Different leather grades and genuine leather's darkest secret

Dear friends!

As you know there is a vast majority of different leather types, but do you know that each of them has different grades as well? Today we want to speak a little about a few broadly used in the leather industry.

These are:
  • Full grain leather
  • Top grain leather
  • Split grain leather
  • Genuine leather
  • Bonded leather

Full grain leather

This is the leather we use for our goods. You can read more about it in our blog post from Nov. 6, 2018.

In short: full grain leather is the most durable and resistant leather with a beautiful patina which develops as it matures based on your lifestyle.

Top grain leather
This is the second-highest quality leather. As the name suggests, it has a split layer with imperfections taken away, making it thinner and more functional for the manufacturer.

This leather grade has a finish applied such as aniline or chrome, giving it a uniform look and an even feel. While this finish takes away most of the breathability, it prevents stains and dirt, making it possible for the leather to preserve its original appearance. Both procedures are environmentally harmful, and we consciously reject them though.

Split grain leather
Is also known as suede/velour and nubuck leather. It is the back side of the leather skin and has a so-called napped surface. Technically it is made by removing the top grain layer.

Suede and nubuck both feel great, but are less durable because they are thinner and absorb liquid quite easily due to their permeable surface.

Genuine leather
Also known as true leather, real leather, 100% leather (In Germany, Echt Leder), which, in reality, is a marketing term used to sell to the public.

Marketers love using the term genuine leather because products that usually are described as genuine are perceived by customers as valuable, expensive, and of very high quality. However, this leather is made from the bottom cut. Although it still can be technically regarded as leather, it doesn't have any grain and is heavily processed, resulting in the lowest quality in comparison to the leather grades mentioned above. We bet most of you didn't know it. 

Bonded leather
The last grade is called bonded/reconstructed leather. Similar to wood chips when sawing, leather scraps and leftovers are bonded together with various polymers and fillers such as polyurethane to create something that appears like leather. You probably can guess its quality. Commonly used in cheap furniture and accessory manufacturing.

Hopefully, this basic overview helps you to make better decisions on which products to buy and give as presents to your friends, pets and family :).

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