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What Is Full Grain Leather?

When it comes to leather, the quality of hide, production, and craftsmanship can vary massively. Full grain leather from the uppermost layer of animal hide is the finest form of material, and the only leather used to create Maxwell Scott’s luxury bags, accessories and travel luggage. Here’s everything you need to know about the quality material that has inspired artisans and tanneries for thousands of years.

What is full grain leather?

Full grain leather is the finest quality form of the material. Taken from the strongest top layer of the hide, this leather keeps all of its grain and fibres and requires great craftsmanship to work with. The hides are not sanded, buffed or snuffed, keeping imperfections intact to make a material that is all-natural and incredibly strong. Its breathability results in less moisture from prolonged contact. Over time full grain leather develops a desirable ‘patina’, a glossy sheen and natural darkening process that can only really be achieved through age, use, and exposure to sunlight. The design of the patina gives the item a non-replicable character, weaving a story that is unique to the owner.

what is full grain leather
Which part of the hide is full grain?

Full grain leather describes the uppermost layer of the animal hide. Here the fibre structure is at its tightest which makes the leather tough, durable and difficult to work with, requiring skilled artisans to form it into clothing and accessories. The ‘grain’ refers to the tight skin undulation of the hide, which is at its densest in full grain leather. The leather grain becomes looser and softer as it gets closer to the flesh (suede is made from the underside of the hide).

The natural folds and animal markings in full grain leather add to the character of the material. In ‘corrected’ leather these are brushed away and the grain is artificially pressed into the material during production. As it would be on an animal, the uppermost layer of skin is repellent to water, and so does not require artificial chemical treatment during production. This makes the skin breathable and able to develop a unique and beautiful patina.

what is full grain leather
what is full grain leather
What are the advantages of full grain leather?

The advantages of luxury full grain leather are simple, but important:

– Coming from the uppermost layer of the cowhide, the dense fibres of full grain leather make it incredibly strong and durable.

– With the natural animal pores of the material intact, full grain leather is more breathable than lower layer hides like ‘top grain’, ‘split grain’ and ‘corrected’.

– Each skin is different, so the untreated animal markings of full grain leather make every product entirely unique.

– Full grain leather is difficult to work with. Skilled artisans are required to shape and build the leather into items, so when you purchase a full grain leather bag, you know you are purchasing a handcrafted, quality product.

– The desirable leather aging process, patina, is unique to full grain leather. The natural oils of the animal skin cause the surface to darken and become glossier with age.

– Unique markings in the leather brought about through use give the items character, and are the true sign of a quality product that has been used for decades.

Why should you invest in full grain leather?

Leather products should be investment buys. Full grain leather will not deteriorate with age, rather, it will only grow in beauty and character over time. Not only will a wonderful patina develop; with proper leather care, the durability of the material will make it virtually indestructible even with daily use. Luxury full grain leather items from Maxwell Scott come with a 25 year warranty and are lifelong style companions rather than throwaway fashion pieces.

what is full grain leather
what is full grain leather