What is leather patina?

Like many great things in life, leather is something that gets better with age – it’s one of the reasons why we love to use it when designing our personalised keepsakes. At Create Gift Love we use vegetable tanned leather to make our gifts: a traditional, environmentally friendly leather which is prepared using natural materials like roots, bark and leaves instead of harsh chemical treatments. Veg-tanned leather is a high quality, hardwearing leather and ages beautifully, gradually deepening in colour and developing what’s known as “patina” over time.

What is leather patina and what does leather patina look like? 

Patina is a soft sheen which develops on the surface of leather (and other materials) as a result of natural ageing and regular use. It usually appears as a warm golden glow which gradually darkens over time and is a sign of the highest quality. Patina won’t form on all leathers: mass produced chrome-tanned leathers, for example, won’t go through this process, but because veg-tanned leather has no chemical agent to seal the surface, our products are able to age naturally as intended.

How does leather develop a patina?

Developing a patina is a slow process which happens gradually over time, depending on how often the piece is handled and the kind of conditions it is exposed to. The two main things that cause a patina to develop are the sun and the oils from our skin. Exposure to sunlight brings out a warm glow in colour, much like our skin getting a tan in the summer, while oils from our hands can create darker patches. Moisture in the air like a sprinkling of rain drops can also add character to a piece, and scuffs and scratches bed in, becoming part of the surface of the material.

Veg-tanned leather is a product of its environment, and the patina it develops becomes part of the item’s story. One of the reasons we love using leather at Create Gift Love is because it adds to the uniqueness of each piece. As well as your personalisation, every item has its own natural marks, scarring and grain which makes it one of a kind, and the patina it develops only helps to emphasise its character. 

Which products develop a patina?

When it comes to Create Gift Love, patina is most closely related to our leather keyring range, plus a few other items such as our personalised bookmarks and our “Draw Your Own” accessories. We use vegetable-tanned leather across the range and all our leather colour options will form a patina to an extent, but the signature warm glow is most prominent on our “light natural” leather option (a tan brown, for example, will age more subtly).

Natural leather is, quite literally, leather in its most natural state. It does not have any dyes or artificial colourings which means it is a blank canvas, ready to take on whatever comes its way. Natural leather starts off as a light nude, almost pale pink colour, and will grow into a beautiful golden tan.

So, whether you choose a Loop, ‘Never Forget’, or Secret Message keyring in light natural, you can look forward to seeing the beautiful process of patina forming over time. Our keepsakes are made to be treasured for years to come, and because of the leather patina they will continue to grow with you.

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