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All the leathers(Full Grain and Corrected Grain) are first dyed via immersion in an aniline dye solution. Through this process aniline dye particles penetrate into the leather, accentuating the natural beauty of the hide. With aniline dyed leather it will vary in color not only within the hide (mottled effect) but also from hide to hide and you have to accept that the hide will display a number of leather's natural hallmarks. Because no other coating or pigment is used, this leather is superbly soft and supple with rich, penetrating color.


Only about 5% of this leather is good enough to be used as is. This kind of leather is called 'Aniline dyed Leather' or 'Unfinished Leather'. And only a soil resistant treatment is applied to the surface.


The rest of the leather needs one or more topical coatings for two reasons: to improve the durability and to make the color more even. The outside face of the hide is coated with a pigmented resin, and then a subsequent clear-coating(for durability). These resins create a film that bonds to the surface of the leather. It's primary goal is to protect the leather, providing wear, stain, and fade resistance. And this leather is called 'Pigmented Leather' or 'Finished Leather'.


Note that even though they are initially dyed with aniline dye they are called 'Pigmented Leather' because of the surface coating with pigment. The 'Pigmented Leather' or 'Finished Leather' does not have that "butter soft" leather feel associated with raw leather. This leather is much less susceptible to fading than 'Aniline dyed Leather' or 'Unfinished Leather'. It is more durable leather than the 'Aniline dyed Leather' or 'Unfinished Leather' and it is often used in situations that require heavy duty characteristics. However, if too much pigment is applied, this will impair the breathing capability of the leather. If it cannot breathe and absorb moisture the leather will dry and crack.


'Pigmented Leather' or 'Finished Leather' may not feature the same softness and suppleness as 'Aniline dyed Leather' or 'Unfinished Leather' leather, but this extra coating of pigment will make it more durable and less susceptible to staining. It's ideal for large households with children or for anywhere that the leather will be getting a lot of use.


Please note that the topical coating can range from thin to thick. If there is a very small amount of color or urethane clear coating on top of aniline dyed leather, it is often referred to as 'semi-aniline'. Semi-aniline leather often offers modest protection while retaining much of the aesthetic beauty of an unfinished aniline dyed leather.


                                                                                                                       -Updated January 26, 2013

List of Articles
Subject Date

8. Faux leather image

  • Feb 06, 2013

‘Faux’ means ‘fake’ in French. Faux leather is a fabric that looks like leather, but is actually made out of other materials. It does not contain any, not even 0.0001% of leather at all and still...

7. Bi-cast leather

  • Feb 06, 2013

Bi-cast products have the visual aesthetics of expensive, natural top-grain leather, but at substantially less cost, so it appears very attractive to the unsuspecting consumer. With natural leather, the stre...

6. Bonded leather image

  • Feb 06, 2013

Bonded leather started showing up at furniture retailers in 2007. Bonded leather is a plastic material (generally polyurethane or vinyl), backed with fabric and then a layer of latex mixed with a smal...

5. Synthetic Leather

  • Feb 06, 2013

From early in the 20th century there has been a consistent attempt to produce a leather ‘substitute’. The main motivation is cost cutting. To cut costs and present the consumer a leather product at...

4. Aniline dyed leather vs Pigmented leather

  • Jan 25, 2013

All the leathers(Full Grain and Corrected Grain) are first dyed via immersion in an aniline dye solution. Through this process aniline dye particles penetrate into the leather, accentuating the ...

3. Full Grain Leather vs Corrected Grain Leather

  • Jan 23, 2013

* Full Grain Leather Every Top Grain Leather has some kinds of markings such as scars, insect bites, wrinkles, veining which are natural characteristics of genuine leather. If there are few blemishes in...

2. Top Grain Leather vs Split Leather

  • Jan 23, 2013

All leather hides have to be split because a hide is too thick to upholster or use in any type of manufacturing. The hide goes into a machine where a blade 'splits' the hide into two layers. The...

1. Definition of Leather

  • Jan 16, 2013

Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides(skins of large animals). Although we can process the skins and hides of the horse, pig, kangaroo, sheep, goat, deer, reptile, seal and even th...

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