3. Identifying leather

Bringing up a supposed piece of leather product to the nose for a whiff would be the most instinctive action for many. The problem with this method is that the sense of smell is subjective, hence there is no concrete basis upon which to determine whether a particular scent is that of leather or not.

Leather craft involves many processes which include oiling and painting. What is perceived to be the “leather smell” is actually a combination of the scent of leather itself (which is the scent of tanning solutions), and the scents of oil and paint. That said, an imitation leather product can be passed off as one by spraying synthetic scents on it.

The following are guidelines to identifying leather:

  1. Examine the cross section of the product
    • Multiple layers in a single structure crosses out the product as full-grain leather or top-grain leather
  2. The reputation of the brand or store is important
    • No self-respecting store that trades genuine leather products leaves full-grain leather out of its inventory
    • It is best if the brand is known to carry full-grain leather. It is tricky if a brand is reputed for a myriad of other desirable qualities but with no focus on full-grain leather
  3. Look at the price
    • Determine whether the price of the product is pegged more to the brand or more to the craftsmanship and intrinsic value of leather

Written by Keching

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