Since the Second World War Nain, a small town in central Iran, has been at the forefront of oriental carpet design. The carpets from this area are created in variety of sizes and embody exceptional quality and workmanship. Because Nain has a relatively short history of carpet production many of the elegant designs are borrowed from neighbouring Isfahan, with ornate medallion and floral Arabesque designs commonplace. Diverse shades of light blue dominate the palette and are often interspersed with ivory and light grey tones, producing a classical and refined look. Hard wearing and decorative, Nain carpets are very attractive to both the domestic and European markets due to their fine craftsmanship and appealing design. The pile is usually clipped quite short and silk is often used in the detailing.
In terms of quality designation, Nain carpets are measured by "Laa" which is the term given to the cotton threads in the warp; Nola is a 9 ply warp technically 3 three ply strands corded and is generally among the coarser of Nain output. Shisla is a 6 ply warp technically 3 two ply strands corded, typically dense in structure and finely detailed. Charla is a 4 ply warp technically 2 two ply strands corded, extremely fine, with substantial highlights of silk and seldom produced.
Habibian is the most well reknowned name in Nain workshop rugs. Started by Fatollah and his brother Mohammad Habibian in 1903, this workshop has become synonymous with exemplary quality and exquisite detailing that is seldom seen elsewhere in the region. With a smaller output of carpets in varying sizes and rendered exclusively with a 4 or 6 laa designation, the artisan rugs created under the name Habibian have now survived two generations of master weavers, with the current incarnation that of Fatollah's Grandson, Mamud Reza Habibi. All Habibian rugs have the most pleasing colour combinations and greatest execution and can be identified by a signature of the workshop that centres the main border. The demand for these rugs has become such that inauthentic signatures are sometimes knotted into other Nain rugs, but these replications can be identified by a knowledgeable dealer.