History of Leather
The use of leather dates back to ancient civilizations. Already 9000 years ago, tanning was being carried out by the South Asians inhabitants of Mehrgarh (now part of Pakistan) for items such as water skins, bags, harness, armour, arch quivers, boots and sandals. Around 2500 BC, the Sumerians began using leather, affixed by copper studs, on chariot wheels.
The raw material in the production of leather (the animal skins primarily from cattle) is a by-product of the meat industry where the hides are recuperated by the tanneries. Since animal skin can spoil and decompose easily, the hides are subject to a tanning process that results in the proteins in the animal skin to coagulate and precipitate which, permanently alters the structure, composition of the animal skin. Subsequent treatments add colours, patterns and structures to the hides resulting in a stable and durable material that can be used for a wide range of products including our cases and covers.
Depending on degree of this processing and which steps are or are not performed, you basically get four basic types of leather:
Full-grain: This is the kind of leather in which the epidermis of the animal skin has not been removed. Also, no corrective processes have been performed on full grain leather to get rid of the natural marks that may be present on the skin.
Top-grain: This is the kind of leather in which the top grain and split layer has been removed. This is softer than full-grain leather, also cheaper, and less susceptible to spoiling.
Corrected-grain: This kind of leather has an artificial grain applied to it, to hide the corrections made. Also, this kind of leather can be given various artificial colours by pigmentation.
Split: Split leather refers to the leather made out of the fibrous part of the animal rawhide that is left over after the top-grain has been removed from it.
Italy has a unique tradition and knowledge of producing high quality leather dating back to the Roman empire 2000 years ago. Today, Italian tanneries enjoy a very strong position providing hides to all major global fashion houses and play an integral part in shaping future fashion trends. The Case Factory source 100% of our leather from a select number of the very best tanneries working closely with brand such as Louis Vuittons, Chanel, Furla, Tod’s and Bottega Veneta and Gucci. Our family owned Conceria del Chienti recently changed ownership but continue to provide high quality calf hides for our cases. We use chrome free leather for our print leather (lizard, crocodile and python patterns) and vegetable tanned hides for some of our plain brown and black covers.
The most common types of leather used for small leather goods are made from calf, lamb and goat leather. Calf skin usually refers to leather from animals less than three years old and baby calf skins from animals less than 3 months old. In Italian, these two types of skins are usually referred to as vitello and vitellino.
Napa leather is a kind of full-grain leather first made by Emanuel Manasse in 1875 whilst working for a tanning company in Napa, California. That is how the leather got its name. Napa leather is a full-grain un-split leather made from kid, lamb or sheep skin. Napa leather is typically dyed so as to obtain various colours. It is:
• Very soft and pliable. It is not hard like other types of leather and does not crease.
• Tough and durable in spite of being soft. It is not easily spoiled.
• It has an intact top-grain and is more "breathable" and does not retain moisture.
• Often develops a patina over the years that adds to its beauty.
Nappa leather has been commonly used to make products like bags, wallets, footwear and goods of personal use.