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Quality leather goods - handmade in Latvia

Why Vegetable tanned leather? – The natural leather we use

Almost all of ‘LACIS original’ leather goods are made of Vegetable tanned leather, if given a choice between Vegetable tanned or Chrome tanned leather, we definetly pick vegtan at all times.

Why Vegetable tanned leather? – The natural leather we use.
Vegetable tanned leather is an ancient, rich tradition of leather tanning.
The process of making treated – finished leather from raw leather.

When we started our adventure with leather and waxed fabrics in 2014, we almost knew nothing about the leather and its types, we knew it came from an animal, and that was about it for our knowledge. Of course, over time, the issue of leather treatment at an industrial level became more binding, soon it became clear that there are two major types of leather treatments in the world:

Chrome tanned leather: The most common type of leather, provisionally 90% of the world’s leather is chrome tanned. It is cheap, does not require big costs and is quick to produce. Chrome tanned leather is usually soft, so it is perfect for garment production. Widely available in unlimited color shades. During tanning, chemicals are used: chromium and acidic solutions, which significantly speeds up leather treatment (most often 1-3 days). The presence of chemicals destroys valuable natural leather properties and has a characteristic chemical odor.

Vegetable tanned leather: There is an ancient and tradition-rich tanning process that uses no chemicals, instead the craftsmen use natural raw materials such as bark, leaves, fruit, berries, roots, wood. Without the use of chemicals, leather treatment from raw to finished leather can take two to three months, in rare cases, even a year. Natural raw materials and processing time, ready-made leather are considerably more expensive, so just the final price of it all is the exact reason it is no seen so often.

Since there is no chemical presence in the process of tanning the leather, the leather retains a lot of good qualities where, in other cases, the chemicals remove those good qualities.

Examples include a pleasant smell, which is characterized by the smell of the earth. Another noteworthy feature is the leather maturing “Patina”. Vegetable tanned leather  is much more expressive and, with time, the leather gets a unique hue and look. For vegetable tanned leather  “Full grain” top layer is used, which is considered to be the most valuable and beautiful, so the tanneries choose the highest quality leather for producing vegetable tanned leather.

The result

Regardless of whether it is Chrome tanned or Vegetable tanned leather, leather stays leather and can be used effectively in the production of wallets, belts, bags and other products. When it comes to choosing which leather type to pick, the craftsman needs to understand what result he wants to get for the final product. Costs play a big role. Vegetable tanned compared to Chrome tanned leather is three to twenty times more expensive.

In 2018, when we renamed our brand to ‘LACIS original’, we were determined to raise the quality bar. And the direct use of Vegetable tanned leather in our products seemed the right choice. Vegetable tanned leather is natural, it lives its life, its smell is pleasant. It should be mentioned that one of the most valuable properties of the Vegetable tanned leather is the possibility to polish the rough edges using water, bees wax or natural liquids. In the polishing process, the edges are subjected to friction and become smooth, shiny – They will stay like that forever, also there won’t be an instance where the color will start peeling off the edges.

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