We are so immersed in the rug culture we forget sometimes that our customers don't necessarily speak the rug language. When explaining qualities of a rug to a customer they will frequently ask, "What does that mean? I don't know much about the carpet industry." For those of you who want to know more here is a brief and simple explanation of the terms "antique" and "vintage" when it comes to area rugs.
In the rug world the "antique" designation can only be assigned to rugs that have reached the age of 100 years or more. In different collectible markets such as pottery or furniture, the definition of antique can vary from that in the rug industry. The word antique purely describes age and nothing more - not all antiques are valuable, as with other areas of collecting, condition and rarity have more to play in valuation than just the age alone.
"Vintage" is a much broader term, it can literally be used to describe any rug that is not brand new. Essentially, vintage rugs are anywhere from 1 to 99 years old. Even though the definition is less exclusive, in general we only use the term for rugs that are older but have not reached the antique status yet. As you can tell from the broadness of the term the designation "vintage" does not ascribe any value to a rug. That is not to say that vintage rugs have no value, the value of a vintage rug will come from it's condition and desirability.
When choosing an antique or vintage rug our best recommendation is to choose the rug you love. Terms like "antique" and "vintage" mean little when you are trying to create a home environment that is both comfortable and functional. The thing we love best about older rugs is that they have been through a lot in their lifetime, and there is probably very little you could do to it that it hasn't already been through. Antique and vintage rugs are both great choices for easy maintenance and will continue to look good throughout the years.