Take a look at your belt, wallet or even your bracelet. Chances are it probably says Genuine Leather and chances are you probably think it' is of amazing quality, right? Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you but there's levels to the leather game. Don't worry, by the end of this you'll have a new love and appreciation for Top Grain Leather.
So what is Top Grain Leather? Why is it better than Genuine Leather? And most importantly, why should you care? Before I explain and answer your burning questions, you should understand the different types of leathers and their rank. There are essentially four types of leather and they are as follows:
- Full Grain Leather
- Top Grain Leather
- Suede Grain Leather
- Bonded, Fiber or Genuine Leather
How many of you knew that? If you did, then you're in the know. If you didn't, well join the majority. If you noticed I made sure to list the leathers from highest to lowest quality. I know... I know it hurts but your Genuine Leather accessory is the lowest quality of leather there is. Yes, all those expensive name brand designer products you've bought that have those magical words " Genuine Leather " are made using the leftovers. Let's explore what that means; keep reading.
Hopefully, we all know that leather comes from cows. If you don't, then I envy your strength in physically removing the rock you've been blissfully living under. Genuine Leather is just that; it is genuinely leather meaning it meets the minimum requirement of leather. Now think about it this way. When you go to a restaurant and order food, are you expecting the best fresh quality, or the scraps from the food the day before? I thought so. With Genuine Leather that's basically what you're getting.
Genuine Leather is made up using the remnants and scraps from the garments and shoe factories that have been recycled. Then these scraps are bonded together using an adhesive into fabric by the application of a synthetic material or hair cell. This gives the finished product a suede back and a smooth appearance and feel. Genuine Leather is essentially 49 - 51% Leather.
Now, you know the bulk of the truth. I promise good news is on the way! Let's take a look at the other types of leather; mainly Full and Top Grain. When you think of Full and Top Grain Leathers think of the best and second runners up. This will help you understand their similarities and very slight differences.
Going back to how leather is produced, Full Grain Leather is the upper- outermost layer of the hide which is then split into various layers and thicknesses. This allows for the leather to remain in it's natural condition with scars and hair cells present and visible. Many collectors look for this when authenticating the material. Due to the purity of this leather, it can be colored and given various protective finishes that won't harm its originality. Full Grain Leather is the most durable and valuable layer of the hide, therefore earning the name. Now doesn't that sound fabulous.
Last, but certainly not least, we have drum roll please... Top Grain Leather! Are you ready for the best of both worlds? Produced slightly different than Full Grain, Top Grain Leather is made by removing the outermost layer that Full Grain keeps by sanding and buffing. Doing this creates a thinner layer than that of Full Grain Leather. This process separates the " levels " I mentioned earlier. Here's the best part! When Top Grain Leather is produced, imperfections and blemishes are removed during the sanding and buffing process. This provides a completely smooth, scar- free leather. It gets better... Top Grain Leather still maintains the same durability as Full Grain Leather just without the scars. Best of both worlds.
So, why should you care? I imagine like myself you work hard everyday and expect the nice things you spend money on to last. This should include your accessories. Rule of thumb; spend a little more now and get the best value for your money.
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