Take a close look at some of your leather goods or visit a leather store in Denver to look at the products that they sell. You may have never noticed this before, but leather goods are all stamped with one of three things. You will either see the words genuine leather, top-grain leather, or full-grain leather on these goods, but what do each of these mean? Here’s what you need to know:
You may think that genuine leather is preferable because the name indicates that it’s real leather, but this is actually the lowest quality of all real leathers. If a product is made out of genuine leather, it means it consists of several layers of low quality leather that are glued together and then painted to look like more expensive leather.
This type of leather is typically used to create belts, shoes, and bags that are fairly low in price. Genuine leather products will not hold up well over time, so you shouldn’t expect to keep these products around for long.
Top-grain leather is not the lowest quality leather, but it’s not the highest quality leather either. To make top-grain leather, manufacturers split open a strip of full-grain leather, sand away the imperfections, and then create an inauthentic grain in the leather. Manufacturers often color this leather as well to give it a more high-end look. Top-grain leather is more durable than genuine leather, but it still will not hold up as well over time as full-grain leather. This type of leather is fairly resistant to stains, so if this is important to you, keep this in mind the next time you shop for a leather good.
Chances are you have products that are made out of top-grain leather in your closet right now. In fact, most wallets and handbags are made out of top-grain leather, even those that are sold by household name brands. Read a lesson in leather: what’s the difference between full-grain and top-grain
Finally, there is full-grain leather, which is the highest quality of all real leather. To create full-grain leather, manufacturers use the entire grain of hide without worrying about whether there are imperfections on it or not. However, high end companies may not use strips of full-grain leather that have noticeable imperfections.
Full-grain leather is incredibly durable and is often used to make holsters, briefcases, expensive dress shoes for men and women, and other premium leather products. Whereas other types of leather will begin to look worse and worse over time, full-grain leather ages very well and will look better as time goes on. Full-grain leather products are more expensive than other leather goods, but they are well worth the investment because of how long they will last.
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