long lasting, resilient to high foot traffic, stain and water repellent and cosy underfoot.
What you will find in a Moroccan market
The Moroccan rugs commonly sold in local markets are made of Sardi sheep wool, from the plains of Marrakesh, which is cheap, easily accessible and not of a very high quality. Sardi wool has very short fibres, a high proportion of kemp, and doesn’t take dyes well. This wool is also often mixed with cotton, synthetics and even plastics to make it more workable, and these impurities, together with the chemical dyes used, make such rugs prone to shredding, and heavy shedding.
The vintage and antique rugs you find in local markets are often chemically "aged", which may also reduce the quality and durability of the rug.
What you will find at WOOL MERCHANTS
The one-of-a-kind rugs that you will find on this site are made with the highest quality sheep’s wool, sourced from the Atlas Mountain region that runs through Morocco. Our collections feature rugs made from High Atlas Wool (high altitudes) or Mid Atlas Wool (middle altitudes), which each have slightly different qualities:
High Atlas Wool
- a long fibre
- traditionally double spun
- the rugs don’t shed, hold their form and can tolerate heavy foot traffic.
Middle Atlas Wool
- a slightly shorter fibre length
- traditionally single threaded
- the rugs do tend to shed a little more, but with time age into a classic vintage, shaggy style, which is popular today.
Lamb's wool is hypoallergenic.
Dyes and colours
When sourcing our rugs, we seek only ones coloured using natural dyes.
In colouring the wool, the Berber artisans of North Africa, who make our rugs, use various natural dyes. These come primarily from plant sources, including roots, berries, bark, leaves, wood, vegetables and spices, such as saffron, hibiscus and henna. Others come from biological sources, such as fungi and lichens, which produce wonderfully vibrant natural colours.
When purchasing a rug from the Wool Merchants you can rest assured that you are purchasing the very best: rugs made of the highest quality materials and created to be enjoyed today, tomorrow and for decades to come.