An untreated animal skin will decay as an organic material.  Only after it has gone through a ‘tanning process’, whereby tanning agents are used to alter the fiber structure of animal skin, will it become a durable and usable material, known as ‘leather’. 

Generally, leather can be divided into 2 types, based on the tanning method as follows:

  1. Vegetable-tanned leather is leather, which has been tanned with natural tanning agents derived from trees.  This type of leather will have a relatively natural color and feel.  It is strong, durable and will develop a unique ‘patina’ over time from usage. 
  2. Chrome-tanned leather is leather, which has been treated with a chrome tanning agent.  This type of leather is generally softer than vegetable-tanned leather and retains its color and texture better over time.  Chrome-tanned leather comes in wide-array of colors and is widely used in luxury handbags and accessories.