How Leather Patinas And How Long It Can Take!

If you've ever worked with leather or read about leather items, you've probably heard of a patina. But what exactly is a patina, and how does one create one? We're going to go over all you need to know about leather patinas today.

leather patina on distressed leather


What is the meaning of a leather patina?

Many natural products go through an ageing process that can drastically alter their appearance. This is the case with leather, which is manufactured from an animal's hide. Leather tans in the same way as your skin does in the sun, leaving scars and wrinkles. This is referred to as a patina. Patina develops only on the highest quality leathers that have been organically treated and tanned. The structure of the leather is affected by the various tanning procedures. Other materials, such as wood and metal, will go through similar processes as they age, with the colour changing. When you have used leather, it will begin to exhibit signs of the abuse it has endured.

leather patina on leather jacket

The soft sheen that appears on the material's surface after usage and exposure, gives the product individuality and character.

Although patina may relate to a variety of substances, including leather, metal, stone, waxed canvas, and wood, it is perhaps most attractive in relation to leather. This is a result of patina being a distinguishing feature of the best leather. Many people are drawn to it because of its unique and "lived-in" character even if it is only a representation of the natural ageing process. It tells a narrative. Time is therefore as important as a Maxwell-Scott piece with each step. Our leather matures wonderfully over time with usage and wears since it is chemical-free and naturally tanned.

wallet after use with patina


What causes leather to patina?

Patinas are formed when leather is abused. As your leather item ages, it will develop distinct hues, scratches, and stain marks. Your leather item will gain some badass-looking qualities as a result of this. As a result, simply using your item will cause it to develop a lovely patina. Let's imagine you have a wallet and you frequently slide it in and out of your pocket, allowing your skin oils to seep into the leather. The colour will lighten when the sun shines on it, and water and other liquids will pour across it, creating darker patches. Everything you do with your leather wallet will help it develop a patina over time.

Some people desire to speed up the ageing process, and we have a few suggestions for you here. If you want a more natural patina, though, it's preferable to merely use your item and wait for it to age. If you don't want to use sandpaper or rubbing alcohol to speed up the process, push the natural development. 

Allow your item to sit in the sun while you are at home (but not for too long, as it will quickly dry out); knock it up against other things (but not too hard, as we don't want you to rip your item). You may toss it on the ground and kick it a little. The fundamental concept of ageing.


What does leather patina look like, exactly?

It's difficult to predict how long your leather will take to acquire patina if we don't know what patina looks like, what characteristics it has, or what forms it takes.

Yes! Different types of leather patina will be available. As a result, it's critical to comprehend the many types and characteristics of patina. Your leather may have already grown patina without your knowledge.

The sheen on the Surface

This is a delicate surface sheen that develops over time on the leather's surface. When most people talk about leather patina, they will most likely refer to this term. The way this smooth sheen emerges on the leather's surface is due to how the leather is regularly rubbed or hand-burnished as a result of normal handling. 

leather patina on vegetable tanned leather

Scuffs and Scratches

Leather patina also includes scuffs and scrapes. This aspect of a leather patina is quite popular. A new leather item begins to develop scuffs and scratches from the first day it is used. Leather can scuff and scratch unless you're really cautious, and this is one method your leather will keep track of your travels with it.

Sharp contrasting marks, scuffs, or scratches that develop against a darkened shiny leather surface give the leather a distinct personality that no machine or person can duplicate. As a result, the leather item becomes a reflection of you and how you've used it over the course of months or years.

Softening Leather

The leather softening with time is another element of a leather patina. While most people think of leather patina as a collection of items that appear on the leather's surface, how the leather softens is also an aspect of patina. Most leather things will be in this condition. With time, they will just get softer. However, this is more typical in larger leather products with no backing, such as coats and large bags, to name a few.


What kind of leather patinas do you have?

Every sort of leather begins to patina, but not all patinas are the same. There are many distinct varieties of leather since it is created from various animal hides. But, even crocodile skin, the most, if not all, of these leathers will begin to tarnish.

The majority of "genuine leather" and other low-quality leathers, such as bonded or bi-cast, do not patina or patina poorly. This is due to the fact that these leathers are manufactured from scraps of leather. To give the top layer a leather appearance, glue is usually added. As a result, the natural leather ageing will be barely noticeable.

Chrome tanned leather and other chemically based tanned leather will develop a patina over time, but it won't be as noticeable. The majority of the chemicals used in leather are designed to ensure that the leather lasts a long time and maintains its appearance. This is why you'll find this sort of leather utilised in a lot of high-end fashion. It produces beautiful hues that will last for many years.

