Collecting Oriental Rugs – Why?

While our blog is ostensibly about collecting and protecting those collections, digging deeper into the idea of collection, you find at its heart ideas like wealth. Legacy. Future. Today, we thought we’d share the beginning of Sam Ramazani’s book, Warp, Weft & Weave: A Life Collecting and Investing in Handmade Oriental Rugs, which starts to tease out these ideas specifically through oriental rug collecting. A bit of a departure from the usual, and we hope you enjoy – cheers.

(From Warp, Weft & Weave: A Life Collecting and Investing in Handmade Oriental Rugs by Sam Ramazani)

Creating wealth takes resolute purpose, resolve, constancy, and patience.  It also takes a deep commitment to researching and fully understanding your investment and its risks.

An example of this mindset comes from one of my favorite stories illustrating the nature of wealth and how we work in the present to secure the future, both for ourselves and for the next generations. Tony Deden, of Edelweiss Holdings, believes his job as managing family assets means, first and foremost protecting capital. He has a brilliantly illustrative story about meeting a date farmer who inherited an orchard of nearly a thousand trees. As they’re touring the grounds, Mr. Deden sees a hundred new trees that have recently been planted.  He asks the owner how long it will take for the newly planted trees to bear fruit.

“Nearly 20 years for the trees to be productive,” explains the farmer, “but market quality fruit won’t be produced for another 20 years after that.”

This is stunning to Western ears. Deden realizes this man will never profit personally from these trees. Why would a man invest in something from which he will never receive any reward? Why would a man do this? The farmer begins showing Deden pictures of his great grandfather, his grandfather and his father. And then he says something that will prove so important to us as we move through this book – the orchard owner says he’s merely a steward. He is a caretaker of this orchard and  future generations will do the same. In this man’s world view, this is what wealth means – a responsibility to our families and the care of what has been given for us to manage, not for ourselves, but ultimately for others.

I love the US and Americans. I love the American spirit of forward thinking and I have found an honesty in the people here that I haven’t experienced anywhere else in the world. But this old way of thinking about wealth is mostly absent from Americans’ psyche. I would humbly suggest that it is extremely valuable to consider this old way of thinking. Understanding ourselves as stewards rather than owners has the ability to completely change how we live in this world and care for those we love. We are here for only a moment in the scheme of things and because of that, we are more caretakers than owners. It’s our responsibility to manage well what we’ve been blessed with in this life. 

What are these ideas doing in a book about Oriental rugs? The answer is more direct and simple than it seems at first look; the collection, care and protection of Oriental rugs provides an excellent framework to explore the greater concepts behind value, wealth and wealth preservation. Drawing on my experience as both an Oriental rug broker and collector, this book will attempt to illuminate broader ideas on how to recognize value, how to preserve and protect your wealth with Oriental rugs. This book is a bit unusual in that it is not only about handmade Oriental rugs and what is important to understand about them, but fundamentally it is also about generational wealth and how to think about, invest for, and build legacy.

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