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When shopping for leather, you will quickly discover it has its own vocabulary. Much like coffee, it has terms that describe everything from texture to where it came from.  By learning a few key terms, you can have confidence in your leather choices.

Top Grain Leather:  Most leather is made from cowhide which is prized for its strength, durability and texture.  After tanning cowhide is often split to reduce its thickness and increase its flexibility.  After splitting, the top portion of the leather that contains the natural grain texture of the leather is referred to as top grain. Top grain leather is preferred for upholstery for its elasticity and durability.

Protected Leather: Protected leather starts out as natural leather and undergoes an additional finishing step after tanning.  During this processes, a protective coat is added sealing the surface of the leather making it moisture and scratch resistant.  Benefits of protected leather include stain resistance and easy cleaning.

Natural Leather:  Leathers that do not undergo the protective finishing process are referred to as natural leathers.  Prized for their subtle textures and often paired with exotic finishing methods, unsealed natural leathers offer unparalleled luxury. Select natural leathers undergo oil or wax treatments that give them unique surface textures and properties.

Grain:  During tanning as hair is removed from the hide, the natural texture of the hide, referred to as grain, is revealed.  Pores and other markings of the leather help give top grain natural leathers their distinctive appearance.

Corrected Leather: Leather remains a natural material; as such imperfections and markings on the outer surface of the hide are often visible.  Corrected leathers are buffed to remove surface texture or imperfections.  The corrected surface can be left as is or is combined with embossing to imprint a uniform grain texture onto the leather.

Full Grain:  Uncorrected leathers do that not undergoes correction or embossing retain their natural texture and are referred to as full grain leathers.  The full grain finish highlights the natural origin of genuine leather with subtle markings and grain variations not found in corrected leather.

Aniline Dyed Leather: Aniline dyes are applied in a tumbling dye bath. Having no pigmentation of their own, aniline dyes directly stain leather fibers leaving the natural details of the leather intact. Due to the penetrating properties of aniline dyes, the entire thickness of the aniline dyed leather receives color.

Semi – aniline Dyed Leather: After aniline dying, some leathers undergo additional pigment application to create semi-aniline leathers.  By applying pigments  it is possible to create modeled textures or add rich consistent color while retaining the durability created by aniline dyes deep penetration into the leather structure.

Grade:  When shopping for leather furniture you are bound to hear the topic of grade come up while discussing price.  Grades are categories used by manufacturers to split up dozens of leather choices into easy to price groups.  Grades themselves are not direct indicators of quality.  When comparing leathers it is important to go beyond just grade levels to compare the properties such as surface finish, thickness and if the leather is protected or natural to determine the best choice.


We stock Zoletti a range of high-quality durable lounges and recliners.



A range of Semi-Aniline leathers that offer a softer and more pliable feel


Zoletti’s finest and softest leather. A top grain leather that exudes quality and available in a range of fashion and traditional colours.




Types of Leather

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