Oriental carpets are traditionally made from high-quality sheep wool and silk. Cotton is also used, mostly for the warp threads. You will find very different combinations of materials on the market. As a rule, warp threads are made of cotton and the pile is made of sheep wool. Individual ornaments are made of silk - sometimes more and sometimes less. The more silk is used, the higher the quality of a carpet will be. In instances of pure silk carpets, as the name suggests, even the warp threads are made of silk. Traditional nomad carpets are partially knotted on warp threads made of sheep wool, as no other material is often available to these wandering people.
The sheep wool used in carpet production comes mainly from native sheep, i.e., primarily from merino sheep. The wool’s quality will depend on the breed of sheep, the age of the animals, the frequency of shearing and climate conditions. The wool of highland sheep from Iran, for example, is considered particularly high quality because their food is more nutritious than the food available in mild climates. The higher the wool’s fat content, the more shine and suppleness the processed wool radiates. After shearing, the wool is washed, spun and dyed.
The wool used for making Indian or Pakistani oriental carpets is mostly imported wool that primarily comes from New Zealand.