'Behind every successful woman is a fabulous handbag.'
Materials: Full Grain Leather
Origin Behind The Leather
Full grain leather comes from the top layer of the hide and includes all of the natural grain.
Our Gigi Bag is handcrafted from lush naturally milled full grain leather with a luxurious and sumptuous pebbled finish. The quality and detail of the lining material and stitching is second to none.
Full-grain leather is stronger and more durable. A bag will get more oohs and ahs after ten years of use from this type of leather. The leather has not been sanded or buffed to remove any marks. The entire thickness of the skin is used.
What is Full Grain Leather?
If the hide is a blemish-free hide, the very best (in our opinion) way to use the leather is full grain. Full-grain leather simply means that the hair is removed and the hide goes immediately into the tanning process.
All of the oil-absorbing properties and original characteristics of the leather remain intact.
Full grain is regarded as the highest quality leather, which is why ultimately we choose to use it for many of our bags and accessories.
Full grain leather is the highest quality grade of leather that money can buy. It is more expensive for manufacturers to buy and more difficult for them to work with
Being the strongest, outermost layer of the hide to be used, and keeping the grain in its entirety, rather than being sanded away to look more ‘uniform’, full grain leather lasts much longer. As it ages, it develops a patina, which is the change in colour over time. This change occurs faster on untreated pieces and is considered to be a highly desirable characteristic of leather.
As full grain leather ages, rather than wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character that cannot be easily duplicated. Truly, the more you use it, the better it looks and feels.
How It's Made: Preparation
Firstly, the animal skin, or hide, is prepared, this may include some of these steps:
The skin is treated to preserve it and stop it from temporarily decaying. It is then soaked to clean and rehydrate it.
Then comes the operation of liming which is the removal of proteins and natural fats and greases by soaking it in an alkali solution.
After that, the hair of the skin is removed followed by the removal of subcutaneous materials and fat. The hide is split into horizontal layers, which gives us different layers like full grain (top layer) to the corium layer from which ‘genuine’ leather and suede are made.
The skin is limed and de-limed, the further removal of proteins and then the removal of those chemicals. More proteins are removed through bating when proteolytic proteins are introduced; this also helps to soften the pelt. It then goes through a subprocess called slicking which is the physical removal of fat inside the skin. The hide is then bleached and pickled (lowering of the pH level to the acidic region) to help certain tanning agents to penetrate it; it may then be de-pickled to raise the pH level up again to assist with the penetration of further certain tanning agents.
How It's Made: Tanning and Crusting
Next the hide is tanned, which is the process of turning the raw hide into a stable material that will dry out to a flexible form and won’t putrefy.
The hides are put into a drum along with the tanning liquor to soak while the drums slowly rotate. Once an even amount of penetration has been acquired, the pH levels are slowly increased - this sub-process is called basification. Basification fixes the tanning material to the leather.
The tanned hides then go through the crusting process, which is when the hide is thinned, tanned again and lubricated. Crusting is also when the colouring process often comes in. The main aim of crusting is to dry and soften the hides.
The leather may also be given a surface coating or finish, such as:
Oiling, Brushing, Padding, Spraying, Buffing, Embossing and Glazing These are all operations that may be performed if the leather requires a finish. For example, patent leather would be given a super glossy, shiny finish.