One of the most difficult parts about buying leather online is making sure that you don’t get swept up in false material. If you’re paying the full price for leather, you want to make sure that you end up with real leather…not just a ‘leather-type’ material. Here are some helpful tips for making sure that when you buy leather, you’re buying the real thing.
Firstly, you must understand that leather is the skin of an animal. In fact, as long as the material of what you’re buying is originally from the skin of an animal they can claim it’s ‘Genuine Leather’. The problem is that many of the items made of this ‘Genuine Leather’, but aren’t really true leather, are typically made of lambskin leather as opposed to ‘full-Grain’ leather (which is leather in its truest form: clear, supple, clean and consistent in color).
A significant difference between faux leather and real leather is in the feel and smell of the material. An item that’s made of real leather will have rough edges and when folded, has a line pattern that crisscrosses over. Leather that’s actually plastic or vinyl won’t do that: in fact, it will easily fold over and the edges will be smoother and feel more like plastic. Genuine leather also has that buttery, smooth consistency as a part of it, while faux leather feels, again, more plastic. We all are familiar with what real leather smells like and so genuine leather will also have this unique smell. Faux leather won’t have this quality and will smell more plastic or have that ‘produced’ smell.
The other best way to tell if your leather is true Grade 1 Leather is by determining whether the item has been surface-dyed to match the color and consistency of leather. Now keep in mind that Genuine Leather is often dyed anyway before being sold, but this is more of an aniline-dye (which is like adding varnish to wood, allowing its natural beauty and consistency to shine through), rather than surface-dying (which, to use the same analogy, will merely cover up the wood’s natural surface and any impurities).
As an overall rule, you should be able to tell the difference between Genuine Leather and a plastic, vinyl or leather-like material by simply checking the item for overall craftsmanship and the item’s color. A good leather craftsman will not use 2nd grade or 3rd grade and because of it’s significant difference between 1st grade leather, it should be relatively easy to see the comparisons and know whether you’re making a wise investment in real leather, or whether to save your money.