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Vegetable tanning vs chrome tanning: pros and cons

vegetable tanning shows

Vegetable tanning and mineral tanning, what differences?

For more than half of our watch straps as well as for all our leather goods we use vegetable tanned leather. This process although ancestral remains still unknown to the general public but do not be afraidCharlie Paris is there to explain how this type of leather is obtained.

But what is vegetable tanning?

Tanning is the process that makes it possible to transform animal skins of soft leather, durable, rot proof and water resistant. Tanningplant is the first method of tanning used by men, from the Middle Ages this process was widely used.

Before being tanned, the skin underwent some alterations. It is first salted or dried in order to be preserved. The latter is then rehydrated and peeled to remove hair and subcutaneous tissue. The skin is finally ready to be tanned! So that the skin turns into leather, the latter is immersed in large tanks saturated with Tannin. The process of vegetable tanning therefore uses tannins ; these are substances of organic origin present in the bark, SAP, leaves or roots of plants. In contact with animal skin these tanning agents turn it into leather.

The leather now tanned, undergoes another 2 steps, the grinding and finishing which allow to obtain the desired thickness and finish of the leather depending on its future use.

If the process could extend over several months or even years at the beginning of this practice, vegetable tanning currently used lasts between 1 and 2 days. Today tanks unlike the beginning of the tanning industry are much more saturated in tannin which speeds up the process.  Using only products from the biosphere, vegetable tanning is a method considered more environmentally friendly.

The leather obtained by vegetable tanning will have beautiful natural shades that will skate and take on a unique shade with time. Vegetable tanning allows to obtain leathers slightly stiffer and firmer than chrome tanning leathers but its Touch will be softer and silkier. This delicate leather is the leather we use on our bags Signature BlackHavana or our Men's leaf holders in Cognac, Chestnut and black shades. It is also the leather used for ourbracelet ofmen's watch and ofwomen's watch

vegetable tanned leather

You will have understood vegetable tanning is not to be confused with vegan leather which he does not have animal origin. It is a textile imitating leather that is created thanks to the fibers contained in some plants, the best known of which are the pineapple leaf or the fibers of the eucalyptus. However the appellation vegan leather remains an abuse of language and a beautiful oxymoron. The name "leather" is protected by a decree that states that leather must necessarily be derived from animal skin.

What about chrome tanning ?

The method of vegetable tanning is not the only method for tanner leather. The most widespread technique is that of mineral tanning or chrome tanning.  Indeed, more than 85% of tanned skins in the world come from mineral tanning, a process developed at the end of the 19th century using mineral tannins, mostly chromium sulfate. This process is widely used because it allows to tanner the leather much faster than vegetable tanning, it only takes a few hours for the mineral tannins to transform the skin into leather.

The advantage of chrome tanned leather is that it will not move, the color will not evolve over time. So your Charlie Paris Blue Wallet will be the same in 10 years ! The other major advantage of chrome tanning is that we can apply brighter colors to the leather, just like some of our leather watch straps for women.

What is vegetable tanning leather

vegetable tanning benefitsVegetable tanning or chromium tanning

vegetable tanned leather

vegetable tanning portfolio


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