Why our leathers are so special?
In Spain, we use ultra premium, full grain, vegetable-tanned bovine leathers from free-range adult Spanish cows. These leathers are truly a by-product from the meat industry, biodegradable, allergy-free and are vegetable-tanned in Spain using natural tannins and sustainable processes.
In Portugal, we use similar premium, top and full grain, biodegradable, allergy-free, leathers from free-range adult Spanish cows that are tanned with natural tannins and without any metals (e.g. chromium) using sustainable processes.
These sustainable methods include purifying water waste and recycling of water so it is reusable for future tanning without inflicting damage to the surrounding waterways and leather residue dust being reused by local farmers as a fertilizer for their crops.
- Vegetable-Tanned Leather
- Ultra-Premium Quality
- Full Grain, Smooth, Aniline Finish
- Biodegradable, Allergy-Free
- Metal-Free Tanned Leather
- Premium Quality
- Full and Top Grain, Milled Finish or Nubuck
- Semi-Stiff & Grainy Feel, Earthy Smell
- Biodegradable, Allergy-Free
Leather 101: Understanding the different leather types
Grade 1: Full grain leather
The best quality, the highest grade, difficult to obtain and work with, the most expensive leather. This leather is part of the top side of the hide but has not been buffed or sanded and the surface develops a beautiful patina over time. Our hides are smooth and without too many blemishes, marks or scars. This leather has a stiff profile but very durable, has a natural feel with earthy smells.
We use full grain leather for all of our vegetable-tanned luxury leather products and in some cases for our metal-free tanned premium leather products.
Grade 2: Top grain leather
Is a quality leather that is used in areas that receive more wear since the fiber is more compact than that of split grain leathers. The word “top” indicates the top side of the hide and usually these are buffed and sanded to get rid of blemishes and scars to achieve a certain aesthetic. Many of the leading luxury brands use, for example, the saffiano or croco embossing patterns. Nubuck is another example with a specific look and feel using top grain leathers.
We use top grain leather for most of our metal-free tanned premium leather products.
Grade 3: Split leather
Is the underside of the hide after a splitting process from the top and full grain side of the hide. The surface is usually refinished with a lot of pigmented paint to resemble higher grade leathers. It is not as resistant or durable as top or full grain leathers, however, it can still be suitable for some niche executions. Suede is an example of a split leather which can be used as an excellent lining option for leather goods although much heavier compared to textile linings.
Split leathers do not have the quality, stress and resistance capabilities needed for our products.
Grade 4: Bonded leather
The lowest grade and should not be considered a real leather in our eyes. Bonded leather is the leftover dust and shavings of the tanning process which is then glued and pressed together. The result is a weak leather that degrades quickly with use and due to the high amounts of glue not very eco-friendly in its creation process.
Leather 101: Understanding the different tanning methods
Belcouro | vegetable tanning
An age old traditional and almost artisan process of tanning which can take up to 40 days using vegetable and bark tannins, that have organic acids found naturally in some plant species, barks, branches and leaves. The raw hides are placed in barrels with the tannins for weeks. Executed by experienced, skilled and increasingly harder to find specialists. Colors and textures have a more rich tone with a natural and organic look. Excellent durability and strength but can crack if exposed to direct heat for prolonged times.
Vegetable tanned leathers develop a beautiful patina over time and if maintained correctly can last for generations. We exclusively work with one award winning Spanish tannery, providing us with our premium quality full grain, smooth vegetable-tanned leathers.
Belcouro | metal-free tanning
A process similar to aldehyde (wet-white) tanning but without any metallic chemicals, such as aluminium or zirconium. This biodegradable leather is tanned with natural tannins including Mimosa, Acacia, Quebracho, polymers and a modified glutaric aldehyde. The advantage is that this leather is not only biodegradable but the waste material that occurs during the tanning process is compostable and is used as fertilizers for agricultural uses.
Our metal-free tanned leathers are lighter in color and can even convert into pastel shade leathers. Good durability and strength with a natural feel. We exclusively work with one award winning Portuguese tannery, providing us with our premium quality.
Aldehyde | wet-white tanning
Chromium (chrome)-free tanning also called white washing or wet-white. This tanning process takes a longer time than chrome tanning and is more expensive. The raw appearance after tanning is pale, almost white, hence the name. Many chemicals are used and the drums of the tannery must be strictly controlled to get the best and constant end result. We don’t use this type of tanning due to its cocktail of metallic chemicals used in the tanning process, which could include the highly toxic formaldehyde or other metallic chemicals such as aluminium and zirconium.
Chrome | wet-blue tanning
The most common mass-produced tanning method. Effective, fast and cheap. The leather is tanned within 1 or 2 days and the resulting tanned leather hide obtains a very unnatural looking blue appearance. Chromium, Azo-dyes, PCP and other chemicals are applied, hazardous to our health and environment. Widely used worldwide. Chrome tanning in Europe is safer and is strictly controlled by the REACH compliance and EU regulations since 2006 which states that the most toxic form of chromium (VI) is not allowed to be used. However, even leather that has been tanned with the safer chromium (III) variant can still form the hazardous chromium (VI) by certain oxidation conditions during re-tanning processes.
We oppose this mass market tanning method due to its disastrous lifecycle properties and the impact large-scale chrome mining has on the environment.