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What is a Leather Patina?

leather patina

If you’ve been researching leather goods long, no doubt you’ve heard about patina. A patina is essentially the weathered look a piece of leather will take on as it ages. A good patina is a sight to behold. It’s a richness and beauty that only comes with time and experience.


The reason this is important is because not all leather patinas or patinas well. Generally speaking, the higher quality leather, the better the patina. In fact, a great patina is one of the hallmarks of quality full grain leather. Did you ever see an old saddle or baseball glove? Yeah, that’s a patina.

What are the Characteristics of a Good Patina?

A good patina will have a slight sheen to it and be rich, almost marbled in character. It is an accumulation of scratches, oils from your hands or other sources, sunlight, wear, etc. But heavily treated “genuine leather” or other lesser grades of leather may not develop a rich patina.

Full grain vegetable tanned leather is notorious for developing the best patinas. It’s the old school leather and it will have a great old school look as it ages.

Does a Patina Mean that the Leather is Worn Out? 

No. No. No. Just like a 30-year-old bottle of fine wine, it gets better with age. The development of a patina is the goal. Your leather bag won’t be any weaker or worse off if it has a patina.

So don’t skimp on leather quality and deprive yourself of leather that will actually get better with age. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

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