Patinas on leather, on the other hand, are a feature that customers look for when buying leather goods. They want the leather to age because it looks cool and distinctive when it does.

Cordovan leather, veg-tanned, is one of the finer leather styles. The animal and the area of the hide from which it came varies. This leather will produce the best-looking patina, while natural veg-tanned leather will be a close second. All of this at a lower cost.

Patina and Leather Finishes

The time it takes for leather to patina will be affected by the leather sealant and finisher used. The maker must apply a finish if the leather has been coloured (which is 99 per cent of the time). This allows the consumer to handle the leather without the colour rubbing off on their hands and clothes. Some sealants may give the leather a very shiny appearance while also providing extra-strong protection. 

Other finishes can make the leather appear practically undetectable and soften it. These are typically not as long-lasting, thus the patina will appear sooner. If you buy a leather item, it will very certainly have some form of sealer applied to it. When you try to age the leather yourself, you'll find that you have to rub away the sealer (and the dye) to get it to age faster.

Leather can also be treated with waterproofing and UV-resistant ointments. This will assist the leather to maintain its uniform appearance for a considerably longer period of time. If you use them, you can expect to wait a long period until your leather begins to break in.


Is a patina a sign that the leather is deteriorating?

No way, this is a natural hide that has been around for many years and will continue to do so for many years to come. It's only the passage of time, and it has no bearing on the structure of your item.

The hide contained hair for protection and oils to keep it wet when it was on the animal. The leather was then tanned, which keeps it alive and prevents it from decomposing. Regardless of how it seems, leather will endure a very long time.


Why should you adopt a leather patina?

Embracing a leather patina has a number of advantages, including improved suppleness. Genuine leather, as previously said, often softens with age. Genuine leather is extremely soft. That is, after all, one of the reasons why it has become such a popular material for jacket construction. Even though your leather jacket is supple, it will most likely soften over time. With your leather jacket, enjoy a leather patina for a greater level of suppleness.

Many individuals prefer the look of aged leather, often known as a leather patina, over that of new leather. If you've ever seen an old leather jacket, you'll remember its distinct hue. In most circumstances, a leather patina is lighter in colour than fresh leather. This is because leather loses part of its natural colour as a result of exposure to the sun. The loss of pigment leads to a lighter tint, which has come to be associated with a leather patina. If you want the look of light, naturally weathered leather, you should wear your jacket with a patina.

As a result, it's best to err on the side of caution and only expose your jacket to direct sunlight when necessary. Yes, exposing your jacket to direct sunshine for an extended amount of time will encourage the production of a patina, but it may also cause harm to the leather by drying it out. So, if you want to speed up the production of a patina, don't store or leave your leather jacket in a sunny region. Allow your jacket to age naturally to generate an organic patina safely.


Isn't a faux leather jacket a good idea?

Unfortunately, faux leather jackets do not develop the same appealing patina as genuine leather jackets. This is because, as the name implies, fake leather isn't leather. It's a synthetic substance having qualities comparable to plastic. From a distance, faux leather resembles real leather, yet its composition is vastly different. As a result, imitation leather coats seldom develop a patina.

A real leather jacket is required for an authentic leather patina. Genuine leather jackets exhibit the same appealing traces of age as faux leather jackets. They could fade a little, but they won't develop a true patina. If you want your leather jacket to develop a patina, be sure it's real leather.


How frequently is leather used?

This is the most important aspect in determining how long it takes leather to patina. The most straightforward technique to build a patina on leather is to use it frequently.

Leather jackets, wallets, purses, portfolios and other accessories will accumulate markings, scuffs, scratches, sunburns, burnishes, dust, dye stains (from jeans), water splashes, and other blemishes over time, eventually forming a patina on the leather's surface.

How leather is handled throughout its use has an impact on how often it is utilised. If you're the type of person who is very careful with leather, it will take a long time before the leather begins to develop a patina.


Bottom line on leather patina

Finally, the choice of leather treatments and sealants has an impact on the time it takes for the leather to patina. Leather that has been dyed will usually need to be polished so that the colour does not rub off on the user's hands or clothes.

Some of these sealants offer a firm layer of protection and a shine to the surface of the leather. These sealants and finishes may contain water-resistant and UV-resistant properties to protect the leather from the sun's damaging rays, oils, and moisture, which would otherwise cause the leather to patina prematurely.

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