Genuine Leather: An Overview in Simple Terms

Published February 26, 2021
genuine black leather bag

Genuine leather purses aren't the most highly prized leather handbags. Handbag designers will stipulate if the handbag is made of genuine leather, so it helps to understand what this means before making a purchase.

Genuine Leather for Handbags

Genuine leather is one of three leather quality grades. To understand what genuine leather means when you are shopping for a handbag, you need to understand how cowhide is tanned.

What Is Genuine Leather?

A cowhide is very thick. In fact, it has several layers that can be cut and used as separate hides for various uses. Genuine leather is the lowest grade of leather from the three main layers used.

What Leather Grade Is Genuine Leather?

There are three layers or grades of leather. The first is full grain. The second is top grain. The third is genuine leather.

Difference in Leather Grades

The genuine leather has a nice look and finish, but when compared to full grain and top grain leathers, it won't last as long. When held side by side, genuine leather isn't as nice as the other two grains.

Leather Swatches

Genuine Leather Price

The cost of genuine leather is significantly less than full grain and top grain leathers. It may give you a good leather look, but it won't be a high quality and enduring bag choice.

Genuine Leather Handbag Quality

When shopping for leather handbags, you'll discover that genuine leather handbags are cheaper than other leather bags. The genuine leather may have flaws. A genuine leather purse may be dyed or even painted so the leather has a more uniform appearance.

Genuine Leather Durability

The downside of buying an inexpensive leather purse is how it won't be durable. Genuine leather isn't as durable as higher grade leathers. The layer of cowhide used is thinner and not as strong as the upper layers. This makes it a fast wearing type of leather. It is an ideal choice for a purse you won't be using on a daily basis.

Genuine Leather Grade Has No Standard

Unfortunately, there is no main standard for genuine leather grade. This means you just don't know what you're getting when you purchase a genuine leather bag. There is one thing you can know for certain-the purse material does contain leather.

Genuine Leather vs. Faux Leather

While genuine leather might not be the highest grade of leather, for anyone wanting a leather bag, it does qualify, albeit as very low quality leather. On the other hand, faux leather is just that, fake leather. It is artificially manufactured, such as PU (polyurethane) leather. In some instances, it might be organically produced from things like mushrooms or nopal cactus leaves.

Cost Factor of Genuine Leather vs. Faux Leather

As you might imagine, even though genuine leather is the lower grade of leather, it is still a notch above faux leather prices. Artificial materials are less costly to produce, so you can expect to pay considerably less for a faux leather bag.

leather handbag

Maintenance and Care of Genuine Leather Handbags

You can certainly extend the life of your genuine leather handbag. You should regularly dust your handbag with a dry, soft cloth. Don't leave your purse near anything radiating heat. You shouldn't leave your purse where it receives direct sunlight since the sunlight can discolor your purse.

Shop for Genuine Leather Handbags

If you're shopping for genuine leather handbags, you can find these at lower cost retailers, such as big box retail stores. Some of the purses you can find include Bevaria, Bostanten, and Fossil.

Understand What Genuine Leather Is

You can understand what genuine leather is and how it affect quality and pricing of handbags. You may decide you like the look of a genuine leather bag and choose one for your handbag collection.

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Genuine Leather: An Overview in Simple Terms