ClickCease WHAT IS GENUINE LEATHER? - Leather Gallery


June 07, 2021 4 min read

While walking through stores or browsing online, you are bound to come across the phrase “genuine leather”. This phrase sounds great to us, it appears to proudly state that it is genuine and authentic, meaning it is good quality, right? Wrong. The word genuine is the most misunderstood and abused word in the leather industry, and we are going to highlight exactly why.
Genuine leather does not mean that it is the best quality leather that you can obtain it simply means that there is some percentage of leather in the material of the product in question. This means that you can purchase a leather bag that claims to be “genuine leather” but rather only contains a small fraction of good quality leather and the rest of the material is made up of leather scraps and bonded leather. Simply put, some products carry a big price tag because they are labelled as “genuine leather”. This is not entirely wrong, because they do in fact contain some real good quality leather, but for the majority, they are bad quality and you will need to replace that item again in the near future.
This misconception and abuse of the phrase “genuine leather” is why it is so incredibly important to do some research before investing in a leather product, to ensure that the leather item you are buying, while it may be genuine leather, is the best type of genuine leather you can get.


 When leather is made the hide is obtained from an animal, most commonly cattle, oxen, sheep and goats, as well as other more exotic animals such as ostriches, crocodiles, buffalo, hogs and many more. This hide, if thick enough like the cattle hide, is split into various layers.


The lower (inner) layers of the hide are stripped off, while the outer, top parts of the hide are kept aside as these are the higher quality parts of leather, more commonly known as “top grain leather”. At times, genuine leather may also be mixed with leather scraps and artificial materials and bonding agents, therefore creating a lower quality “genuine leather” called bonded leather.


 As we now know, genuine leather does not mean it is the best quality leather. Of the various possible grains and cuts of leather, genuine leather can be found towards the lower end of the list compared to high-quality leathers such as full grain leather and top grain leather. “Genuine leather” is not as durable and long-lasting as top grain leather and full grain leather, as it has been split into thinner layers and features a slight suede feeling that can cause peeling or splitting.
If your main concern is not necessarily the quality of the leather but rather the look of it, you may be able to fool some people into thinking your leather furniture or clothing items are genuine, high quality leather products. While only the top grain and full grain pieces of leather feature the true, natural markings such as bites, scars, stretch marks and brandings, lower quality genuine leather can be manipulated and adjusted to feature these unique markings to give the appearance of real, authentic leather. However, overtime even with consistent maintenance, your genuine leather products will show their inferiority as it begins to wear quickly compared to similar top grain and full grain leather products.


 The lower, more affordable price and similar look and feel are the main advantages of choosing genuine leather over full grain or top grain leather. If you still want to achieve that sought-after “leather look” but do not wish to invest in a high-end leather product, you can still achieve the aesthetic but will have to replace it down the line as it is not a sustainable option.


 As we have clarified, genuine leather hardly ever means good leather. Over time the appearance degenerates drastically by stretching, peeling and even tearing. The ambiguous and misleading name of this leather material can often lead to dishonest businesses overcharging for it, and in turn, innocent, less-knowledgeable buyers may be duped into thinking this is a better leather option.



Genuine leather is relatively easy to maintain and care for as it only requires a simple wipe down with a soft, slightly damp micro fibre cloth every few days. It is vital to ensure that the cloth that is used is only very slightly damp, not wet, as leather has similar qualities to our own skin, and absorbs excess moisture. Polishing and conditioning your leather is another step that you can take to care for your genuine leather products.
Our leather maintenance range consists of a leather conditioner and leather cleaner that have both been specifically created to maintain the look and feel of your leather products over time. We recommend using our unique leather conditioner to ensure the lifespan of your leather furniture. Leather has similar properties to our skin; your leather home furniture can become dry and degrade if not properly cared for. Using small amounts of leather conditioner will hydrate your leather furniture and keep it looking subtle and elegant. Our Leather Gallery Leather Cleaner has been formulated to remove water-based, as well as oil-based stains from your leather couch and other leather home furniture. The Leather Gallery Leather Cleaner works to remove stains and brighten the surface of your leather sofa suite as well as other leather home furniture.
All of our Leather Gallery maintenance products have been formulated in a unique way to ensure that they are environmentally safe and sustainable. We recommend using our Leather Cleaner to ensure all your leather furniture is in the best possible condition.