Most leather today is taken from cows because of their size, availability, and exceptional quality of leather. However, depending on the use, leather is also commonly taken from pigs, sheep, deer, horses, and kangaroos. Additionally, some of the more exotic leathers come from alligators, ostriches, elephants, snakes, frogs, and stingrays.
Full-Grain Leather vs. Top-Grain Leather
The strongest and most durable part of the hide of an animal is just
below the hair. The grain pattern in this part of the hide is very tight, and the leather made from here is called "full-grain" leather. Full-grain leather is the strongest and most durable leather. Additionally, since the grain is so tight, it resists moisture very well. Over time, full-grain leather will look nicer and nicer and develop a patina from being handled.
The next best—and second strongest—leather is called "top-grain" leather. Top grain leather is similar to full-grain leather, except that the top couple millimeters have been sanded and buffed to take away imperfections. With the top layer removed, the leather will have a more uniform finish, but it won't be as durable—and it will break down much faster. This is more of a "cookie cutter" leather that most leather wallets and handbags are made of, which lends to their generic appearance. Top-grain leather can be good leather, but its strength and durability is not even close to the strength of full-grain leather.
Waskerd leather products are made from the highest quality, full-grain leather. However, even the highest quality leather will have small irregularities: from healed scrapes where the animal brushed against a cactus or a barbed-wire fence; to insect bites; to brands done by the rancher; to fatty areas and neck wrinkles; even vein marks. These slight irregularities are incorporated into our products to showcase each product's natural individuality and handcrafted nature.
Factors in Leather Quality
There are extensive factors influencing the quality of leather: the animal's diet and nutrition; the age and sex of the animal; the climate; the presence of viruses, fungal diseases, and parasites; the care taken during slaughter; the flaying; the tanning chemicals used; the dyes and stains used; and the shipping and handling methods are just some
of those factors.