Wool – Sheep’s wool is the most common material used to weave oriental rugs and can be used for the pile as well as the foundation of the rug. Generally, animals at higher altitudes yield better quality wool because it causes them to produce more lanolin; a wax-like substance that gives the wool a unique sheen as well as makes it stronger and easier to clean.
Silk – Silk comes from the cocoons which silkworms create for metamorphosis and is praised for its distinct luster and ability to be woven into highly detailed carpets. While a rug can be made entirely out of silk it is more common for the silk to be used as an accent on the rug to enhance certain features.
Cotton – Cotton is spun into yarn and used often as a foundation for wool rugs. While it is not as durable as wool, it is usually used in flat weave rugs such as kilims or dhurrie rugs.