Have you ever wondered what type of leather the belt you use every day is made of? Is it a faux leather belt or a real one? When was the first-ever leather belt or jacket or product made? Well, in this article you’ll find out things you’ve thought of before and things you never imagined.
Leather products have initially been around since the bronze age (1200 or 1300 BC) when people started to realize that animal skin is more than just a by-product of meat and food. Therefore, leather is used in an extensive range of products like belts, bookbinders, handbags, wallets, purses, shoes, seat covers, jackets, etc. most of the time, cowhide leather, which is made of cow skin, is predominantly used for products like belts and bags because but a lot of other animal’s skin like pigs, goats, crocodiles, ostriches, emus, snakes, etc.
During wartime, soldiers used leather belts or a strapon to hold their weapons like daggers and knives in the Roman empire. One can say leather is a versatile raw material which is why it is used to make a vast spectrum of products. However, not every leather belt or every product ever made was original or genuine leather. Leather processing and finishing is a very tedious process and takes a lot of time and effort. Hence, the products are truly expensive.
In the early 1920s, an American rubber plant invented Faux leather, made from a plastic base and then coated with wax or other lustrous top coat to make it look like natural leather; it gained significant attention in Germany and was widely used during the second world war.
Even in leather, not every type is durable and as promising as it looks. Therefore, six types of leather are used to produce different types according to the general public’s durability and quality.
The first one is Top-grain leather which is the best quality leather one could possibly find. It is the most durable and is handled with utmost care.
The second one is Full-grain leather which is basically the topmost layer of the hide right after top-grain. It is just as strong and durable as top-grain except for the fact that it has comparatively lesser fibers.
And then, we have the Corrected grain leather; this is the third layer of the hide and is embossed with different textures to give it the perfect, uniform, and smooth appearance. The durability and strength of this type of leather depends on the amount of correction it goes through to look like top-grain. This is the minor quality leather one can use for belts. After this grain, the leather produced cannot be used for belts because of durability issues.
Split-grain leather is the fourth one made by splitting one of the top two grain kinds of leather if they are too thick. Since it’s broken, it has a fuzzy texture on both sides, unlike the smooth-looking leather, and requires a lot of special care to make it look good. In addition, it has very few fibers and is not quite durable.
Genuine leather, very contradicting to its name, genuine leather is not an authentic addition. It is made from scraps, cuts, and grains of different leathers. At first sight, it might look real, but it is not at all durable or worth spending your money on.
Bonded leather is the last and almost not even leather, and it is literally just put together with all sorts of by-products we get from the other types. The scrap is shredded and molded onto a fiber mesh and then coated with polyurethane for a shiny finish. It has a stain resistance but is very delicate and can easily have creases and cracks if used regularly.
Instead, we should spend money on high-quality ones when buying leather products because they would probably last half a lifetime. This is why when it comes to belts, handcrafted belts are very highly valued and purchased. Ofc you can skip past the highest quality ones when you cannot afford them but make sure you invest in a good product.