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What is Leather Patina?

What is Leather Patina?

Leather Goods Become Better With Time

Chic Sparrow leather goods are designed for durability and years of use. Over time, all leathers age in a unique way. Depending on the tanning process, surface texture and how you care for it, all leather goods will change over time. Patina development indicates a well loved, high quality leather.

Admire These Patina Qualities as They Develop:

  • Leather Color Darkening (All over -or- in certain areas)
  • Sheen/Texture Changes
  • Vintage “Broken-In” Look

Chrome Tanned vs. Vegetable Tanned Leathers

The leather tanning process plays a big role in how leathers age. Although all leather will patina with time, vegetable tanned leather will darken more quickly than chrome tanned leathers. If you like your notebook cover to patina quickly, a veg-tan leather cover would be a great choice. However, if you want your TN cover to stay true-to-color, select a chrome-tan leather. If you have a preference, look for the leather tanning details on the Chic Sparrow product pages under the “Leather Texture & Character” section. 

Learn about leather tanning on the Chic Sparrow Common Terms page.

For example, look at the patina experiment below. We put leather samples in sunlight to see how they age in UV light. The top row is the original sample with no sunlight, the second row was in sunlight for 1 week, and the third row was in sunlight for 2 weeks. Can you point out the chrome-tan vs veg-tan leathers based on how they aged? (Hint: 2 leathers are veg-tan and 3 leathers are chrome-tan) 

Leather Patina on Chic Sparrow Samples

(L-R: Hatta, Undyed Veg-Tan, Sequoia, Woodhouse, Avalon)

(Top: Original / Middle: 1 Week of Sun / Bottom: 2 Weeks of Sun)

In contrast, look at the photo below. All of these leathers are veg-tan, and they darkened in color during the patina experiment. It’s amazing how the colors deepened with simple light exposure! With handling and everyday use, they would patina even more. 

(L-R: Mr. Darcy, Giovanni, Emma, Undyed Veg-Tan, Woodhouse)

(Top: Original / Middle: 1 Week of Sun / Bottom: 2 Weeks of Sun)Leather Patina on Vegetable Tanned Leathers

Light Vs. Dark Color Leathers

Based on the leather color, you may notice lighter color leathers develop patina more quickly. Darker leathers will patina too, but the subtle changes on lighter color leathers may be more noticeable. Look at this photo of a Pemberly Daisy travelers notebook. The darker book was exposed to light for about 3 weeks, deepening the bright yellow to a golden mustard hue. 

Leather Patina on Travelers Notebook

Everyday Use & Leather

Because leather hides are essentially skin, just like human skin, it will change when exposed to different elements. The term “everyday use” refers to many factors that determine how a leather item will patina. Think about it, every time you touch your TN, oils and dirt from your hands get onto the leather. When you open your notebook to write at a coffeeshop, sticky spills and cleaners could be getting on your leather. Treat your notebook cover with care to help it age gracefully!

Some Everyday Use Factors Include:

  • Wear and Tear in Frequently Used Areas
  • Age of the Leather Product
  • Exposure to Sunlight/Elements
  • Oil and Dirt
  • Storage
  • Spills and Stains

Caring for Your Leather Goods

For the ultimate protection, keep your leather goods covered when not in use. Use Chic Sparrow Dust Covers to help keep your leather free from dirt. Covering your leather goods will help keep dust, sunlight and spills away from the leather. If you want to display your notebook covers instead, make sure they are out of direct sunlight, as this can darken some vegetable tanned leathers. Clean and condition your leather notebook covers 1-2 times per year to protect the leather. See the Chic Sparrow Leather Cleaning Guide Here!

Personalized Leather Patina

A lovely, vintage look will develop as you use your travelers notebooks. Over time, you’ll see that certain areas of the notebook age faster than others. Based on how you use it, your notebook will reveal even more personalization over time.

One of the best things about leather patina is how unique it is. A new leather product starts off with a uniform surface (with natural variation, of course!), then it ages as you use it. It’s no wonder why people love leather goods so much, they almost become like a familiar friend. As you take your leather notebook cover or handbag on life’s adventures, you may remember when you got a certain scratch on the cover when you were journaling outside, or when a fountain pen mishap made a stain. These qualities are not mistakes, rather they are indicators of a life lived to the fullest!

Leather Patina on Austen Emma

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