Understanding Leather Finishes

Understanding Leather Finishes


Understanding Leather Finishes - Blog Post by Amilu Handbags

Just thought you ladies out there might be interested to know a little more about the types of Italian leather we use for the manufacture of our lovely range of Amilu leather handbags.

A quick word about Italian leather

Italian leather is revered worldwide for being of the highest quality, mostly due to the care and craftsmanship that goes into the processing. Like it says so fittingly on this blog by Cuero Design, a Swedish company specialising in stylish leather chairs, "Italians are as passionate about leather as they are about food." It is the ideal type of leather for making accessories such as handbags and shoes, combining both durability with good looks and versatility.

Instead of focusing on embellishing our bags with lots of glitz and bling, our mission here at Amilu is to design and craft a range of contemporary but classic styles using high quality leather and our trademark ‘texture combining’: using different leather finishes to produce a visually stunning ‘ must have’ bag in a great range of colours. To do this, we use almost exclusively quality Italian cow hide leather.

Navy Real Italian Leather Bag - Chearsley - Amilu HandbagsOur Navy Chearsley tote is a great example of our signature texture combining.

High end leather

For our highest end leathers we mostly use a top quality Nappa or Sauvage leather. These are really soft tactile leathers with variable colour tones, giving a vintage appearance and a natural crease. Due to the softer absorbent finish, this leather is more likely to mark and stain but equally develops a lovely patina with age. You can find this leather in our Flagg Saddle Bags, our small Lydd Cross Body Bags and our exciting new Tumbled Woven Leather range of totes, hobo slouches and clutches launching this Autumn.

Navy Tumbled Leather Portobello Bag

Our tumbled woven Italian leather handbag range is launching Autumn 2017.

How we choose our leathers for each style

For our best selling tote bag styles we use many different types of top grain leather. That type of leather is used for most ranges of high end designer handbags as the finish can be corrected, sanded and polished to increase durability, reduce marking and ensure a consistency of finish and colour. At Amilu, we use many of the same finishes as most of the premier designer handbag brands. Some of these leather finishes are Saffiano, Palmetto, shiny full grain leather, Ruga, pebbled and micro grain leather. We also like using embossed leathers and suedes such as croc, ostrich and snake to add extra character to our statement bags.

Saffiano Leather

Saffiano is probably the most durable of leather finishes. We use this on our Amilu Burford Tote Handbag. It is hard wearing, practical and easy to wipe clean. Most of the big name brands and fashion houses use this type of leather. The name Saffiano comes from the cross hatch design that was pressed into the wax that coated the leather. It is renowned for its water resistant qualities.

Grey Real Saffiano Leather Burford Brogue Handbag

The Burford Brogue handbag made from Real Italian Saffiano leather.


Its sister finish, Palmetto, is the same kind of leather but a slightly different design. We use this on our versatile and capacious Bexley work handbag.

Bexley Navy Blue Real Leather Shoulder Work Bag by Amilu

The Bexley Work bag made from Real Italian Palmetto leather.

Shiny top grain leather

Shiny top grain leather, also know as polished leather, is exactly what it says on the tin: a top grain leather that has been dyed and polished to give it a gorgeous shiny mirror finish - great when you want to achieve a look of "shiny perfection". Very durable but slightly more easy to mark than other leathers, we use this leather for our Chatsworth leather shoulder bag, our Manuscript work bag and for some of our smaller handbags, like the Waverley.

Leather grains

Micrograin, cross grain, grained and pebbled leather are all different terms for the same very popular leather finish used by almost all major designer labels. The leather is tooled to give it a pebbled, slightly bumpy elephant skin appearance that looks and feels gorgeously soft and tactile. This texture makes it ideal for hobo and slouch shoulder bags and is used for our well loved Amilu favourite, the Aylesbury hobo shoulder bag, as well as on our Dixter Brogues and Cambridge cosmetic clutches. You can also find it teamed up with real cow hair on one of our statement bags, the Oxted slouch.

Ruga leather

Ruga leather is a much newer leather finish. It's basically shiny top grain leather without the high shine polish. It's very flat with a lovely semi matt appearance that especially suits more structured designs and styles that need a sleek contemporary look. We love this type of leather and it’s a great look which works perfectly on our spacious leather Newbury range.

Cowhide and pony skin leather

Cowhide, Hair On and Pony Skin are all names used for the type of leather where the animal hair has been left on, either with its natural patterning or dyed to bright eye catching jewel colours. It is usually made from either cow hide or pig skin, (rarely Pony skin nowadays)  but worth double checking. As with our other leathers, all our cow hide bags are made from cow leather as a by product of the food industry. Again Cowhide is a fabulous tactile leather, everyone loves to stroke it! and we use it for our Statement Oxted range, our Ashover saddle Bag, the lovely compact sized Lydd Cross Body / Clutch Bag and our brand new range of leather belts. 

Oxted Newbury Cow Hair by Amilu Handbags

All our Oxted cow hair bags have their own unique natural patina.

Leather finishes

Finally on our whistle stop tour of leather types we have the more individual finishes of both leather and suede that we use in the real leather texture combining looks of some of our most popular styles of shoulder, tote and cross body handbags - the Burford Brogue, Chearsley, Chalfont , Cliveden, Hampton and Ely to name a few. These finishes are embossed onto the leather and give a wide range of different finishes such as Ostrich, Croc, Python, metallic and weave leather. We work closely with our small group family manufacturers in Italy to search out and combine all the very latest leather finishes and translate our designs, together with the features we know you love, into eye catching Amilu handbags.

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