Leather Lexicon

Leather goods also has its jargon, even though everyone uses different terms, for example a customer which will be looking for a purse for a large model that serves as a checkbook holder and documents holder for us it will be a companion.

Each of us have our own terms for a shoulder bag, purse or wallet ...

By the way, what do all these leather terms  (full grain, split leather ...) and materials terms mean?

Forum des Sacs offers a leather lexicon that will grow over time and according to specific needs and according regulations, this will enable you to better understand the Leather world.
You have doubts, questions? See the Glossary for leather goods this will shed some light for you on the matter



ABSA rigid plastic that is resistant to breaking, scratching, and wear

Attaches: Generally these are hard sided, hinged business cases that are used to carry documents

Ance: The anse is a handle to carry items for handbags, it is also known as the shoulder strap


BesaceSynonym of pouch, this is a bag which opens along its middle and the extremeties have pockets. Most besaces are closed with a flap at the front

Buffalo leatherUsually open-pored aniline leathers with a coarser grain pattern than cowhide, and where the grain is slightly nubucked.  This typical characteristic transports rubbed-in/distributed liquid into the buffalo leather and darkens it. Long-lasting buffalo leather often becomes "fatty" and fades with use


CollarLeather portion below the head

Companiona large model purse that serves also as a checkbook holder and documents holder

Cowhide leather: Cowhide leather is the natural, unbleached skin and hair of a cow. It retains the original coloring of the animal. Cowhide can also be processed into a leather, which can be used to make such things as shoes, wallets,leather jackets, and belts.

Crust leather : Crust leather is neutralised after chrome tanning, retanned, possibly greased and dyed, and is also called chrome crust. Crust leather may be chrome tanned, but does not have to be; it is an intermediate product that is traded. The undyed version is also called "bark"

Chrome tanning : A tanning method that uses chromium (III) salts, and is considered perfectly safe to the health. Chrome tanning is used in many fields, such as shoe and clothing leathers. It is not used so much for automotive or upholstery leathers any more, as these are areas that are increasingly opting for so-called FOC leathers.

Curv :  Curv® is the world’s first self- reinforced 100% polypropylene composite offering extraordinary levels of impact resistance, light weight and high stiffness.


Denier: A term referring to the size of the filament or yarn used in fabric. A higher denier means a thicker fabric.

Duffels: Bags with a large compartment and top carry handle designed to be versatile. Duffels work well as gym bags, luggage, carry-on luggage, and sports bags and can come with additional features including wheels and shoulder straps. Duffels are also sometimes referred to as duffel bags, duffles, and duffle bags.


Epidermis : is the surface layer of the rawhide, and is divided into three layers: the hard layer, the grain layer and the slime layer. The epidermis totals about 1% of the total thickness of the skin

Expandable Luggage: Luggage that unzips to create more packing space.


FOC leathers: Are leathers which are "free ochrome", i.e. tanned chrome-free. These leathers are being used more and more in the automotive and furniture industries. Other means are used for tanning such as synthetic or plant (vegetable) tanning agents.

 Full grain leather:  refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed (as opposed to corrected grain) to remove imperfections (or natural marks) on the surface of the hide



Grained leather:

  • Full-grain leather refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed (as opposed to top-grain or corrected leather) to remove imperfections (or natural marks) on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing the fiber strength and durability. The grain also has breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact. Rather than wearing out, it develops a patina during its expected useful lifetime. High quality leather furniture and footwear are often made from full-grain leather. Full-grain leathers are typically available in two finish types:aniline, semi-aniline.
  • Top-grain leather (the most common type in high-end leather products) is the second-highest quality. It has had the "split" layer separated away, making it thinner and more pliable than full-grain. Its surface has been sanded and a finish coat added, which produces a colder, plastic feel with less breathability, and it does not develop a natural patina. It is typically less expensive and has greater stain resistance than full-grain leather if the finish remains unbroken.
  • Corrected-grain leather is any leather that has had an artificial grain applied to its surface. The hides used to create corrected leather do not meet the standards for use in creating vegetable-tanned or aniline leather. The imperfections are corrected or sanded off, and an artificial grain embossed into the surface and dressed with stain or dyes. Most corrected-grain leather is used to make pigmented leather as the solid pigment helps hide the corrections or imperfections. Corrected grain leathers can mainly be bought as two finish types: semi-aniline and pigmented.


