What is the difference between genuine leather and full grain leather?

Most people believe that "genuine leather" denotes the highest quality of leather. In fact, many people have never heard of the term "full grain leather". Simply stated, full grain is the best and most sought-after leather. Why is this? There are three layers to a hide: the grain, junction, and split (suede). Full grain refers to the full hide with all of its layers intact. It is not sanded down, corrected, or altered like genuine leather. Other leathers that have been corrected or altered are top grain, corrected grain, and genuine leather.

The next quality level down is top grain leather. This refers to the top layer of the cowhide that has minimal alterations. Sometimes, top grain is sanded down to remove imperfections. Why do you care if imperfections are removed? Removing imperfections usually occur by sanding which makes the hide weaker. If you relate this to quality, which would you rather have? A product that is weaker is not as durable and won't last as long. Sanding also removes some of the product's character. With full grain leather, you get the opportunity to view the natural state of the leather. There is a lot of history retained on the surface. One is able to see the scars of the animal. Do you think it is necessary to remove all of your scars and imperfections for you to be beautiful?

After top grain leather, there is corrected grain leather. It is usually more altered than top grain leather. Other methods to alter the leather may include embossing, resurfacing, or buffing. This allows companies to produce products that appear to be more uniform. 

Genuine leather refers to any leather. It can be taken from animals other than cows or discarded scraps of leather and still qualify as "genuine leather". With full grain leather, the hide selection is important. Full grain leather is still technically genuine leather, but because it contains all three layers, there is a distinct difference. Those who are educated about full grain leather and create products with it ensure you know the difference.


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