A discount area rug from Karastan is an elegant steal. Karastan rugs are known as some of the best machine-made area rugs ever produced. Until the first Karastan rug was produced, in 1928, people knew that machine-made area rugs could never beat handmade rugs in quality and resale value, even if they came at deep discounts. But Karastan rugs changed that image. In 1928, in a small North Carolina town named Leakesville, the first of these elegant area rugs rolled off an Axminster loom. These rugs were so excellent, and their quality and durability were so great, that buyers began to see little difference between a handmade rug and a machine-made rug like Karastan, except for the heavy discounts that a machine-made rug had over a manmade rug. In fact, so uncannily similar was a Karastan area rug to handmade rugs, that trendy fashion magazines began calling them Mystery rugs.
Marshall Field, the illustrious Chicago departmental store whose brain-child these rugs were, was quick to take advantage of Karastan’s popularity. Five years later, at the 1933 World’s fair in Chicago, they had a Karastan rug not as a display but as an actual floor covering. After five million feet had trodden and dirtied this elegant piece of rug, Marshall Field had half of it cleaned and the other half kept as-is for eternity to appreciate its durability. It still exists as a testament to the elegance and durability of these splendid creations from Karastan.
Almost all Karastan rugs are wool rugs; they are made from the finest New Zealand wool. Such wool does not have small fibers to cause discomfort to asthma sufferers, nor does it harbor dust mites and other causes of allergy. Wool has been known to be an exceptional absorber of dusts due to its ability to produce static electricity, and a Karastan area rug, regularly cleaned, makes an exceptional dust absorber at discount prices.
Innovation has never become a bygone thing at Karastan. They have produced a number of patented finishing processes which give their area rugs that unique color and patina that is so characteristic of them. No machine-made rug had that wonderful softness and delicacy and harmony of colors characteristic of antique handmade rugs until Karastan rugs were processed with their patented LustreWash finishing, which gave them a similar soft finish. A few years later, Karastan began using the AntiqueWash process. This, as its name suggest, used chemicals to tone down the brightness of a Karastan rug, giving it an aged and muted appearance only ancient handmade rugs used to have.
In 1997, Karastan began using the TeaWash process, a further improvement on its finishing process endeavors. This is a multi-step technique which adds an aged appearance to the Karastan rug by producing a vintage patina to the wool through chemical means. It adds a warm yellowish hue to the pure white New Zealand wool, giving it an appearance of ancientness much valued by rug-lovers, and which is not usually found in machine-made rugs. Competitors have tried to emulate this process to create similar-looking rugs, but with not as much success as Karastan.
It should be mentioned, in connection with the LustreWash technique, that Karastan introduced a new style of rug-making in 2006 through its Shapura collection. Authentic handmade rugs from Peshawar have a luster created by using vegetable-dyes, and which is not found in machine-made rugs. Using its LustreWash technique, Karastan managed to create a similar appearance in its Axminster-made Karastan rugs. These look so similar to authentic handmade quality rugs that Karastan rugs have become known as the "Wonder rugs of America."