  • All types of leather require an appropriate choice and amount of greasing agents, as they are what make the leather soft and stretchable. These greasing agents are made from various raw materials that are processed chemically, such as marine animal oil, animal fat, plant oils and fats, waxes and synthetic fats. The leather would become hard if no greasing agents were used in leather production, as there would be no "lubricant" around the fibres.

Gibeciere : A gibeciere is a large pouch-like item. See Companion


Haptics: The provision of surface textures, size, contours etc. is called haptic perception. When talking about leather, the term haptic is associated with the feel of a leather. Examples of this are the velvety feel of nubuck leather or the warm, soft feel of an aniline leather.

Hair follicles: Are indentations in the grain (tiny holes). Each species has its own particular arrangement of these follicles, which is what creates the surface picture - the grain pattern - of the leather. The arrangement of the follicles is an indicator of the species.


Impregnation: Or hydrophobic treatment, is applied to leathers to give them limited water repellency. This process of impregnation makes particular sense for sensitive types of leather, such as nubuck leather or aniline leather. As a result, moisture is slower to penetrate the leather surface. If you are quick, this means you can dab away the stain before it soaks in. NOTE: Impregnation is no universal remedy. It only protects the sensitive leathers to a limited extent. (evtl. Abb. Leder imprägniert und nicht imprägniert mit einziehendem Wassertropfen).


Metallic leathers: are frequently encountered in the fashion industry, such as in the bag-making and shoe industry, however occasionally also the in furniture segment as eye-catchers. Most metallic leathers are smooth leathers which are given their metallic, shiny, glittery appearance with metallic-effect pigments from a dressing or film coating (special film is ironed onto the leather). This can be an unobtrusive, delicate mother-of-pearl to a bold silver, copper or gold.

Milling: Drying hardens the dyed and fattened leather, this also happens during pigmentation at the dressing stage. To make the leather soft and supple again, it is loaded into barrels which rotate at high speed where it is moved for 10-12 hours – this known as "milling" or "drumming". The fibres are loosened by the stretching and compressing movement in the barrel, leaving the leather nice and soft.


Naked leather:A leather which has been aniline dyed and received no protective top coat. Often referred to as full aniline leather.


Oiling: is a process whereby leather is hand coated (usually by brush or tampon) with either a raw (un-emulsified) oil or a combination of raw oil, blended with emulsified oils and a penetrating aid.


PU leather: Often incorrectly called pull-up leather. CAUTION! These leather types have nothing in common with each other, not in use, cleaning or care. PU leathers are split leathers that are coated in a PU (polyurethane) foil and have a shiny antique surface. These leathers are often not identified as split leathers when sold. Complaints for this split leather type include sticky areas and the foil working loose around the head, arm and hand areas, since the PU coating is affected by the pH value of perspiration and sebum over time.

Pull-up leather: Smooth or nubuck leathers with an oil, fat or wax finish on the leather surface. The furniture usually shows high traces of use/wear in the display room. This "patina" is typical of the goods and desirable. If the leather has an additional finish on top of the oil, fat or wax finish, it will take longer for the traces of use to develop, and the customer's attention should be drawn to the typical change in the leather surface, as otherwise a complaint will surely follow.


Split leather:  Because of its thickness,the skin is usually split in two during production. This results in the high-quality grain layer and the slightly less stable flesh layer. In further processing, the flesh layer is then renamed split leather or split velours. The word "split" must be included in the claim, as this is a reference to the less stable flesh layer.  


Tote bag : A large bag used for carrying a number of items.

Trimmed leather: usually means that the surface of the product is leather but does not necessarily mean that the entire product is real leather

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