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What's the difference between natural and synthetic dyed leather?

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The incredibly soft and brightly colored leather bags you see online or in a store have a long process before they even get to the artisan who makes them. Leathers are categorized as absorbent or non-absorbant. The absorbent leather is leather that allows water to easily soak into it, an example of an absorbent leather is suede. The non-absorbant leather is leather that water rolls off of without soaking into the surface.

The main two types of dyeing processes are synthetic and natural. Synthetic dyes produce a more extensive range of colors; however, they can be damaging to the environment and humans as they can contain high levels of chromium, lead, or other unsafe compounds. Natural dyes can be derived from minerals or vegetables; they are gentler on the environment and safer for humans who come into contact with it.

Often leather is tanned, to bring out the natural color of the leather, then dyed to add a specific color, and then leather can also be finished with a pigment. Depending on how many processes the leather goes through, it can feel very different and look very different. The more dyes and pigments applied to the leather, the less you can see the natural grain of it, and the fewer dyes or pigments applied to the leather the more the natural grain shows through the color. 

At Selleria Veneta we are passionate about finding the most exquisite Italian handbags to share with you, which is why we only work with Italian artisans who use high-quality leathers produced using safer natural dyes. 

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