It is difficult not to get confused in the leather goods market today. In addition to the usual leatherette, sellers offer pressed leather products, assuring that this is also natural leather. Is this so, and how to distinguish real leather from artificial – says Bologny.
What is pressed leather and how is it different from genuine leather?
Let’s make a reservation right away that pressed leather, in fact, does not exist. This is the same imitation leather.
Only during manufacture is part of the leather waste – trimmings, shavings or leather dust – added to its synthetic composition. Then everything is crushed, mixed, heated and pressed. When heated, synthetic fibers melt, sticking together the material. The result is a fairly cheap material with low air and moisture permeability.
Yes, this material is suitable for the production of bags, wallets or belts, but shoes from it are stiff and inelastic, harmful to the foot. The main problem of pressed leather is its fragility, such products are short-lived: belts and buckles after a short use crack at the folds.
Signs of genuine leather in products – how to distinguish genuine leather from artificial leather?
The unique properties of genuine leather cannot be conveyed in synthetic materials. Elasticity, breathability, density, thermal conductivity, water absorption are the most beneficial properties of the skin. Of course, genuine leather has a high demand and price. Therefore, unfortunately, there are many ways to imitate natural leather. To distinguish artificial leather from natural, we need to know the main signs.
What do you need to look at to distinguish real leather from faux leather?
- SMELL. Artificial leather gives out a sharp chemical “aroma”. Of course, the smell of natural leather shouldn’t be unpleasant. However, you should not trust the smell alone, because there are special leather fragrances that are used at the factory.
- HEAT. Hold the material in your hand. If it heats up quickly and stays warm for a while, it is the skin. If it remains cold, it’s leatherette.
- TO THE TOUCH. Genuine leather is softer and more elastic than leatherette, and also has a more uniform texture.
- FILLING AND ELASTICITY. Genuine leather must be filled. When you press on the skin, you should feel a pleasant softness, and the place of the print is quickly restored.
- TENSION. When stretched, natural leather does not look like rubber, but at the same time, it quickly returns to its original state.
- COLOR. If the skin is bent in half, the color does not change at the bend. And even with multiple folds, there should be no marks or dents.
- PORES. The pores of artificial leather are the same in depth and shape, but in natural leather they are located arbitrarily. If the leather has a natural surface, then it has a pattern with a unique texture.
- SAMPLE. A sample of the material attached to the thing can also tell about its composition – an ordinary diamond means leatherette, curly – natural leather is indicated.
- SHEAR. On the cut, you should see a lot of intertwined fibers (skin collagen filaments). And if there are no such fibers or instead of them a fabric base, then this is definitely not leather!
- INSIDE. The seamy surface of the skin should be velvety, fleecy. If you move your hand, it should change color due to the movement of the villi.
Many people are mistaken when they say that real skin needs to be set on fire and it will not burn. It is necessary to take into account the fact that the leather is treated with aniline coating, which can burn when heated. There are also times when a pattern or print is glued to the skin. Of course, in this case, some of the properties for testing change, but nevertheless this is genuine leather, and according to the main features described above, it can be distinguished from artificial.
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