vegetable tanning

Vegetable Tanning or Chrome Tanning

Chrome tanning or vegetable tanning?

Vegetable tanning or chrome tanning? Here are all the secrets you need to know about this two major leather tanning process.


“Leather is skin processed through tanning processes that make the material long-lasting.”

What is tanning?

Tanning consists in turning raw animal skins into finished products that are more resistant over time: leather.
The most widespread tanning process involves the use of trivalent chromium, in particular basic chromium sulphate.
These articulated chemical names raise some questions.
Therefore, today, we want to provide an overview of vegetable tanning and chrome tanning, and see which is the best?

Differences between vegetable and chrome tanning

Vegetable tanning

Vegetable tanning is based on the use of raw materials available in nature: tanning agent as tannic substances contained in barks and trees.
Tanneries take pelts from cattle destined for the food industry, not victimising poor animals for the sole purpose of obtaining their skin.Italian tanning tradition is considered the landmark for high-end consumer goods, Italy is the first in the world for this sector.
Our products are handcrafted with the best vegetable tanned leather from Italy.

Pros of vegetable tanning

Leather obtained with this 100% natural process is environment friendly and unique. This tanning process enhances every pelt details creating an exclusive and authentic final result.
We believe that the best trait this leather has is the patina that it develops over time. Matter of fact, vegetable tanned leather gets better and better over time.

Vegetable tanned leather saddlebag

Cons of vegetable tanning

As they say: everyone has their faults. Even if we only use leather from vegetable tanning to make our products, there is some disadvantage; and it is more than fair to list it in this article:

  • The average time of the vegetable tanning process can take up to 60 days
  • The leather is more easily stained in the presence of iron during all processing stages
  • Considerable craftsmanship skills are needed for their realization
  • Limited variations colors obtainable with vegetable tanning
  • Direct heat can cause a reduction and possible cracks in vegetable tanned items

Leather keychain

Chrome tanning

Chrome tanning is a process of leather processing, quite simple and cheap, with very recent origins; since in 1910, the first chrome tanning was patented which experienced a significant expansion in the industrial sphere while the post-war period ending.

It is a process based on trivalent chromium ability to form complexes with carboxyl groups of skin collagen.
About 80-90% of all leather produced in the world has been chrome tanned; it is possible to use this technique on bovine skins, sheep skin, lambs and many other animals from which it is possible to find a skin.

Chrome tanning

Advantages of chrome tanning

  • Low production costs
  • Easy dyeing
  • High thermal resistance
  • More colors possible
  • Elastic fibers with abundant tensile strenght
  • Fast processing
  • Water repellent if retreaded and finished appropriately

Disadvantages of chrome tanning

There have always been debates over the safety of this type of tanning: here is a document that talks about the health risks of workers in the tanning industry.

Here are the disadvantages:

  • Harmful to the environment
  • Low craftsmanship
  • Leathers made according to series processes
  • Characteristic chemicals odor
  • It has a natural appearance
  • It does not look natural



Anyway, we have chosen: Vegetable tanning.
Our customers want a reliable product that lasts over time and that absorbs all the experiences graven on  them skin.

We are in a world where technology makes our reality go faster and faster; perhaps we should stop every now and then to think about what kind of products we need to use. We should take into consideration technologies that allow us to obtain better products. The difference between these two kind of tanning process shoudl teach us a valuable lesson: purchase something that respects quality, durability and health criteria, rather than a low cost product of poor quality which is also bad for the environment.

Vegetable tanned leather should be a protected legacy; a product worthy of having care and attention in all its processing phases; it is not ashamed to show the scars and signs suffered over time. The leather is proud of them, and makes them his unique and unrepeatable identity, to represent a beauty that has matured with the use and experience of its owner.

Vegetable tanned leather is a legacy to be protected, just like the world we live in.

Thank for reading.

Quality Rides With You

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