A common misconception made by many people is that the knot count is the all deciding factor relating to the quality and pricing of a carpet.
This is often true in more exclusive carpets, such as an Isfahan, where the amount of detail plays a larger role. However, when dealing with nomadic, village or even the more massproduced modern styles, the number of knots becomes less important. A village carpet made with thicker wool can have as little as 40,000 knots per square meter yet be of the highest quality, whereas a finer Tabriz with 200,000 knots could be made by poor quality wools.
This is not to say that you should dismiss the knot count all together. On an average day a weaver can make their way through about 8000 knots and since approximately 70% of the price of a carpet is tied into labour you cannot really argue that the knot count does make a difference in the price.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should refrain from comparing the knot count in carpets from different countries since the method of making the carpets are quite distinct to the regions. The knot count should be relevant for the type of carpet you are looking at.
The Hereke carpets of Turkey (as seen on the right side of the images) are known to have some of the highest knot counts in the world. They often break the 1,000,000 mark and were once reserved for the era’s elite. In the same breath, there are some antique nomad carpets with fewer than a few tens of thousands of knots that go for astronomical amounts and whose quality has stood the test of time.
There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing a carpet so try not to get too caught up in simply counting the knots.
Read more about the Herike carpet here