Different Types Of Leather Used To Make Handbags, Purses And Belts

Leather is made from animal hide which has been tanned. Is it one of the oldest human inventions and has been used in many applications. Today it is used mainly in clothing for belts, shoes, purses and leather handbags.

Different types of leather are found by the type of animal skins used and the tanning and manufacturing methods employed. The most commonly used hide are made from cow hide, but leather from other animals, such as eel, kangaroos and ostriches, are also popular in the fashion industry.

The Tanning Process

The hide can be tanned with vegetable-based products using tannin and other vegetable matter such as tree bark. The desired colour is obtained by using a chemical mix.

  • Alum-tanned leather, is made with aluminium salts. It is less supple than vegetable tanned skins, 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 new method of tanning which leaves the hides very supple and more water resistant.
  • Brain-tanned leather or buckskin is washable and significantly softer. This type of tanning process is time-consuming to produce and so is more costly than the methods described above.

Different grades of hides

  • Full-grain leather is made from the best quality hides. This is used in the finest products. This type of leather is not altered from the original hide other than removing the hair and tanning the hide.
  • Top-grain leather is sanded on one side and given an artificial grain in order to hide imperfections in the raw material. The other side of top-grain leather is fuzzy. Suede is fuzzy on both sides, as it is cut from the inside of an animal hide.
  • Patent leather, is very shiny and smooth, which is made by coating the leather with plastic.
  • Napa leather is known for its softness, as it is made from the hide of a calf fetus.
  • Italian leather is best known in the fashion industry, especially those produced in Milan and Florence. Only the best hides are used with high quality dyes and chemicals, to produce top quality leather used by the fashion industry.

When purchasing leather products look for the stamped markings, that state full-grain, top-grain or leather. If your buying online knowing the type of leather the handbag, purse or belt is made from will give you a guide as to how the item will feel.

Deelite.co.uk have a wide range of leather handbags from established designers Makki (famous for Eel skin leather hand bags) Penelope & Parker, Helen Rochfort, Steven Harkin, Urbancode, Aksuona, Mala Leather, Laguna London and many more.

by Peter Toner; Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 12:42 AM [2421]

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