Understanding the Leather Aging Process: What is Patina? - HIDES

Understanding the Leather Aging Process: What is Patina?

The word patina is often thrown around when discussing leather products, but what does it actually mean? Leather patina refers to the “antique” look that develops on leather due to wear and tear. Below, we’ll delve into this process and discuss why customers love it. 

What is Patina on Leather?

For leather enthusiasts, the word ‘patina’ can often be a little bit of an obsession. Yet, what exactly is it? In simple terms, it is a word used to describe an item’s aging process. Patina is not exclusive to leather; many materials can develop a patina such as wood, metal, stone, and copper. Have you ever seen a copper statue with green spots? The greenish colour is actually a patina layer. 
The patina on leather is essentially a soft sheen that appears on leather products through use and exposure to various elements. This results in an antiquing effect - a literal manifestation of the leather’s aging process. Over time you may find that your leather bag or belt begins to change slightly in colour. This is the patina layer forming and is a perfectly natural occurrence. 
In fact, patina on leather is the hallmark of high-quality leather. It is a feature that many look for in a leather product that will inevitably become a timeless heirloom. 

How Does Patina Develop?

The way in which premium, full-grain leather develops a patina is really what sets it apart from other materials. There are several unique factors that impact how the patina develops on leather but each is influenced by how the leather product is used and how it is stored. Let’s take a more detailed look below. 

Factors That Cause Leather Patina to Develop

As you use your leather products, they will inevitably come into contact with various types of dirt, environmental factors, weather systems, and more. This is part of the aging process (unless you keep your favourite leather jacket stored in your closet for nobody else to see). 
As each factor comes into contact with the leather, it will alter its appearance. Here are the factors that impact the leather aging process the most: 
  • Sun exposure: UV rays can act as a bleaching agent. When leather is left exposed to sunlight, it can fade the colour and cause the leather to age prematurely. This will add to the natural ageing process of leather. However, keep in mind that too much sun exposure is not ideal. 
  • Heat exposure: Similar to sunlight exposure, when leather products are exposed to high levels of heat, it causes the colour of brown leather to fade to a golden tone. 
  • Moisture: Moisture, whether from rain or another source, has been known to leave interesting watermarks on leather over time. 
  • Body oils and dirt: The oils and dirt from our skin and hair also play a part in the development of patina on leather. As we touch the leather, the oils from our hands seep through and stain the leather. This all adds to the antique look that patina is famous for. 
  • Fabric dye: Dye from clothing especially denim jeans is another factor that will cause your leather wallets, belts and bags to develop a patina layer. 
  • Wear and tear: General wear and tear such as scratches from keys and blemishes have also been known to develop a patina over time.
Essentially, everyday use will help your leather products to develop a patina layer as the years go on. Wondering if you can speed up the process? The simple answer is that you can’t. A patina layer develops slowly. 
So, if you are looking for your new leather products to have that iconic antique, vintage aesthetic then you need to use them a lot. 

Top Reasons Why Customers Love the Aged Leather Look 

Aged leather has been a fan favourite among many leather lovers for years. Not only does it give a product an unmistakable look but it also gives the product a unique quality too. Aesthetically, as the leather develops a patina, the distinct imperfections give the leather character and in most cases will make it look better. With the added guarantee of no two leather products looking the same.
Most of all, customers love a leather patina because it is the marker of high quality. As we mentioned above, only the highest grades of leather will develop a patina. Therefore, it gives leather products an heirloom quality that can be passed down to your children and theirs. 

Buy Patina Worthy Leather Products at Hides Canada

At Hides Canada, we make the finest leather products from high-quality full-grain leather and Italian hardware. We proudly source our hide from the Punjabi region and Northern Kashmir. All of our leather products are then handmade right here in Canada. Browse our selection of leather jackets, leather wallets, belts, bags and much more. Shop online with us today!