Leather is considered as a luxury. High-quality leather products are expensive since the pricing of the final product takes into account the amount of time, labour, and efforts from the harvest to the finished product. Because leather products are expensive, there are a lot of conscientious individuals and stores that may sell fake leather products, passing them as genuine leather. It is therefore essential for you to know how to spot quality handmade leather products.
Examine the Product Closely
You must scrutinize any leather product before purchase. You should check if the product looks, feels, and smells like leather.
- Looks like leather. A leather product that shows the grain of the leather may be made from top-grain or full-grain leather. These are the best grades of leather that you can find because of their durability and their water-resistant properties. On the other hand, if the product looks like it was painted on, then the product may have leather in it but is coated with synthetic chemicals. Avoid this type of product.
- Feels like leather. Real handmade leather products should not feel like plastic. Try to bend or stretch the material and check for tearing, breaking or cracking. If there are damages from the bend or pull, then that product is not made from real leather.
- Smells like leather. Even if the leather has undergone multiple tanning and curing processes, you will still get a sniff of pungent animal odour that will indicate that it came from real animals.
Examine the Quality of Stitching
Most handmade leather products are stitched using the saddle stitch. You can easily spot saddle stitching if you see two rows of threads stitched in one single row of holes. Saddle stitching is extremely durable even when one layer of the stitch falls apart; the thread will not unravel. Several artisans that sew leather products will emphasize their saddle stitches by using two different coloured threads that would match the overall aesthetics of the leather product. Machine sewn products, on the other hand, will only produce a single layer of thread.
Examine the Edges
High-quality handmade leather products should have burnished edges. Burnishing is the process of sealing and protecting the edges of the leather to protect the bottom grains of the leather from moisture. You can check to see a properly burnished product if the edges have a smooth and glossy finish.
Examine how the Cut is Used
Handmade leather products should be made in accordance with the grain direction of the material. Grain direction means the direction where the grain of the leather is following. The product should be made so that there is the least amount of resistance at the bending or stress points. For example, if the leather product has foldable parts, then the folds should be at parallel with the grain direction.
Examine for Blemishes
Since leather originated from animals, the top-grain leather materials will show any blemishes that the source animal may have had from scratches, bites, or puncture wounds. High-quality handmade leather products must be free from any imperfections.
Examine the Threads
Since leather is an organic material, good quality leather products must also have organic threads. Linen threads are an excellent match to be used for stitching leather products together. Linen comes from the natural fibres of plants. Most artisans will wax the linen threads to prevent them from flaring.
Knowing how to spot quality handmade leather products will help you in purchasing the ideal leather bag that you have been dreaming of without being duped into buying fake leather.