Leather: An Investment in Quality, Durability and Satisfaction

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Leather is considered a luxury material and, as such, can be a costly investment. Because there are so many types and grades of leather, whether you’re shopping for clothing, footwear, accessories, luggage, handbags or furniture, it’s important to know what you’re looking at to ensure you get the quality you want at a fair price.

Leather facts

Leather is the skin of an animal that’s been prepared in order to preserve it and to make it supple. That being said, all leather is not created equal. The most common leathers are made of, in descending order of popularity, cow, sheep, goat, and pig. The fact that an item is made of leather, however, does not ensure that it’s a quality piece. Many factors go into determining high quality, valuable and durable leather goods.

Determining leather quality

Leather is graded according to its quality; better quality being more valuable.

  • Grade 1 (aka full-grain) leather is extremely smooth, supple, clear of defects and consistent in color.
  • Grade 2 leather has slight imperfections and a less-consistent color.
  • Grade 3 leather is blotchy, has inconsistent color and feels stiff due to the coatings applied to hide its numerous imperfections.

In the finishing process, leather can be treated with one of the following:

  • Aniline dye is sheer and penetrates the leather. allowing its natural beauty and character show through.
  • Surface dye is a topical coating which covers the leather’s natural appearance.

Trust your senses to determine quality leather

You can tell a lot about a leather piece’s quality by experiencing it in person.

  • Look – Even stitching, consistent color and few blemishes indicate quality. Pay specific attention to the edges of a leather piece. If the leather in the middle appears blue the piece (for cost-cutting reasons) has been only partially tanned and will be susceptible to cracking and fading when exposed to sunlight.
  • Smell – You pick up on the unmistakable scent of leather.
  • Feel – Quality leather will be smooth to the touch, supple and flexible.

Leather terminology

Because leather is a luxury material, it is highly sought-after. Manufacturers recognize that using the word, “leather,” imbues a product with a certain cache and quality, whether it actually deserves it or not. Understanding leather terminology will help you know precisely what you’re buying.

Split leather is  made by splitting a piece of leather into two layers. This is a means to produce a more economical (and lower quality) leather.

  • Top grain – This first layer is sanded down and chemically processed, resulting in a leather that’s less breathable with a “plastic” feel.
  • Split grain – This remaining layer is often made into suede or embossed to look like a full grain leather, while being thinner and less durable than the real thing.

It’s important to recognize that the term “genuine leather” provides no guarantee as to the quality of the leather used – only that it is some kind of leather.

Also note that some manufacturers advertise their product is made “with” full-grain leather. Again, this only really says that some of the leather is full-grain.

Make the most of your leather investment

You needn’t pay full retail price for leather. Consider semi-annual sales and buying “last season’s” goods at discount retailers. After Christmas is an ideal time to purchase leather goods. As for resale value, high quality leather holds its value, so you can recoup a good part of your leather investments on Etsy and eBay should you tire of them while they’re still gently used.

As long as you know that what you’re buying is worth the money, leather pays off in quality, durability and satisfaction.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: