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A Beginner’s Guide to Leather

Guide to leather

Hi, It’s Aira from Unique Leather Bags & Today I am going to give you everything you need to know about leather. Starting with where it comes from – Its history, types, and how it is made – how to differentiate between real & synthetic leather?

Real leather is not synthetically manufactured. It is made from animal skin and most commonly, cowhide. However, exotic leathers like snake and alligator, as well as goat and buffalo leathers, are also available. The cows’ leather, which accounts for only 5% of the animal’s value, is often called a byproduct of the meat and dairy industries. The hides of animals hunted for meat were used by early humans before technological advances made mass production possible.


China, India, Brazil, and Pakistan are currently the top producers of tanned leather. These hides are often obtained from animals in these countries and then sent to other countries for processing. A UK company might purchase the leather from China, then ship it in a refrigerated box to Italy. There they can then re-import the leather to the UK to sell. Although leather is made in other countries, around 70% of all leather products worldwide are made in China.


Historical leather has been tested and it was found that many animals were used to make their skin. People would use all the animal’s resources for food, shelter, and tools. This is why they began using animals as skin. Modern tanning of leather has been possible because technology has allowed for an increase in livestock and agriculture. it was used in the Middle Ages for footwear, clothing, bags, trunks, trunks, saddles, and other items. It was also used in military applications. Many leather articles were found on the Tudor ship Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.

You can learn more about leather history here!


Research shows that leather is 65% cows, 15% sheep, 11% pigs, and 9% goats. Only 0.2% of leather is from any other animal. Keeping this in mind, some leather products that are unique and intriguing are made from the most uncommon and least common hides.

Cowhide is one of today’s most sought-after leathers. It is a byproduct of the meat and dairy industries and is readily available all over the world. However, cowhide is also one of the most durable leathers. Cowhide weighs between 1 and 12 ounces more than other leather sources and is therefore a better choice for furniture, jackets, and coats.

Sheepskin, which is second in popularity after cowhide, is often tanned without fleece. This allows it to drape well and can be used for clothing and jackets. It is used for making slippers and rugs because of its fleece.

Pigs produce denser leather that is more durable than any other animal. It’s very durable and comfortable, making it ideal for the manufacture of shoes, gloves, and sportswear.

It is used to make rugs, bags, and gloves from goat skin. It is thinner than cowhide and more malleable.

Although exotic leathers such as alligator, snake, and crocodile skin can be found in Asia, many consider them unethical as they are not byproducts and some animals are endangered. Due to its unique texture, Ostrich skin is a popular choice for designer labels. It is mostly imported from Africa where it is used for its feathers, meat, and eggs.


Tanners can use a variety of methods to brown leather hides. Vegetable tanning and chrome tanning are the most popular. The most expensive leather products are usually made from chrome tanning, which involves the use of chemicals, acids, and salts. Vegetable-tanned hides can be more time-consuming and laborious. This is why products made with vegetable-tanned hides tend to be more expensive. This process involves the use of tree bark and tannin to create more expensive leather products. Learn more about vegetable tanning here.


Leather is a natural product so it is important that you preserve and condition it. You can purchase many products that will prolong the leather’s life. Acid-treated leather is more susceptible to red rot, which can cause changes in the leather’s texture. This change can’t be reversed but there are treatments that can be used to prevent it from getting too damaged.


Because of its durability and unique finish, leather is used in all things from car seats to handbags. it is a common byproduct of the meat- and dairy industries. Many people are happy to purchase leather products. Vegans and vegetarians might prefer to use “vegan” leather over leather products. While vegan leather may sound like an eco-friendly option, some vegan leathers pose a greater threat to the environment than real leather. Learn more about vegan leather by clicking here.

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