After a rug has faded from exposure to strong sunlight, you can push down between the fibers to see the original color hiding under the faded area. This lets you know that only the top layer of wool is faded, and the original color is waiting to be revealed. In the photo below, you can see how the top layer of this red rug has turned almost white from sun bleaching.
A standard set of tools is used by the rug restoration specialist to remove just the top layer of wool, revealing the brighter wool underneath. In the photo, you see the spray bottle of water that wets the wool as it is sheared, the shearing blade that glides across the surface of the rug to remove the faded wool, the whetstone that sharpens the blade as we go, and the whisk broom that sweeps away the wool "dust" created by shearing.
As shearing is completed section by section, the wool that is removed appears as a fine dust that is just swept away and discarded. The thickness of the rug is only minimally impacted by shearing, as just the finest layer necessary is removed across the surface of the whole rug. In the photo below, little specks of pink wool have collected next to the area being sheared.
A little section of the rug below has been sheared to reveal the warm rose color previously obscured by the pale pink wool that laid over it. Originally, before the sun did its worst, all of the washed out, pale pink areas in the photo were this stronger shade of rose.
The image below is a single photo. The black line has been added to make very clear the division between the sheared and unsheared areas of the rug. This rug went from almost powder pink back to the vibrant lipstick red of the original.
And let's close this one out by showing how the rug pictured above looks after being freshly sheared. The former ruby glory of this handmade Persian Sarouk has been fully restored!