Useful Terms & Types of Leather

What is Top Grain Leather?
Top grain leather is leather from the uppermost layer of a hide. It is the highest quality part of the hide.
(also called corrected grain leather) is leather that has been modified to correct imperfections on the surface of the leather. It usually used to make pigmented leather.

Full Grain Leather is leather that has not been modified or corrected in any way. It is high quality leather with a natural leather grain. Full grain leather is usually used to make aniline or semi-aniline leather.

What is Pigmented Leather?
Pigmented Leather is any top grain leather to which a clear topcoat and pigments have been applied. The pigments are what usually give the shiny even top colour to the leather. The leather may or may not be aniline dyed. Sometimes the pigments (colour) are applied to a base crust of a different colour and in this case the leather in not dyed all the way through. If the pigments are applied to a hide that has been aniline dyed and matched for colour then this leather is called a Protected Aniline Leather. Leather is usually pigmented to give it durability and hide its natural blemishes. Pigmented leathers are easy to maintain and have maximum resistance to wear, soiling, and fading from light.

What is Non-Pigmented Leather?
Non-Pigmented leather is leather to which no pigments have been applied. These are usually hides of the very best quality and have been aniline dyed for colour.

What is Pure Aniline Leather?
Pure Aniline is top grain leather that is dyed for colour without any pigments applied. These hides will exhibit some natural characteristics such as healed scars, scratches, neck and belly wrinkles. Expect colour variation from the swatch to the actual leather, due to the fact leather is a natural product and will absorb dye differently within the hide and from hide to hide. This leather will develop a rich patina over time and will fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

What is Protected Aniline Leather?
Protected aniline leather is a top grain leather that is dyed for colour and then receives pigment to ensure colour consistency. Without pigment a protected leather is not colour consistent. The pigment also ensures fade resistance and helps the leather wear over time. A clear water based topcoat is applied for additional protection. The natural imperfections of the hide are also less noticeable. Hides average 50-55 square feet. Protected Aniline Leathers are easy to maintain and have maximum resistance to wear, soiling, and fading from light.

What is Semi-Aniline Leather?
Semi-Aniline leather is pure aniline leather that has a small amount of pigment or clear finish thus allowing the natural characteristics of the hide to still show through while offering some of the benefits of colour consistency and increased wear ability.

What is Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck is top grain leather that has been aniline dyed for colour and then polished to create a nap. Since Nubuck leathers have no pigment applied these hides will exhibit colour variation from hide to hide and dye lot to dye lot. Some natural markings are visible throughout these hides. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause these leathers to fade.

What is distressed leather?

Distressed Leather is aniline dyed leather with an artificially worn and aged appearance in which the natural characteristics of the hide such as healed scars, scratches, and wrinkles are considered a positive characteristic.

What is antiqued leather?

Antiqued Leather is leather that is dyed with one colour over another to create highlights and an aged appearance.

What is embossed leather?

Embossed leather is leather that has been stamped using heat and high pressure to create a pattern or design in the hide. The variety is tremendous ranging from alligator, crocodile, ostrich, flowers, geometric and Indian designs, to name just a few.

What is Bycast?

Bycast is essentially a synthetic product. It consists of a thick polyurethane topcoat applied to a low-grade or reconstituted leather base. The thick polyurethane topcoat makes bycast leather stiff and gives it high gloss sheen. Bycast leathers are generally much less expensive then genuine leather products, but their quality is highly variable. It is not usually possible to repair bycast
Split Leather is leather made from the "split" section of a hide. A piece of leather can be sliced (split) into layers to give top grain leather (the grain side) and split leather (the inside pieces of leather). Split leather is often used to make suede. Sometimes, split leather is embossed with a grain pattern and used to make inexpensive pigmented leather. Split leather is not as strong or as durable as full or top grain leather. It can also be difficult to repair.