Purchase genuine Hereke silken Carpets during holidays in Turkey?

Basically, why not?

Especially I would like to ask you to be very carefully and please don’t let your emotions take charge.

The Salesmen of every holiday resort (or tourist centre) of the world know that the pockets are looser during holidays… If you normally think three times before you pay hundreds of even thousands of Euros for a beautiful rug, in holidays you quickly agree to do so.

Why do humans act in this way?

The reason is simple: on holidays we are in a flush of happiness. In holidays all is beautiful and nice, because we LIKE it – it’s leisure! Our brain spills Serotonin – the happy hormon – in big quantities and therefore we see all in a smooth light, all is wonderful and nothing bad exists. The same flush we experience, when we are newly in love…

Coming back in our normal environment, the flush fades and then you are at home with your rug and the questions appear:

Is this Hereke a genuine one?
Is this price fair or have I paid too much?
How can I recognise whether the rug is genuine and the price fair?
What can I do now?

To answer the last question at first: If you have paid a big sum of money, go to an expert, who is acknowledged with the Chamber of Commerce or/and the courts of law and let proof the rug.
If the purchased rug did not cost a lot,  just enjoy your beautiful souvenir from Turkey.


Because I think, it was better to think about this questions before your holidays I would like to give you some tips about purchasing a genuine Hereke silken rug during your holidays in Turkey.

Genuine Hereke silken Carpet "Topkapi"

Of course, I will not tell you that each Turkish carpet dealer is a swindler or shark – that was a lie. Fact is that it is very difficult for a layperson to find out whether the offered silk rug is a genuine Hereke one or not.

Therefore my first and most important advice for you is:

Be carefully, do not let them play with your emotions!

Before going on holiday you have to know that all prices in each tourist centre all over the world are much higher than anywhere else, because the costs for renting the shop, etc are higher as well.

When it is important for you to purchase a Turkish rug in Turkey and for that reason you accept the higher price – okay.

But if you think (or recieve the feeling), you would go to Turkey to get a bargain and you pay a higher price – then it is not okay.

The worst experience is that there are rugs offered as “genuine Hereke silken rugs”, the price is higher than usual – and what you get is a fake. That is criminal. Unfortunately it is very difficult “to get” such sharks, because they often have not address and name to find them, the salesmen change often, sometime from week to week, you have nobody to complain to.

The salesmen in Turkey usual first name a very high price and you have the opportunity to beat it down, that gives you the feeling that you made a bargain, but the price you finally get is still higher than usual. My customers told me about prices till 25 % higher than it was fair – and they got fakes.

A Detail of the Hereke silken rug "Topkapi"

A detail of the above shown rug.
The patterns of genuine Hereke silken Carpets are worked always absolutely fine and perfect.

Detail of a fake of the "Topkapi" pattern

The same pattern as above – but a fake.

Compare the fineness of patterns, especially the birds and flowers. The seemingly Arabic letters on this rug are fake and they mean nothing. The letters in the centre are some similar to the name of Allah, what no Muslim would knot in a carpet, because it is an offense to step on the name of Allah. I asked a native Arabic speaking and writing acquaintance.

On the original Hereke rug is knotted a verse of Rumi Mevlana.

I would like to ask you to be aware of some more things, when a genuine Hereke Carpet is offered to you during your holidays in Turkey:

1. Please hear very attentive, what the salesman tells you

Not all salesmen are actual lying (although they may like to sell the rug with a higher price than it is worth), therefore they choose words, which give you a wrong impression, because you are not attentive enough…

Does the salesman speak from an Anatolian (or Turkish) Carpet with Hereke patterns? – that may be a beautiful silken carpet, made in Turkey, but it is not a genuine Hereke.

Does he speak from silken carpet with Hereke patterns? – That could be a Chinese or Indian silken carpet.

One salesman answered after I said to him that the rugs he offers with a price similar to genuine Hereke were not genuine Hereke ones “that the knotting technique was the criteria” – a lie!

A genuine Hereke rug is only a genuine one, when it is knotted in Hereke – and no where else!

When the salesman speaks from genuine or original Hereke Carpets, he should be able to attest that. Best with a certificate of the Hereke Carpet Weavers Association, what for me is the most confident one.

2. Touch the rug

Does the rug feel smooth like a soft toy? Maybe it is a Chinese silken rug.

