The story of RugNet is the story of founder Emmert Elsea. Emmert was born in White Post, VA and in 1966, after a stint in the U.S. Army, he spent a year backpacking through Europe, the Middle East and Asia where he discovered his passion for hand-knotted rugs. 

Emmert returned to the U.S. and became an Oriental rug retailer in Leesburg, Va, as well as an importer and wholesaler. He was recognized as one of the U.S.’s leading experts in hand-knotted imported rugs, often working as an expert for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to identify Persian rugs illegally smuggled into the U.S. 

After many trips traveling to the Middle and Far East, Emmert, officially retired but he couldn’t stay away for long. He wanted to utilize his contacts to collect a few top-quality hand-knotted rugs to sell at discounted “warehouse” prices. In 2015, he founded and continued to fulfill his life-long passion to share the love of these special rugs with others.

Sadly, Emmert passed away suddenly in May 2022. However, the RugNet family remains dedicated to preserving Emmert’s legacy and heritage, curating only the best examples of hand-knotted rugs. Emmert’s collection is still available at discounted prices on RugNet and the collection will continue to expand to only include the best quality rugs and prices.

To learn more about the beauty, value and care of rugs, explore our site to find something of lasting value that your family and future generations will enjoy and treasure. If we can help in any way, please email us at