Sari Silk May Not Be Silk – What Is it? Sam Presnell Answers


Sam Presnell of the Rug Gallery gives the answer

Sari Silk Rug by FJ Kashanian

What is a sari silk rug? I’ve had that question asked a lot. A lot of people believe that it’s made from the saris that are used, and they’ll basically strip the saris apart and put them back together and spin them into fiber and make rugs of them that way. Unfortunately that is not true. We actually make the fiber from the entrails from making fabric, making the sari silk fabrics. Basically, when you have a silk fabric you have a lot of entrails, you have the stuff that’s carried over on the back between the designs.

We scrape all that up, put it into a big pile, sell off to jobbers or spinners, whatever you want to call them, and they will try to sort the colors as best they can by coloring and put them in a big pile and then they’ll hand spin that together and make the actual yarn that we use to make a sari. When you see a sari rug you are going to see a what I call imperfections or the beauty of the product. There’s a natural thing that happens there. You’ll have these foreign colors and it may not make sense to you if you don’t understand what’s going on with the process off the reprocessing yarn system and not starting from new.

Recycled Sari Silk

You get those beautiful little specs of color which gives it depth and gives it some jeweling and things that I appreciate and really enjoy about the product. It is kind of whimsical in lots of ways, and usually very bright in coloring which, to me, I think, is a little more of a fun product if you like something that’s got some interest and nobody else has. I think a sari silk could be a good way to go. And for being silk you would think it would be very expensive. There’s a lot of silk in these rugs. They’re very thick, very heavy, and you would think, “God, if I had to make that from new silk, what would that rug cost?”

FJ Kashanian – Sari Silk – High / Low Pile Shown – High Point April 2016

So being a re-purposed yarn, it just makes it very affordable and you’d be shocked at how great the prices are. We do mix sari silk in with wool. Occasionally you’ll see the background will be wool and the design will be done in sari which gives an interesting thing, a little more uniform to the base of it that way. Then, what you see behind me is the actual sari made 100% of sari silk. There’s all types of sari silks. There’s real silk, which is what you see behind you here, and then there’s stuff that we call rayon or viscose or stuff that we call faux silk, so you’re not really getting the expensive silk part of it, but it gives that look and styling of the sari silk, but it’s basically a — it would be like buying a suit that instead of being wool it would be polyester or something like that or a different yarn system.

A lot of times it could be a little less expensive from one store to another. Keep that in mind, a lot of times it’s not a hundred percent silk. You can always test a silk rug by burning it. It will not catch on fire. It will singe just like your hair would. You get a lot of that same type of composition to it. But there’s a depth of color and a jeweling of color in a Sari silk that is, I think, second to none. I hope you check that out and also possibly think about maybe putting one in your own home.

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Sam Presnell owns and operates The Rug Gallery Cinncinnati Ohio. It started with one oriental rug purchased for personal use. That grew to a storefront in the University of Cincinnati area that was all of 750 sq. ft., which opened in 1972. Six years later they moved to Montgomery and a new 6,500 sq. ft. store. In 1992, Blue Ash beckoned and the current 21,000 sq. ft. showroom was born. Now the oriental rug gallery in Cincinnati is a beautiful place to come and explore all of the possibilities that they have to offer customers and their homes.

Sam began recording podcasts as a way of educating his customers and shares them through Itunes, at, and now Rug News Retail.