Whether you are looking for leather furniture or leather accessories, purchasing a quality leather product requires solicitous consideration. That's because it involves investing a pretty penny when buying these products. Therefore, you need to get two things right; how to recognize the finest leather and where you can buy it.
Leather industry has been in existence for centuries as among the oldest economic segments in human civilization. Leather was well-known to be used to create important clothing like armor, gloves, and footwear as well as bottles, buckets, and weapons. Due to the industrial revolution that brought different types of new technological innovations; the process of leather making has been improved. This has seen new and advanced use of leather in furniture, accessories, and garments.
In the U.S, the total export value of hides and skin industry is known to be about $3 billion dollars per year. The industry exports about 90% of the aggregate leather inventory. Research indicates that the industry is expected to grow yearly by about 5% from the year 2017-2021. As of 2017, the aggregate market value for the industry was $217.49 billion.
Generally, there are 4 kinds of leather; full-grain, top grain, corrected grain, and bonded leather. Different types of leather have varying properties and uses, with full-grain and top-grain leather being the most sought-after and widely used. This article will focus on these two types of leather.
What Is Full-Grain Aniline and Semi-aniline Leather?
Full-grain aniline leather is the utmost quality leather and is known to be used by the high fashion brands and top quality products. It retains the original tough fibers and the imperfections of the hides as it involves no surface alterations. This gives it a unique characteristic look.
Dying of leather is an important process that gives leather its color and finish. The leather is dyed exclusively with soluble dyes that penetrates through the leather dyeing it through and out.
This results in a product that shows all the natural surface pores, scars etc. You may also see a very slight color variation on the hide due where different parts of the hide absorb the dye at a different rate. However, because it has no surface coating, it requires very high maintenance. Anything including water can stain the leather when spilled on the leather. It is not heat resistant and excessive sunlight exposure can dull the color as well as dry it out.
The full-grain semi-aniline is the same leather but has a light surface finish; making it easier to maintain when compared to the full-grain aniline grain leather. The light pigments helps protect it from the sun and the environment while still keep it breathable. It is a wonderful combination of durable and naturally soft leather. So, it is the most favored type of leather for luxury and high quality garments and bags.
Overall It is the most luxurious type of leather finish and has an incredibly natural soft feel due to the lack of heavy surface pigment. These characteristics all attract a higher cost as well.
Full-grain leather tends to get more attractive with age as the natural patina builds-up over time. The aniline leather is known to change, stain and mark, to soften into the rich patina over time. There is no doubt that full-grain leather ages elegantly and naturally.
What Is Top Grain Leather?
It is considered the second best quality of leather, after top grain leather, among the other types of leather; it has been buffed off or sanded to eliminate imperfections and blemishes. As a result, a top coat has been applied to conserve its beautiful look to cover the hides’ natural traits.
This top coat pigment layer is helpful for protecting the leather at the sacrifice of its natural feel and look. This provides a uniform appearance with no natural markings. It does not have the soft supple feel of the aniline or semi aniline leathers.
Top grain leather is not a strong and durable when compared to full grain. They are ideal for products that require little maintenance. The end products can be jackets, bags and furniture.
Characteristics of Full-Grain Aniline and Semi-aniline vs Top Grain Leather
Full-grain aniline leather is the most expensive type of leather as it is made using the extremely best raw skins or hides. Therefore, it attracts higher costs. Full-grain semi-aniline leather comes second in terms of affordability and lastly, the top grain leather.
The full-grain aniline leather displays the characteristics of natural leather like growth marks, insect bites, scratches, healed scars, and fat wrinkles. The natural characteristics of the hides in semi-aniline are not as natural as in aniline leather because of the light coating. There are no imperfections displayed on a top grain leather as they are covered by pigment or polymer finish.
● Softness and Suppleness
Because full-grain aniline leather lack surface coating, it is known to be the most supple and softest type of leather available on the market. Its aniline dye absorbs in different quantities depending on the structure of the skin cells. Semi-aniline is soft and supple as it has light finish followed by the top grain leather.
Top grain leather has a pigment or polymer coating which makes it the most durable leather among aniline and semi-aniline leather. Aniline leather fades when it is exposed to sunlight and it will scratch easily as opposed to semi-aniline and top grain which are protected.
Top grain and full-grain semi-aniline leather products are easiest to clean as you are required to use gentle soap and water together with dusting regularly will keep them clean and beautiful for many years. Due to their coatings, these types of leather are stain resistant.
The full-grain aniline leather is most expensive to maintain as it’s not stain-resistant. Drops of some liquids on the leather might leave a permanent stain due to its permeability. Using distilled water to clean aniline leather may damage it and it requires the use of leather conditions, waterproofing or creams meant for such kind of leather.
Aniline leather and semi aniline leathers boast of finest comfort as it has no coating on its surface. This way, it is able to absorb moisture as well as breathe easily.
While the final choice is solely up to you, some of the details that this article has highlighted above will keep you in the ideal direction. You should consider your budget because in some cases, budget outweighs the beautiful traits of the kind of leather you want.
Leathers can seem alike on their surfaces, however; not all of them have been created equally. They are different in quality, their performance, how it feels and looks. Full-grain aniline leather has distinctive features as it has real skin feel, flexible and light; whereas semi-aniline and top grain are smooth leathers because of coating on their surfaces.
You are advised to go through the above unique characteristics relating to each leather kind so that you can make an informed decision. Leather has remained trending for many years and is still anticipated to be fashionable for unforeseeable years to come. Therefore, there is a wide range of leather products such as belts, wallets, jackets, pants, bags, and furniture among other products for you. You can find a personalized, custom fit, custom designed , preferred color and handmade product that you desire.