The quality of leather varies greatly. You have most likely seen different labels on leather items, such as top grain or genuine. These are simply different types of leathers based on their quality. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, you not only need to know where to buy leather, you also need to know how to distinguish between different types. You will need to understand why some materials last longer than others and why a particular leather bag costs thousands, while others cost a fraction of that price.
So, what is the best leather? The best quality leather will depend on these important factors, most notably:
- Type of animal and breed
- Physical location and climate where the animal lived
- Portion of the hide the leather was cut from (see diagram below)
- Layer of the hide that is used (top grain, full grain, split)
- Quality and skill of the processing and tanning