Feb 23, 2020

Four Types of Leather

There are basically four types of leather, although there are other designations, such as suede, reconstituted, etc. Italian leather is just leather from Italy.

Full-grain leather is the highest quality and longest-lasting type. It is characterized by its luxurious, smooth surface and it has few, if any, flaws. It is the most popular type of leather. It has not been snuffed, sanded, or buffed to remove any natural marks or imperfections from its surface. It is used in making high-quality footwear and furniture. The second layer or lower layer of the skin left after removing the full grain layer is the split suede and will be suede on both sides.

Top-grain leather is second highest quality and what you will find in fine leather goods and designer stores. It has better stain resistance and is less expensive than full-grain leather.

Split leather or corrected grain leather, also known as genuine leather, is produced using the skin layers that remain after the top is split off and from the corium. Split leather tends to be tougher in texture due to the fact that is resides under the top layers and is mostly used in applications that do not require the leather to be soft, like furniture backs and sides. Usually, the surface is spray painted and embossed with a leather-like pattern to resemble natural appearance. Genuine leather is made from real leather, but is lower in quality.

Bonded leather is the lowest and cheapest grade of leather. It is made up of leftovers from the hide, including dust and shavings. These are bonded together using polyurethane or latex on top of a fiber sheet. It is often spray-painted to look like full or top grain leather. It is used on low end furniture and book bindings.

Incidentally, drop a small amount of water on a sample. Real leather absorbs moisture. If the good is fake, the water will puddle up on top, but real leather will absorb a small drop of water in a few seconds, showing it is genuine.

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