You may have noticed the use of a new material in the manufacture of our leather bags: vegetable tanned leather. What is hidding behind this name? What are the properties of this leather for the manufacture of leather goods? That is what we will explain in this post.
Leather tanning: what is it?
According to the Technical Center of Leather in Lyon, the tanning process "transforms the leather skin by treating it with tanning agents (called "tannins ") to make it rot-resistant"1. These tannins can either be chrome tanning salts or vegetable tannins, that allows the leather to have specific features depending on its tanning.
Then comes up a series of tanning operations and finishing that will help transform the tanned leather into finished leather, in which the bags are made.
The different kinds of tanning
During this process, the leather is tanned with chromium sulfate-based tannin, also called "Chrome III", which allow to make more elastic and flexible leather.
Unlike milling, vegetable tanning uses no artificial agent. Leather will indeed get tanned from leaves, roots, barks, or even fruits. The finished leather that has been tanned following this process will be very firm, but remain sensitive to light. The big advantage of vegetable tanned leather is that it contains no allergens.
Why use vegetable tanned leather for leather goods?
Benefits of a bag made of vegetable tanned leather
Vegetable tanned leather has very interesting features when used in the manufacture of leather bags and small leather goods. First, the fact that the vegetable tanned leather bags are completely hypoallergenic, which allows them to be worn and used by all.
More firm and highly resistant, a bag made of vegetable tanned leather offers an impeccable making it a particularly favored material for the manufacture of bags and leather wallets that are very often subject to external aggressions.
A drawback ? Not really…
Vegetable tanned leather is sensitive to sunlight and UV rays which that burnishes its appearance with time. This limits the range of colors available in a range of vegetable tanned leather bags, especially in light shades. However, the patina of these bags embellishes with time to become absolutely magnificent.
1 Technical Center of Leather in Lyon – « How is leather produced » (Full comics here)