The average consumer can be easily confused by the many types of leather available and the often misleading names given to describe the type or quality. A popular trend with purses, bags, totes and luggage is painted leather or designs. Although at first glance, some designs can be attractive, it is important to know that the quality of the leather and how it is treated is very important to the lifetime of your product and its appeal once it is “broken in”.
Different types of leather are used in creating today’s popular bags and knowing what you are getting makes a great difference in the quality of what you purchase. A quality bag worth spending your money on typically will be made of “Full Grain Leather”. Often manufacturers will try and mislead you by telling you the product is “Genuine Leather”. The main difference between the two is unlike full grain leather, sanding processes are applied to the leather surface. This can wash away the natural look of the leather making it inferior to full grain leather. Although some companies and sales person will try and convince you that ‘Genuine’ means it is superior, in reality, it is a little bit inferior to Full Grain Leather.
Typically, painted leather uses the inferior Genuine Leather because the absorption of the paint is better once the leather surface has been sanded. Although the process makes for a better “canvas” for the paint, it washes away the natural grains away from the leather. This can lead to cracking and hardening of the leather as time goes by. This is one reason why there is such a big market for leather treatment products as over time it becomes necessary to maintain the leather to a greater degree to prevent cracking, tears and discoloration.
I like to recommend that when buying a quality bag, that you are sure to purchase from a company that uses only Full Grain Leather. Although painted leather may allow for color and artistry flair for the designer, it is important for the consumer to remember that when making a purchase of a quality bag, that if they want the best quality leather and long term reliability, then choosing a quality Full Grain Leather product will remain a first choice over a Painted Leather product.