NIBA Rug Fibers

We make beautiful rugs in a variety of fibers to suit different tastes, needs and budgets. Choose from among soft wools, luxurious silks, lustrous linens and more. Your NIBA rug consultant can explain the unique properties of each fiber and guide you to the right decision for your design project.

Mongolian Wool

Exceptionally rare Mongolian wool is only available from one factory in India. The undercoat of the goat, which is sheared only once per year, produces very long, shiny, straight hair.

A special weaving technique enhances the sheen of the wool fibers and produces a very flexible rug often mistaken for silk. This is truly a one-of-a-kind fiber for your most discerning client.

Himalayan Wool

This very fine wool comes from goats in the Himalayan Mountain range. Because the goats grow very long hair in this cold climate, Himalayan wool has a very high lanolin content, making it very cleanable. Its natural color ranges from creamy white to yellow to dark brown, and when dyed, it produces a natural, very slight variance in color. Rugs made of Himalayan wool appear to gain sheen and luster with age. All of our Tibetan knot rugs are made with this wool.

New Zealand Wool

The least textured and whitest wool available, New Zealand wool is a good choice if you want strong primary colors and a solid, more saturated look. Because the wool is machine-carded and spun, the result is a more consistent looking wool. New Zealand wool is ideal for hand-tufted rugs because its fibers are long enough to be threaded through hand-operated or electric tufting tools.

Indian Wool

Indian Wool has a very textured appearance but minimal length yarns. Combining Indian wool with New Zealand wool produces a rug with the perfect combination of texture, elasticity and yarn length.

Goat Mohair

Mohair is a wool that comes from the underbelly of Angora goats. Soft and shiny, goat mohair is a less expensive alternative to Mongolian wool, and it’s very cleanable due to its lanolin content.

Merino Wool

Unlike other wools, Merino wool is very soft to the touch and brings a wonderful feel to a handmade rug. But its softness in no way diminishes performance – Merino wool rugs are naturally stain, soil and crush resistant.

This popular wool, which comes from Merino sheep, is the same wool that’s used for clothing. This type of wool is thinner than regular wool, making it a good choice for thinner rugs. As with all wool, Merino wool is sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable.

Alpaca Wool

Alpaca wool comes from the fleece of the alpaca which is native to South America. Alpaca is a popular choice for plush, hand-tufted shag rugs. When combined with silk, Alpaca shags gain an attractive luster and incredible softness. We also offer a beautiful Alpaca boucle flatweave with a hand-bound border. Made in Peru, our Alpaca wool rugs can be created in a solid color, and they can also be tweeded with 2 or 4 colors. However, they cannot be made into a pattern.

Chinese Silk

Used in Nepal, this luxurious fiber absorbs dyes extremely well and yields rich saturated colors with a translucent luster and unmatched brilliance. Silk is extremely high in tensile strength. Because silk yarns are much thinner and finer than wool, more silk is needed per square foot of rug.

Bangalore Silk

Only available in India and from the region of Bangalore, this hand carded and pot dyed silk creates a very antique, striated appearance. Used for our Persian knot rugs, Bangalore silk has a very soft, velvet-like texture.


A less expensive alternative to silk, Tencel is a man-made textile made from a natural cellulose fiber. Rugs made from Tencel provide rich color saturation, excellent durability and soft texture. Tencel rugs can be produced using various construction techniques, from hand-tufted to flatweave.


The strongest and finest of the vegetable fibers, linen has two to three times the strength of cotton. Our linen fibers from India and Nepal have a high luster, and their natural color includes shades of ivory, ecru, tan and grey. The longer and softer strands create the look of the perfect cross breed of hemp and silk. Because linen doesn’t stretch or “bounce back” as quickly as other fibers, it’s not recommended for high traffic areas.

Nepalese Hemp

Nepalese hemp comes from the cannabis sativa plant which grows in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in Nepal. Hemp is strong and holds its shape, stretching less than other fibers. Hemp naturally softens over time. It doesn’t wear out, rather it “wears in.” Its natural color and texture ranges from very dark brown/black to greys, tans and golds. Hemp has a 10-15% variance on dye consistency.

Indian Hemp

Also referred to as jute, Indian hemp has a more brilliant sheen and softer hand than the Nepalese plant. Additionally, the natural tones of Indian hemp fibers are more dark brown than golden.


Allo grows wild in the high altitudes of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. Allo comes from the stalk of the giant Himalayan nettle plant, which grows to a height of 10 feet. Very durable and suitable for outdoor rugs, allo is naturally mildew resistant and ideal for hot and humid areas. Softer than hemp, Allo can be bleached into a bright powder white.


Sunpat comes from a small fibrous cactus that grows in the warmer Himalayan valley. What makes this fiber unique are its characteristic light and dark striations which give rugs an attractive abrash effect. Extremely durable, sunpat has more luster and softness than allo.


A “green” choice, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) rugs are made from recycled water bottles and other plastics which are melted down and spun into fibers. PET is a member of the polyester family of polymers. Suitable for both outdoor and indoor use, PET rugs are naturally stain-resistant and don’t require the chemical treatments used on most nylon rugs. Man-made PET fibers retain their colors and resist fading from sun exposure.


Another “green” choice, polypropylene (PP) is a synthetic fiber derived from a thermoplastic polymer. PP is the second-most commonly produced plastic in the world.

One of the greatest benefits of this man-made fiber is that it can’t absorb any moisture. PP is also easy to clean, super strong and fade resistant which makes it ideal for floor coverings in outdoor spaces and high traffic areas.

About Blends

A blend is a combination of two fibers that are mixed prior to spinning the yarn. Blends produce an overall subtlety and understated sophistication. Less directional than solid silks or other shiny fibers, a blend reduces the appearance of foot prints.

Popular blends are wool and silk, and wool and tencel. Rugs made from a wool blend are easier to maintain because they contain lanolin, a natural, self-cleaning oil exuded by sheep.

About Tweeding

Tweeding gives a rug an interesting pixelated look. The process occurs before the rug is woven, and involves twisting together various yarns and/or fibers of different colors to achieve the desired effect.

A tweed of two or more colors can create a textured “salt and pepper” effect. Tweeding several closely related colors can mimic the look of an abrash or textured fiber, such as hemp or allo, for those who like the look but not the feel of those fibers.

View our Fibers & Techniques book