Italian leather is one of the most recognizable phrases in the world. It’s like buying a name-brand item that is able to back up its position at the top with quality and durability. Italian leather is a luxury that has been defined by the location – much like Swiss watches or Russian dolls. Sure, these items are also produced elsewhere, but no one has the tradition or quality of the specified location. Because of this global recognition and demand, it should come as no surprise that the cost for Italian leather is going to be higher than that of leather originating elsewhere in the world. But how much is Italian leather?
There are many factors that go into deciding the price of the leather. We have covered the subject to some extent in our article named “How Much Does Leather Cost?”.
Here is a quick look at some of the defining factors of a piece of leather’s price. However, if you don’t feel like reading the whole article, we have put together a list of price examples for an average handbag and a briefcase by it’s raw material. That would give you a range of what to expect when you purchase one of these two products.
Table of Contents
Is it Genuine?
The type of leather you’re purchasing could make a huge difference in the overall price. Don’t get fooled by the “genuine leather” phrase, which is thrown around quite too often. You can find out more about what is “genuine leather” here, but know this: genuine leather described in the article linked just before is not what we mean in this section of the article. Here we are trying to say that if Italian leather was prepared following genuine methods of the Italian way, its quality and therefore price will be adequately increased.
What are those genuine methods of the Italian way? Many Italian leather makers use vegetable tanning method, which is essential to make durable and natural leather. That’s one of the most crucial points in making beautiful, lasting and authentic Italian leather.
Also, not any less important, are the conditions the animals yielding the hide were raised on. If they were taken care of, well fed and looked after, such animals (predominantly cows, but also pigs, buffalos, etc.) would yield better hides overall.
Therefore, it cannot be real Italian leather without the proper care of the animals providing the hides as well as proper vegetable tanning method. The two combined factors are crucial in making what we know the real Italian leather.
What Accessory Are You Looking For?
The type of accessory will certainly have an impact on the price of the leather. Bags and purses tend to sell for anywhere from 100-1,000 USD depending on the size of the product. Some brands are able to sell them for up to 50,000 USD via name recognition alone. Italian leather shoes can be rather pricey as well, reaching 700 USD and more.
For larger accessories like furniture, leather products are for sure going to be expensive. An Italian leather couch could run you up to 20,000 USD depending on where it was manufactured. Real leather tends to be used for saddles, and a product produced in Italy using the full-grain hide is certain to cost a lot more. Even small accessories like watch bands are going to be upwards of 100 USD.
At the end of the day, you might be paying for the name rather than the quality. Many well-known brands of fashion handbags (we cannot mention them here) use even bonded leather, and manufacture them in China. And you on the other hand, end up paying several hundred bucks for nothing but the name.
Raw Material Quality
We put together this table to give you a genuine idea of what you could expect when it comes to the prices of a handbag and a briefcase based on leather material alone, all else being equal. So, here you go:
- Full grain leather – 100-140 USD for small handbag and 280-380 USD for a briefcase;
- Top grain leather – 80-120 USD for a small handbag and 220-320 USD for a briefcase;
- Genuine leather – 40-60 USD for a small handbag and 180-240 USD for a briefcase;
- Bonded leather – 15-30 USD for a small handbag and 60-120 for a briefcase.
As you can see, full grain leather, Italian or not, is by far the most wanted and rarest of all leathers. Top grain leather is not far behind in terms of quality and price, and it’s all due to the fact that there is only so much of it on each animal. Genuine leather, on the other hand, is by far the most undefined term that can include anything from full grain to even bonded leathers. It usually refers to the lower split part. Bonded leather is made by mixing remaining leather scraps with polyurethane, and is technically at best only partial leather.
Does it mean that prices end here? Nope. You will see below that such factors as a brand name will affect the prices even more. However, even non-branded briefcases can go up to 500-600 USD due to materials and craftsmanship alone. Therefore, the table above is strictly for general idea purposes and for average products only.
Selecting by Brand
The brand that uses the leather and makes the product might be the largest contributing factor to the overall price. As with any product or accessory, the name brands will always charge more. The price tag depending on the brand, all other things being equal, can increase the price of a final leather product by even 1000% and more. Therefore, it’s safe to say that by purchasing less known Italian leather products such as leather bags you will more likely get something of a certain quality, be it branded or not.
It’s best to learn how to tell leather quality to make sure that at very least you get something of value, whether or not you consciously overpay for a brand that you love.
It’s clearly impossible to directly answer how much is Italian leather. After all, if you are not a manufacturer yourself, knowing exactly how much do leather sheets actually cost serve you no more than knowing how far is the moon. You cannot do much with such information. However, having an idea of what price ranges are, and especially if you couple such knowledge with the ability to distinguish leather types and qualities, it will serve you greatly in the long run to not be cheated.
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