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Quality Leather

Leather Quality & its Common Characteristics

Leather is a natural product and as such it will carry the hallmarks of its origin. These characteristics are not defects that may shorten the life of the hide. Instead they enhance the beauty of the product and help to differentiate it from the substitutes that may try to copy it.

Stretch Marks
In the same way in which humans develop stretch marks whilst growing, animals used for leather also have these identifiable marks. Although this is arguably more common in the female hides and skins, with the obvious factor of childbirth and also the differing amounts of fats present in the skin.

Just as you see the veins in your own skin, vein lines can appear on finished leather. This occurs when bacteria is attracted to any remaining nutrient rich blood, in the original pathways of the blood vessels before leather manufacturing begins. Skin is worn away and degraded into the pattern of the original pathways.

Animals may come into contact with various objects during their lifetime that can cut the skin, including barbed wire or other animal’s horns, which may result in the scarring of the skin. Human intervention such as branding, which is done for ownership purposes, and any medical surgery could also leave a permanent scar. Once these scars are healed, the tissue is slightly raised, however, it keeps intact its structural integrity.

Skin Disease
Psoriasis and eczema are as common in animals as they are in humans. Areas of the skin may be non-uniform where these conditions have been present. Insect bites and parasite damage such as ringworm and tapeworm may leave varying marks and scars on the skin.

This is an example of mechanical damage to the hide, which is common practice in certain parts of the world. Animals can be branded using hot irons, chemicals or freezing using Carbon Dioxide, which is the standard in the UK. The extent of damage depends on the technique used, exposure time and the age of the animal.

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