Definition of Tanning

Tanning is a process that converts raw animal hides into leather. The tanning process transforms the hide’s protein structure into another structure that resists decay, insects, and environmental factors. 

The tanning process can be traced back to ancient civilizations, with evidence of tanned leather found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 3000 BC.

There are two main types of tanning processes: vegetable tanning and chrome tanning

Vegetable tanning uses natural materials such as tree bark or leaves. This process takes several weeks to complete and produces leather that’s more natural in appearance.

This is the type of tanning used to make our full grain leather. It’s a sustainable method because only natural products are used and the resulting product has an interesting natural look, not to mention durable.

Chrome tanning is the other tanning method. It uses chemicals and is completed in a matter of hours. The process produces leather that’s uniform in appearance.

The table below compares vegetable tanning to chrome tanning:

Comparison Vegetable Tanning Chrome Tanning
Materials Used Natural materials (tree bark, leaves) Chromium salts (chromium sulfate)
Process Duration Several weeks Few hours
Tanning Method Soaking hides in tannin solution Soaking hides in chromium salt solution
Appearance Retains natural grain and markings, develops a rich patina Softer and more supple
Environmental Impact Considered more environmentally friendly Higher environmental impact due to chemical use

What are the benefits of tanning leather? 

  • Tanned leather is durable. It resists wear and tear over time and is a very good choice for products that are used frequently, such as bags and shoes.
  • Tanning leather enhances its natural beauty, as well as giving it a rich, attractive color. Depending on the type of tanning process used, leather comes in a wide range of colors and textures.
  • Tanning makes leather more supple, improving its comfort level for wearing or using in various applications. It makes the leather easier to bend and move.
  • Tanning protects leather from environmental factors such as moisture, heat, and UV rays. This helps to prevent cracking and fading over time, ensuring that it remains in good condition for years.
  • Tanned leather is versatile and therefore used for accessories, upholstery and other leather products.

Example of Tanning in a sentence

“After tanning was completed, the leather had a rich, attractive color.”


Curing, treating.

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