Go with your hand over the rug at first in one direction – with the pile – it feels like you would touch human skin, secound go back in the other direction – against the pile – it feels like you would go over velvet. If it feels like this, it could be a genuine Hereke.

3. Turn the rug

Are the lines perfect straight? It could be a genuine Hereke.

See this example:

Hereke Silk Carpet "Topkapi" with backside

The “Tree of Life” of my sample collection with its backside: The backside of a genuine Hereke silken rug always displays the patterns as clear as on the front.

Detail of the backside of the Hereke silken Carpet "Tree of Life"

This detail of the backside of the above rug shows the perfection of hand-knotting art of a genuine Hereke silken Carpet. This rug is knotted in a density of 15 x 15 Turkish Double Knots = approx. 225 (!) Turkish Double Knots per square centimeter (!) = approx. 2,250,000 Turkish Double Knots per square meter… 100 % handmade!

Are the lines of the you shown rug buckled? Are the knots not perfect? It could be an Anatolian (Chinese or Indian) one with Hereke patterns.

4. Count the knots

Are there actually 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 knots per square centimeter? Almost all carpet dealer will help you with a knot counter. If not, just take a straightedge and count the knots of one centimeter once horizontal and once vertical. You should get the named number of knots – 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 or what ever. Take the time to actually count. Count at different places of the rug. If there are big differences, be carefully! Small differences always can appear, as the rugs are handmade.

5. Ask for the producer and the way of production

The Chinese like to use similar looking and sounding names of manufactures, which actually exist or have existed.

When anyone does not like to name the producer, but begins to tell you anything about “women near Hereke” or something else, be carefully!

I have heard that the pile was burned (!) to get the very short and equal pile as it is usual in genuine Hereke silken rugs. They answered to my question, it was made to give the treads more durability. That is a lie and it is only for one reason done this way: To be able to complete a rug faster – and therefore cheaper – but they sell the rug for a similar or even higher price than a genuine Hereke would cost. And beside of this, they name their rugs 100 % handmade.

A genuine Hereke Carpet is always 100 % handmade. No machine (beside of the loom) touches the rug. The pile is trimmed by hand after each knotted line using special scissors. And a genuine Hereke Carpet is always knotted with the durable Turkish Double Knot (Gordesknot).

Turkish Double Knot (Gordesknot)Copyright of this picture: Dania Calderin

6. Ask where the silk is from

A genuine Hereke silken Carpet is always knotted with silk from Bursa in Turkey, no cheaper Chinese or Kashmere or other silk is used. Once me was told that silk from Brazil was used, “because it was better”? For a genuine Hereke? It is cheaper, of course, but why such rugs are sold more expensive than a genuine Hereke one?

7. Ask for a certificate

The certificate should contain:

The origin
A picture of the rug
A serial number
The producer
The used material
The size
The knot density
The name of the pattern

The certificate should explecitely name that you get a genuine or original Hereke. The only mention of
100 % handmade and/or 100 % Turkish (or Anatolian) product does not ensure the authenticity of a genuine Hereke… far from it!

If there is only given the address of a dealer (maybe without the name of the dealer) and the name and address of a company abroad, please be very carefully. It does not make sense to produce a genuine Hereke (see above) abroad to bring it then to Turkey.

You should have the possibility to verify the certificate.

Tell the dealer you would verify the rug with an expert, who is acknowledged with the Chamber of Commerce and courts of law.

The certificate of the Hereke Carpet Weavers Association, for example, tells that you get an originial Hereke, there are named two  different serial numbers. One serial number of the rug, the other one of the certifcate. Verifying the certificate both numbers have to match to be sure about the origin of the rug and the authenticity of the certificat. You can verify these certificates from all over the world via Internet, letter or phone call. Each acknowledged expert will verify this rug as a genuine Hereke one as well.

At the end:

When you get to see such things:

Fake Hereke

That is a fake!

The Hereke seal is never knotted in this way! I will not tell you, in which way it is knotted, because the falsifier are also in the internet to read and to find out, in which way they may fake the original ones.

If you see such thing:

Fake Hereke

It is a fake!

No dealer or producer would put a seal through a genuine Hereke. In this way not only the rug, but the value of it was destroyed. Genuine Hereke silken rugs are longterm investment, like each artwork of a well known artist. No serious artdealer would destroy an artwork to “show” it was an original – and no seriours dealer of genuine Hereke Carpets would do either.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season with a lot of beautiful experiences – and please, do not let play with your emotions!

