Did you know that only 5% of all rawhides are suitable for making Aniline leather? That’s because leathers generally bear the marks of their natural origin, from scars and wrinkles to insect bites and goad marks. These will all be more visible on the smooth surface of Aniline leather. 

But if your leather sofa, bag or item of clothing is made of pigmented leather, you won’t see the imperfections because they will have been smoothed out before manufacturing. In the case of corrected-grain leather it is possible to use hides that contained lots of imperfections. The leather is sanded, buffed and embossed with a leather grain to hide any marks. It is then coated with a thick protective pigment, which gives it a uniform look and feel.  

Hides with excessive markings may not be usable which means a higher degree of wastage per skin.  

Below, we have shown the different types of natural markings on leather

 

  • Dung marks - When faeces remain stuck to the animal skin for too long, they can cause burns. The skin area directly beneath the manure sweats, causing the pores to enlarge.

Dung marks on leather

  • Blisters or warts on the animal skin deteriorate the quality of the final product. Some of these can even tear during the tanning process, rendering the entire area unusable. 

Blister marks on leather

  • Horn blows caused during animal fights can leave significant marks. Injuries or scars can also be caused when farmers prod the animals with a pitchfork or a similar sharp object.  

 Injury scars on leather

  • Barbed wire fences also cause scars. Other sharp parts of plants such as thorns or branches also cause similar looking scars.  

Barbed wire fence scars on leather

  • Tick bites and stings of other insects appear as small surface damages on the skin 

 Tick bite scars on leather

  • Cattle and deer are prone to attack by parasitic warble flies.  They lay eggs on the animals’ forelegs and when the larvae hatch they penetrate the skin, migrating throughout the connective tissues. After a few months, the larvae travel back to the skin surface and cause unsightly swellings. When breaking through the skin, the fly leaves holes, leaving visible scars. 

 Parasite scars on leather

  • Neck wrinkles and creases are a normal phenomenon and do not affect the value of the leather. They occur in cattle in the neck and abdomen, where the connective fibres are longer. Neck wrinkles naturally occur in a hide as a result of the neck stretching and contracting. The grain pattern is stronger in this area. When cutting the leather, it is essential to consider that the graining on the finished object is symmetrical. Any variation is usually intentional. 

 Wrinkle creases on leather


Other markings on leather that cannot be classed as ‘Natural’

  • Hot branding is a technique for marking cattle and other farm animals so as to identify the owner. Conventional methods are hot branding, freeze branding, earmarking, or tattooing. The hot and freeze brand is very painful for animals and therefore not allowed everywhere. Although, implanting microchips or creating ear tags can be substantially less painful for the animal and also do not significantly damage the skin for leather production. 

 Hot branding marks on leather

  • Scars caused by any surgical treatments on the animal skin are also sometimes visible in the leather.

Surgical scars on leather 

As customers, we all want flawless goods. Wrinkles, scars or differences in the grain texture are sometimes perceived as defects but they the natural hallmarks of where they animal came from – and what make each hide unique.