The main difference between vegetable tanning and chrome tanning is quality. In this article you will read the main differences between these two processes and will be able to choose the one you believe is right for you. Knowing the difference between vegetable tanned leather and chrome tanned leather is useful to know more about a product origin and about its quality.

Leather is skin that goes through tanning processes which preserve the material making it last long.

Differences between vegetable tanning and chrome tanning

Tanning consists in turning raw animal skins into finished products that are more resistant over time: leather. There are a couple of tanning processes: 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 one is the best.

Today we want to specifically talk about this, we want to provide you with a general view on these two different tanning processes: vegetable tanning and chrome 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.

Cuoio conciato 100% al vegetale

Vegetable Tanning Pros

Leather obtained with this 100% natural process is environment friendly and unique. This tanning process enhances every pelt detail 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 Tanning Coins

Even if we eagerly and proudly only use vegetable tanned leather, we have to admit that vegetable tanning has a couple of disadvantages; cons that is fair to list it in this article:

  • Average time of a complete vegetable tanning process can take up to 60 days
  • Leather can get easily stained in the presence of iron during the processing stages
  • Considerable craftsmanship skills are needed for vegetable tanning to happen
  • Limited variations of color obtainable
  • Direct heat can cause a reduction and possible cracks in vegetable tanned items

Chrome Tanning

Chrome tanning is a process of leather processing, quite simple and cheap, with a 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.

conciatura al cromo

Chrome Tanning Pros

  • 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

Chrome Tanning Cons

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

Artisanry first

We choose 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 is a product worthy of receiving care and attention during all its processing phases; it is not ashamed to show the scars and signs suffered over time. Leather is proud of its marks and, therefore, makes them its unique and unrepeatable identity; traits that 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.