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26 Responses to “Purchase genuine Hereke silken Carpets during holidays in Turkey?”

  1. Bassco Colonial Says:

    This is a very fine read on rug authentication. It should be read by rug enthusiasts out there.

  2. Paul Says:

    Thanks!, good information, I have a turkestan rug with tree of life motif I would like to show you a picture and get your opinion if possible

  3. Evelyn Says:


    I bought a Golden Hereke from the estate of a prominent carpet dealer ‘Choudhary collection’ which was made available when the owner passed away. I most likely over paid for it but I am sure that it is a genuine piece as its perfectly knotted on the back with a lovely shimmering tree of life design. But that was 40 years ago. The problem is with upkeep. I have sent it twice to so-called professional carpet cleaners and twice, it came back, slightly damaged. The last time all the tassels at the end of one side are gone. Because it was in the tropics for a long time, the weave is quite brittle in some places now with one or a few spots broken through which the cleaner attempted to repair with bad stitiches. Is there any way I can save the carpet and is there any value to it still? Who would be the best person to repair it., And would it cost a lot?

  4. Lilly Bowes Says:

    I recently returned from Turkey and regret how much I paid for a small silk rug. $4,000 for .75. I was told it wasn’t Turkish because it has a straight line for a border instead of flowers or birds. I got no certificate I got no written information except .75 ipek. I tried to cancel, I am confused and would hate to get a cheaper variation to what I thought I purchased. I wasn’t allowed to sign it and have no clue if it is over priced?? Could I get some assistance Please?

  5. Linda bakk Says:

    Hi I bought a hereke carpet in kusadasi 20 yrs ago I paid £300 it is 34cm x44cm and is 20 x 20 and is 100% silk. It has some sort of writing/mark sewn into the bottom left hand corner. I know it’s difficult to determine if its fake or authentic for you. Can I send you a picture of it? I’m hoping you can help me out please? Thank you ,linda

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      I would advise to show your rug an expert near you, who is acknowledged with courts and/or insurances. There you would get to know, whether your rug is genuine or not.
      It’s not possible, to determine this just from some fotos.

  6. Vincent Says:

    Would I have a better chance of getting a genuine Hereke carpet if I actually go to Hereke rather than Grand Bazaar? Even better, perhaps I can get it for less.

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      The manufacture of Han Hali (located directly in Hereke) owns a shop in Istanbul. The address of the shop you get to know on the website of Han Hali:


      They are absolutely trustworthy and there you will get, what is promised. Please greet them from my part.

      I would avoid to buy any rug in Grand Bazar, there are many dealers, who sell “Turkish rugs with Hereke patterns” (what are NOT Hereke ones!) at very high prices.

      I wish you a wonderful time in Istanbul.

  7. Candy baxter Says:

    We bought a 6×8 hereke rug several years ago in turkey. It is wool and signed hereke 2000 on 4 corners. One of the hereke 2000 is backwards. We paid $4000. Do you think we were taken?

  8. Chih Says:

    A friend who visited Turkey was given, by his friend in Istanbul, a small (approx. 76 by 55 cm) silk on silk rug, with a lead seal (similar to that depicted in your last picture) *attached to warp strings/ fringe* instead of punched through the actual rug. I can’t make out the marks on the seal & am wondering if you’re able to tell me more about what these seals mean.

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      Hello Chih,

      these seals are used by traders to confirm their value. They have actually nothing to say. More important may be the certificate of the producing manufacture. If your friend payed a lot of money, it maybe wise to give the rug to an expert, who is admitted to courts and insurances, to get a valuation of the rug, what in this case is needed anyway to add this rug to the household insurance.

      Hope, my answer helps. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me for any further information you may need.

  9. wael Says:

    It is my second comments here after a year of my first one, I wish if people can read your article carefully, honestly I came back from Istanbul few days back & as usual I went to the Grand bazaar and I followed your instructions & my friend instruction to recognize the genuine Hereke & the result was most of the carpets which I have seen are Chinese copies and the genuine Hereke is rare even in Turkey.
    I only confirm your advice for the readers to take care or they will lose thousands of Euros on fake one.

