Leather is crafted from animal hide that has been tanned. It is one of the oldest human inventions and has been widely applied in many fields. In current days it is mainly used in handbags, clothes, belts, shoes and other fashion accessories.
Different kinds of lather are found by the kind of animal skins employed and the tanning and manufacturing methods used. The most commonly used hide are manufactured from cowhide, but leather from other animals such as eel, kangaroos, ostriches as well as other animals are also a great hit in the fashion industry.
The Tanning Process
Tannin and other vegetable matter such as tree bark can be adopted to tan the hide. With chemical mix, it can get desired colors.
Alum-tanned leather is a kind of leather made with aluminium salts. Compared with vegetable tanned skins, it is less supple, but it can be made into much lighter shades than vegetable tanning. Both vegetable and alum-tanned leather will rot in water.
Chromium salt tanned leather is a creative brand new method of tanning that leaves the hides very supple and much more water resistant.
Brain-tanned leather or buckskin is much softer and washable. This kind of tanning process requires more time to manufacture and cost more than the methods as mentioned above.
Different grades of hides
Full-grain leather is crafted from the best quality hides, which is mainly used in the top quality products. This type of leather is not altered from the original hide other than removing the hair and tanning the hide.
To hide imperfections in the raw materials and give an artificial grain, top-grain leather is sanded on one side. The other side of top-grain leather is fuzzy. Suede is fuzzy on both sides since it is cut from the inside of an animal hide.
Patent leather, shimmering and sleek, is crafted by coating the leather with plastic.
Napa leather, known for its softness, is crafted from the hide of a calf fetus.
Italian leather is the most famous in the fashion field, especially those made in Milan and Florence. Only top quality hides are adopted with the best dyes and chemicals to make superior quality leather used by the fashion industry.
When buying leather handbags, don’t miss out stamped markings that state full-grain, top-grain or leather. Knowing about the type of leather the bag is manufactured from will give you a clue as to how the item will feel.