In the late 1970s, Pakistani rugmakers came up with a new product, known in the trade as the Pakistani Persian or the Pakistani 16/18, which is still made. As the second name implies, the knot-count of these rugs is a nominal 16 by 18 per square inch, for a total of 288 knots per square inch. That is really quite a finely knotted rug, and the production has enjoyed deserved success.
Designs almost always are Persian, the pile is Australian or New Zealand wool, body is very heavy, colors, though synthetic, are well chosen and attractive. They are sold in three grades called A, B, and C.
It interests me that three different weavers, all working with the same number of knots per square inch, and all weaving the same design, produce rugs that differ radically in quality. Grade A Pakistani Persians are impressively clear on their surfaces. Details are discernible, designs are coherent. Grade C rugs, with the same number of knots per inch, seem out of focus, muddy, confused. What accounts for the difference? The weaver’s skill. The rugs are graded upon completion, and weavers paid on that basis.
Most likely, Pakistani Persian rugs were produced to fill the vacuum created when the U.S. ceased trading with Iran. At a time when U.S. dealers were no longer able to buy Persian rugs, Pakistani Persians were practically the only finely knotted, Persian-looking rugs available.