Many people may have no idea what leather patina means or whether it’s good or bad. To really understand it, we should grasp the meaning of patina. Patina is what forms on natural goods like leather, metal, stone and even fabric like denim. It’s a sheen and aged look that forms from being worn and used.
Worn and used? Why would we want that look for our leather goods? Let us explain.
What is Leather Patina?
As stated before, patina is a sheen or antiquing look that comes from an item being used and worn. Specifically, leather patina forms from the oils on our skin, the buildup of dirt, sunlight and just the regular wear and tear. The leather becomes oxidized and it creates a darkening and softening of the leather. Giving it a unique look.
The patina looks comes from everyday use. Taking out and putting back credit cards in your wallet will create it. The oil from your fingers and sunlight form patina. Because leather is a natural good, it absorbs everything in its environment, so it naturally creates a patina, or sheen look.
Having leather patina is a good indication that the leather is full-grain and high quality. It’s a natural leather type versus genuine or top-grain leather. The oxidation of leather is not a process that can be duplicated through artificial means. So the artificial leather, the genuine and top-grain leather, does not form patina.
The process of creating patina just takes time and use of high quality leather goods. While it may seem that leather patina would be undesirable, it’s the opposite.
Is Leather Patina Good?
Leather patina is good for a variety of reasons. Three main reasons leather patina is good: it’s an indication of high quality leather, it makes each product unique and it looks better with age.
Since leather patina doesn’t form on all types of leather such as faux leather, when it does form, it’s a sign that the leather is real. The highest grades and quality leather will form a patina over time because of the natural material. It’s the kind of leather that will last a long time. The type of good that you pass down to your kids.
The formation of patina on leather goods makes no two leather goods identical. Each belt, accessory, wallet or saddle that we sell will not be identical because of the way it’s used and aged. Patina will form on each item, but differently, and it will tell a story of each item.
Patina creates character for each of your leather goods. It makes it as unique as the person who owns the item and tells the journey of both the item and the owner.
Most products you own, you don’t want them to show age or use. However, with leather goods, you do. The natural state of leather makes it almost alive, so it ages. It darkens, forms scars and scratches which all create a perfect patina. A perfect way to show, gracefully, the age of the leather good and the natural look of it.
Leather patina is a desirable trait for real, full grain leather goods. It shows uniqueness and tells a story of the item. So use that leather wallet or belt everyday and eventually you will create a beautiful patina.
Speed Up or Slow Down Patina
Now we know what patina is and how it forms, we can decide if we want to speed up the process or slow it down. There are ways to do both.
To speed up the process, simply use the leather good often. Expose it to sunlight and let it get a tan. Let the oils on your fingers soak in and even let it get a little rain. Using the item and exposing it to elements will help speed up the patina process. Giving you the darkened, softened, used leather look sooner.
If you are someone who doesn’t want the patina look early on, you can slow down the process as well. Basically, do the opposite. Don’t expose the leather to the sun. Do what you can to prevent the oils from your fingers to absorb in the leather. Condition, clean and seal your leather goods often to prevent scratches and dings from forming.
Slowing down or speeding up the patina process will ultimately depend on how you want your leather to look.
High Quality Leather Equals Patina
Texas Saddlery uses high quality leather for all our leather goods. Our belts, saddles, accessories and more are crafted from high quality leather. Meaning, a Texas Saddlery leather good will, over time, form a patina look. It will show your story and be a unique item that you can pass down to your children.