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Leather Identification Method


Table of Contents

“Genuine leather” is a common word in the leather products market, is a customary name for people to distinguish synthetic leather and natural leather; in the concept of consumers, “genuine leather” also has a non-fake implication. In fact, genuine leather is leather, it is mainly made of mammalian skin processing.

Common classification of leather

There are many kinds of genuine leather, various varieties, different structures, different qualities, and equal price disparities. Therefore, genuine leather is both the collective name of all natural leather, is also an ambiguous mark on the commodity market.


Natural leather according to its type to divide the main pig leather, cow leather, sheep leather, horse leather, donkey leather and kangaroo leather, etc., and a small amount of fish leather, reptile leather, amphibian leather, ostrich leather, etc.. Among them, cow leather and divided into yellow cow leather, buffalo leather, yak leather and Pian leather; sheep leather is divided into sheep leather and goat leather. According to its level, there are head layer leather and two layer leather, where the head layer leather has full grain leather and repair leather; two layer leather and pig two layer leather and cattle two layer leather. Among the main types of leather, yellow cow leather and sheep leather have flat and fine surface, small hairy eyes, fine and tight inner structure, and the leather body has good fullness and elasticity** and good physical properties. Therefore, the superior cattle leather and sheep leather is generally used as the leather of high-grade products, and its price is the higher category of leather in the bulk.

Among many leather varieties, full grain leather should be on the top of the list because it is processed from the top quality raw material leather with less wounds, and the natural state of the leather surface is kept intact with thin coating, which can show the natural pattern beauty of animal skin. It is not only wearable, but also has good breathability.

Trimmed leather is made by using the leather grinding machine to lightly grind the surface of the leather and then coat it and press the corresponding pattern. In fact, it is a “facelift” for the natural leather surface which has a wound or roughness. This kind of leather almost lost the original surface state, the coating layer is thicker, wear resistance and breathability is worse than full grain leather.

The first layer is used to make full-grain leather or repair leather, and the second layer is made into two-layer leather through the process of coating or film, which has poor fastness and wear resistance, and is the cheapest one among the same kind of leather.

Commonly used leather identification methods


1. Feel

Touch the surface of leather with your hands, such as a smooth, soft, plump, elastic feeling is real leather; and general synthetic leather surface astringent, dead, poor softness.

2. Eye

Observe the real leather surface has clearer pores, pattern, yellow leather has more proportional fine pores, yak leather has thicker and sparse pores, goat skin has fish scale pores, pigskin has triangular thick pores, and artificial leather, although also imitated the pores, but not clear. The following give you the pig leather, horse leather, cow leather, sheep leather characteristics and identification method: cow leather surface fine, high strength, the most suitable for making leather shoes; sheep leather light, thin and soft, is the ideal fabric for leather clothing; pig leather breathable and vapor permeable performance is good, more suitable for making underwear and children’s products; horse leather fiber structure is more compact, strength is also relatively high, used for making leather pants and leather boots effect is better. Generally speaking, the thickness, density and distribution of the pores on the surface of leather are the main basis to distinguish between cow leather, pig leather, horse leather and sheep leather.

  • Pig leather: the pores on the surface of leather are round and thick, and reach into the leather more inclined. The pores are arranged in groups of three and the leather surface shows many small triangular patterns.
  • Cow leather: both buffalo leather and buffalo leather are called cow leather, but there are some differences between them. The pores on the surface of yellow cow leather are round and straight into the leather, the pores are tight and even, irregularly arranged, like a star in the sky. The pores on the surface of buffalo leather are coarser than those of yellow cow leather, and the number of pores is less than that of yellow cow leather, and the leather is looser and less detailed than that of yellow cow leather. Horse leather: the pores on the surface of leather are oval, slightly larger than the pores of yellow cow leather, and arranged more regularly.
  • Sheep leather: the pores on the leather grain surface are flat and round, the pores are clear, several of them form a group, and the arrangement is fish scale.

3. Smell

All real leather has the smell of leather; and artificial leather has a strong irritating plastic smell.

4. Ignite

From the real leather and artificial leather back tear off a little fiber, ignite, where the pungent smell, knot into the lump is artificial leather; where the hair smell, not knot hard lump is genuine leather.

5. Genuine leather mark

In China, the leather mark is registered in the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to prove the trademark, where wear hanging leather mark leather products have three characteristics:

  • The product is made of high quality genuine leather
  • The product is a high-grade products of good workmanship
  • Consumers can enjoy good after-sales service when they buy leather products with the leather logo. Not made of leather products can not hang leather logo, want to hang leather logo, need to go through the China Leather Industry Association strict review, approval, before hanging. China leather industry association every year to carry out quality testing to ensure product quality.

The registered trademark of the genuine leather logo is an artistic deformation pattern composed of a whole sheep, a pair of cow horns and a leather shape. The overall pattern is round and drum-shaped, with three letters of GLP in the center of the pattern, which is the English abbreviation of genuine leather products, and the main color of the pattern is black on a white background, with only three letters in red. The pattern means: cow, sheep and pig are the three main natural leather raw materials for leather products, and the pattern is in the shape of a round drum, which symbolizes the main processing equipment of tannery industry on the one hand, and symbolizes the development of leather industry rolling forward on the other hand.


These are the common classifications and identification methods about leather. If you have any ignorance about fabrics, please feel free to contact us, we are a garment manufacturer with 15 years of experience and are glad to use our professional knowledge to solve your problems.


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