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A quick guide to understanding leather grades from your Denver leather store

November 23, 2021

If you have ever wondered what type of leather to buy, the folks at Jonval are here to help! From top-grain to genuine leather, we are ready to give you some expert tips on how to recognize leather qualities or grades. Whether this is your first leather purchase or twentieth, understanding the key traits of the common leather grades can help you shop with confidence. Review our guide below and become a leather pro!

Full grain and top grain

While full and top grain leathers are both typically made from the best part of the cow hide, however there are a few differences. Although all leather is created by tanning a cow hide, full grain leather is the least processed. This leaves the hide mostly intact, allowing its natural imperfections and markings to remain. This quality leather is also extremely durable, but only somewhat water resistant. Full grain jackets also develop a thin layer of protection over time, called a patina. This protective layer helps guard your leather jacket from wear and tear, but also adds a beautiful luster to the material.

Although full grain is considered by some to be the highest-end of leather grades, top grain may be the most popular. While both leather grades are made from the top layer of the cowhide, top grain is created through a process called splitting. This means that the hide’s outer layer and hair is removed. The material is then sanded and smoothed, which removes many of its larger imperfections. This makes top-grain leather slightly thinner and more flexible than full grain, while also providing a more durable and stain resistant leather.

Split grain and suede

This common leather grade is often considered to be at the lower end of quality. While these leather varieties are often more affordable than their full and top grain counterparts, they do not contain any of the hide’s original markings. Typically made from the bottom of the cowhide, this type of leather is frequently softer and more pliable. Suede, the most common form of split-grain leather, is a great option for those seeking a cost-effective leather good. Although it is important to note that split-grain varieties may offer less durability than other leather grades.

Genuine leather

Also made from the bottom on the cowhide, this leather grade is even more processed than split-grain. Frequently the least expensive leather available, genuine leather products tend to be more fragile and less luxurious than higher quality grades.

Have questions about leather grades or purchasing a Denver leather jacket? Our experts at Jonval Leather and Fur are ready to help! With a wide variety of leather (and fur) jackets at your disposal, we can find, or design, the jacket that is perfect for you and matches your style. Visit our showroom to view our incredible inventory of fur and leather or give our team a call at 720-377-1555. You can also stop by to have your fur or leather pieces repaired, cleaned, or stored. Call us today to learn more!