When you are comparing leather goods like belts, wallets, purses, or furniture that you want to buy, you may read about the many different types of leather these products can be made out of. These include everything from full grain leather which is the best grade, top grain leather, split grain leather, to bonded leather which is the lowest quality. These names are often confusing and don’t give you a real understanding of what each type of leather means.
But then you throw in some terms such as aniline or semi-aniline, and brain of some people might simply explode. To avoid the explosion of brains, here we will simply and yet understandably explain what is semi-aniline leather and how it compares to full aniline leather. Therefore, without further ado, let’s dive straight in.
[Good Read: How To Tell Leather Quality]
Table of Contents
Full Aniline Leather
Full aniline leather and semi-aniline leather are both made from full or top grain leather, which are in general the best grades of leather you can buy. These types of leather differ in the way they are made. Full aniline leather is the most true to the natural appearance of the leather. It is soaked in a mixture of water soluble aniline dye that does not contain any pigment. Since there is no pigment in the mix, and the leather is placed in a large drum, full aniline leather often does not have a uniform color to it. In addition, this process maintains all of the natural markings, scars and wrinkles present in the natural leather.
You can find all there is to know about full aniline leather by checking out our article “What is Full Aniline Leather?“.
[Good Read: What is Genuine Leather]
Semi aniline leather is made much like full aniline counterpart, with one main difference. That difference is that semi-aniline leather is made with semi-aniline dye that contains just a small amount of pigment. This means that the leather will have a more uniform coloring than a full aniline leather. In addition, semi aniline leather still preserves the natural markings present in the leather while adding a thin protective layer which makes it more resistant to stains and wear than full aniline leather.
Most high-end leather bags have semi-aniline finishing due to its final looks. Not everybody likes the most natural leather possible, due to rigidness in form and looks it might present itself in. But no worries, because in such case semi-aniline finishing is the way to go.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Semi aniline-leather is a high quality leather that has many advantages, but some disadvantages as well. One of the advantages of semi aniline-leather is that it is much more durable than full aniline leather. This is because of the thin protective coating on it. This durability makes it a perfect option for products that are going to be used a lot.
If you are buying a purse that you know will be your everyday purse, or if you are buying a leather sofa to go in the room that is used the most, semi aniline leather is the one that you want. It has a soft and supple feel to it, while still being durable. In addition, it still keeps the natural beauty of real leather while minimizing the chance for it obtaining some scratches or other damage. It is also easier to clean and maintain than full aniline leather.
While semi-aniline leather may seem too good to be true as it is less expensive than full aniline leather, is as durable, and maintains its natural beauty, there are some disadvantages to it as well. One of these disadvantages is that semi-aniline leather does have some pigment added to it. This could be a problem for those leather purists that want only the pure natural look of the leather.
Another disadvantage is that it will not develop a patina over time because it has a protective coating. This patina is that natural shine that your leather gets after natural wear and contact to your skin’s natural oils. Again for leather purists, this could be a deal breaker. However, if you are not one of them, then it should not be looked at as a disadvantage and thus be completely ignored.
So what is semi-aniline leather in short? If we had to explain it in one sentence, it’d be something like that: semi-aniline leather is full grain or top grain leather dyed with semi-aniline dyes that contain small amount of pigment, which covers the leather with a tiny level of coating and gives it a more uniformal color and extra layer of protection against natural elements and forces. That was a heck of a sentence, but if you had to skip the entire article to find out in short, we believe it covers it well.
Overall, semi-aniline leather is a great option for someone who is not a leather purist, and wants a beautiful piece without the high price tag and all the extra maintenance that full aniline leather requires.
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