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How to identify genuine leather and synthetic leather

It's not always that easy to identify the difference between a genuine leather product and a synthetic leather product. Ordinary people like us will find it hard to distinguish whether a product is made of real leather or not. So what is real leather and what is synthetic leather anyway?

Real leather is the leather made of hides (skins of animals). Depending on what type of product to make, the leather could be from cow hides, ox hides, crocodile hides, ostrich feet hides,etc...

Synthetic leather is artificial (man-made) leather. Synthetic leather looks like real leather. It has a leather-like surface and is dyed and treated to make it look and feel like real leather. Synthetic leather is often used as a substitute for real leather because it is less expensive and does not require killing animal to get the hides. So what are the ways to identify the difference between them anyway?

Price: Genuine leather is usually more expensive than synthetic leather. The reason is that genuine leather has to go through many processes before reaching the final product. The skin is taken from live animals, salted, preserved by chemicals and ensured that the hides don't contain disease or bad infection. The hides require health certificate and other special requirement to be able to import, export. This takes time and money to do. That's why genuine leather is more expensive.

Seeing: Genuine leather surface has a clearer pores, pattern. Some always have the hair holes or fire branch (the hide was fired so it doesn't smell rotten and last longer)

Burning/smelling: Genuine leather has the smell of leather, synthetic leather has a smell of plastic. If you tear a bit of the product and burn it, you will know. Genuine leather smells like burning hair, because it's made of living things, synthetic leather will smell like burning plastic.

Brand: the brand name of the product might tell you whether it's genuine leather or synthetic leather. Try to use search engine to know more about the product brand name.

The points above are just a guide to help you distinguishing the difference between genuine leather product and synthetic leather product. However sometimes life is a bit different. If you say leather product come in Asian countries like China is mostly artificial leather, you might be wrong. In Asia, the labour costs much cheaper than in Western Countries. This will obviously lower the product cost. Also, for small products like wallets, shoes, bags, etc... They don't need to import hid equality hides to make it. They can simply buy the second grade hides or rejected hides (legs hides, skull hides, and small pieces of hides instead of the whole piece of hide). This means the products are made of genuine leather and still cheap.

In conclusion, if you really like some product, just buy it. Don't let the materials hesitate your purchasing decision. But if you really look for genuine leather then my points above will be very helpful.

Synthetic Leather