  10. alan gorrell Says:


    Having worked in Turkey for a few tour companies I have first hand experience of the Carpet boys at work. However it is possible to get a good deal on a carpet when in Turkey and I must say they look great in your house. I have a few. As for people being free and easy on holiday, I had a holiday maker who was asked when in a market by a local lad if he could look at his £20 notes as he’d never seen them before. When the chap re checked the amount of £20’s he was given back, he found he was 2 short. Thats the holiday head for you!

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      Hello Alan,

      nobody says that it is not possible to get a good and genuine Hereke rug in Turkey. And yes, of course, they look really great in your house!

      As I get to hear over and over again the complains about faked Hereke rugs at incredible high prices and as I get to see also genuine Hereke rugs sold at moonprices, I wrote this article to give tourists something in the hand to be able to decide whether and what to purchase. Of course, a dealer in a tourist centre – as I wrote in this article – has to take higher prices than I do, just because he has to pay the high shop costs in a tourist centre. But 50 to 75 % higher prices are not justified, in my book, even more, when the sold rug is a fake.

      Mostly tourists, who come with bargain travels or won travels of any contests are cheated most.

      A genuine Hereke rug is not only a beautiful accessoire in your home, it is also a long-term investment like every artwork. For this reason my customer should be sure about what they get…

      P.S. Turkish people are incredible hospitable and always very kind. I love their lifestyle very much.

  11. I saved my customer 7,500 Euro purchasing a #Hereke rug « Says:

    […] Before the holiday season of 2010 started, I wrote my blog “Purchase genuine Hereke silken Carpets during holidays in Turkey?” […]

  12. 2010 in review « Says:

    […] Purchase genuine Hereke silken Carpets during holidays in Turkey? July 2010 6 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com, 4 […]

  13. chris ness Says:

    My husband and I found a beautiful Last Supper silk carpet in Ankara at one of your stores. It was $4,000 which is above our budget. We would just like to hang it on the wall so the knot count does not need to be the best. Do you have a similar one that would be less expensive ($2,000).

    Thank you.

    Chris Ness

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      Hello Chris,

      of course, I can ask for you, whether in Hereke is one in your priceclass available.

      You’ll get an e-mail with further information.

      It is a pleasure for me to be of your assistance.

      Kind regards,

      Solveigh Calderin

  14. Tamara Warner Says:

    I bought a Hereke Silk Carpet in a moment of emotion and with no knowledge, other than the trust of the carpet dealer who hade been recommended by the Cruise Line. My concerns were aroused by the fact that the Certificate of Authenticity given to me was exactly the same as for the UZAK carpet I had also bought. In both cases, only the Design = Hereke (or UZAK), the material = Silk (Wool for the UZAK), and the dimensions of the carpet were provided in this Certificate. I read your article and wrote back requiring a Certificate of Authenticity with the information you had stipulated, including a Certificate from the Hereke Weavers Assoc. I was told no such an Association exists. Please comment.

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      This Association exists. On my Website you’ll find a link there. The Hereke Carpet Weavers Association is supported by the Chamber of Commerce in Istanbul. Their contact datas you’ll find here: http://www.hereke.com/assn/contact.html

      Edit: The way you describe, I hear very often from my customers. They trust the guide, who is dedicated by the travel agencies. The agencies have no possibility to proof the guides. The guides often have a contract with the carpet dealers. For bringing the tourists there, they benefit from the sales. In this way also the guides are interested in high prices of the sold items…

      The difficulty is that there are, of course, honest guides, who simply do not know or choose for themselves trustworthy dealers. Unfortunately the few swindler damage the reputation of all the honest ones…

  15. wael Says:

    It is one of the best articles which I have read about hereke carpets, a friend of mine his family is one of the most famous carpets dealers in the world told me “You need a magic to know if the Hereke is genuine or fake, so buy it from a person you trust”.

    • Solveigh Calderin Says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and kind words, Wael.

      Your friend’s family is absolutely right – it is always a question of trust to purchase any carpet, even more a genuine Hereke Carpet.

      Beside of this the certificate of the Hereke Carpet Weavers Association is a secure indication for getting a genuine Hereke.

      I work with one of the best renowned manufacture in Hereke, which is family lead already in the fourth generation. I for myself was there to speak with the owners and so everybody can be sure to get with me, what is promised as well as the customers of your friend’s family.

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