Buying Leather A Few Quick Tips
The recent surge in supply, beef consumption and cattle trade have brought down the cost of leather. With leather sofas now at price points as attractive as faux look-alikes, many consumers are now thinking about buying genuine leather.
Not all leathers are the same! Leathers are evaluated by the size and the amount of natural characteristics that are a part of all hides. Hides with little to no markings are rare and prized. A type of leather such as aniline leathers will show marks of nature such as neck wrinkles and healed scars. These leathers are also prized because over time will develop a lustrous patina.
When you are at the furniture retail store look for top grain leather, which comes from the soft outer surface of a cowhide. Leather taken from the inner surface is split grain and is not as durable.
Aniline (also known as full or pure aniline) leather is only dyed for color and will not include a protective finish. Only the best hides are used for this luxurious type of leather. If you have children or do not want your leather to naturally age stay away from aniline leathers.
Semi-Aniline leathers have a small amount of pigment but are still aniline dyed. The touch of pigment gives them a slightly better protection against fading and stains.
Pigmented or protected leathers are typically the least expensive. These type of hides are used for certain applications such as automotive or contract use because protected leathers are also stain and scuff resistant. Please note that added pigments aren’t a bad thing. In addition to lowering the price these leathers will also be more color consistent and provide a defense to fading, stains and scratching. In other words, protected leathers are perfect for a family with children and pets!
Of course there are other types of leather such as suede and embossed leathers. These leathers are more specialty and can be found in a variety of colors and textures. Embossed leathers are printed or stamped on the leather which results in a beautiful pattern such as crocodile, floral or lizard.
For more information and education on leather please visit Wikipedia.