Given that leather is a hard wearing, abundantly available material which keeps its good looks for long periods of time after its initial purchase, it's no wonder that our leather items of furniture remain so enduringly popular.
The hard wearing nature and aesthetic appeal, and of course, the perceived origin of leather are commonly known but many people know little beyond this.
We have a belief that our customers will be able to care for and select their products much more carefully if they are aware of the different types of leather.
When we speak with many of our customers and explain that there is a source of leather beyond the bovine, we're often quite surprised that this isn't more common knowledge. People seem genuinely surprised to realise that leather can some from cattle, sheep, pigs and even from much more surprising sources such as stingrays and ostriches.
Even with this in mind, it is the treatment and processing methods which actually categorise leather into one of three groups and all of these groups have their own benefits for use.
Aniline leather is the most natural appearing and is often noticeable by the fact that it keeps the unique characteristics of its source. It is often known as naked leather given that it has no polish and keeps surface marks.
This treatment, or lack thereof, is seen as a blessing and a curse. Because of the unique markings, it can be said that ever piece is unique but because it has no treatment, it can be easily marked or stained.
Semi-Aniline is that which retains the surface markings but has received some treatment and is therefore slightly more soil and stain resistant. Although this makes it more hard wearing, it can mean that pieces are less unique.
Protected, or Pigmented Leather
Protected leather is the final and most commonly seen leather for furniture. It is the most durable of leathers for the reason that it is treated with a polymer surface coating which contains pigments. These polymers can be adjusted and adapted to include more resistance to scuffs or fades.
This treatment means that whilst it is very hard working and likely to be more long lasting, it is also devoid of any individual characteristics. Many people do not favour this leather because it is difficult to tell the individual grains from each other thanks to the surface of the material being "embossed".