It’s important first and foremost to understand the three different types of leather. The type can usually be located on the bottom side or inside a leather good. The leather quality will be stamped appropriately with genuine leather, full grain, or top grain leather. Whether buying a leather handbag, briefcase, shoes or a jacket it’s important to know just what to look for.
This not only means the product in hand is made of true leather, but surprisingly it tells the buyer that this is the lowest quality of any products available. Confusing, right?
Anyone that wants a long lasting, good looking leather handbag should avoid genuine leather. It’s common in belts, shoes and bags found in value shops and stores, and oddly costs more than it’s worth – especially in the mall where shoppers think they are getting primo goods, but are unaware that “genuine” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s made up of layers of low quality leather that are glued and painted to mimic their high-quality counterparts. We’re talking layers of scrap from the good portions being cut away.
This grade is okay when it comes to leather, but only if the wearer is unconcerned about the overall quality. It won’t last long, especially if worn every day.
Searching for fine leather goods? This is the grade that is typically found when seeking it out. It is mid-quality and used in most leather handbags as well as wallets and belts for men that are under a designer brand name.
The process for this grade of leather is to split a portion of full-grain leather and sand any imperfections away. It often comes with a fake grain stamped on it and is colored and treated to appear uniform. While this sounds cheap, it’s not nearly as bad as the genuine leather.
To the trained eye, they feel it has a more plastic finish and understand it is not as durable as full-grain. It does end up with a worn look over time, but has vibrant color. So it is a give and take when it comes to investing in this type of leather.
This is the best quality leather as it uses the entire grain of hide along with imperfections. It’s most popular for things like gun holsters or work boots, but is also found in high end belts, briefcases, and more. It is marked with imperfections from the animal it comes from sometimes, but high end companies will pay more for the pieces that aren’t scarred.
The best quality of full-grain leather is that the older it gets the more beautiful it becomes. Like a fine wine it ages gracefully, however it is much pricier than others. Many prefer to think of it as an investment as it will never need replacement as long as it is cared for correctly.
Avoiding bonded, patent and corrected grain leather is advised. If one must go with a lower quality leather handbag, then it’s best to choose genuine. Although, it is possible when shopping both online and off to find a steal on the higher grade leathers depending on where they have come from.
Leather handbags from online boutiques, wholesale stores and private sellers are often the best finds. Trying one’s hand at finding a steal is always fun when in the know about the various qualities and secrets as mentioned above.