What is Vegetable Tanned Leather?
Vegetable tanning is an artisan tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries, mixing ancient recipes and state-of-the-art technology.
The transformation from raw hides into finished leather is a process that happens slowly in wooden drums, with full respect for humans and the environment. This process starts with natural tannins extracted from trees, uses modern technology and machinery, and needs the slow passage of time.
Among the various tanning methods, vegetable tanning is still nowadays the most traditional, the most recognisable and the only tanning method able to give leather its own unique characteristics.
The vegetable tanning process is based on the use of tannins, the active ingredient responsible for transforming raw skin into a resistant material through the years. This natural substance can be found in many different trees and vegetables, in variable concentrations, depending on the species. Some of the more common tannins come from Oak and Spruce tree bark. Other plant-based tannins come from olive leaves, rhubarb roots or tara pods. These natural tannin extracts make the vegetable-tanned leather unique and easily distinguishable.
Vegetable-tanned leather absorbs the traces of our life, it matures with every year. The oils in our fingers absorb into the leather giving it a uniquely personal feel. Natural ageing does not compromise its resistance. It reveals the signs of time and is unique to each person and their story. The colours of tannins give the leather an unmistakable warm and brilliant shade that becomes more intense with the passing of time and the daily use.
No leather looks like any other, its peculiar characteristics offer a wide range of possible interpretations in shape and design. Its unmistakeable stiff and structured handle make it perfect for luxury products.
Vegetable tanning is a process taking inspiration from nature and – in full harmony – going back to nature.
Vegetable-tanned leather does not contain any toxic substances harmful to man and is highly tolerable for those who suffer from metal related allergies.
Vegetable-tanned leather manufacturing is strictly monitored to ensure low impact on the environment:
- No animal is killed for its skin. On the contrary, the raw hides used by our tanneries are the discarded by-products of the food industry producing meat for human consumption.
- Being tanned with natural tannins, a vegetable-tanned leather piece can be easily disposed of at the end of its life, thanks to its chemical-biological characteristics.
- Our tanneries have made huge investments in depuration systems and waste recycling that make them respectful to man and the environment.
- Many of the substances used during the tanning process are recovered, recycled and reused in different fields. Hair removed from raw hides is transformed into agricultural fertiliser; sludge produced by the depuration plants is reused in the construction field to make bricks.
- Vegetable-tanned leather, recognisable from its trademark, does not contain any toxic substance such as azo-dyes, nickel, PCP or chrome VI