Hey, you! Feeling a little lost? Getting a little bogged down in all the terminology? What is buffalo leather? What makes it so different from normal leather anyhow? On second thoughts, what even is normal leather? How can I be sure?
Well, you are certainly in the right place, for today we will explore some of the key questions surrounding this fascinating topic, endeavoring to explain what buffalo leather is, how it is made, what makes it so special, and how we at Moonster try to use it ethically and responsibly.
What is Buffalo Leather?
Genuine buffalo leather is a type of leather produced from tanned buffalo hides. There are 74 species of domesticated buffalo that are farmed expressly for this purpose, as well as for milk, cheese, and meat.
Buffalo leather is sometimes referred to as English saddle leather on account of the fact that this would have been the go-to choice for any English rider at a certain time. This is presumably because it is so soft and, thus, will not wear out the rider or horse as fast as others.
It could also have something to do with where it comes from...
Well, Where Does it Come From?
Glad you asked!
The site of the first Buffalo domestication is purported to have been in Asia over 6000 years ago. Though this is a heck of a long time ago, little has changed - even today 97% of the 194 million domesticated buffalo worldwide are reared in Asia!
Asian water buffalo are especially useful there, pulling carts and plows full of goods through India. In fact, more milk is produced by buffalos and cows there! The buffalo leather products are made at the end of the animal's life, tanned for use by another, almost an act of reincarnation.
What Does it Look Like?
The real distinction to be made between buffalo leather and other bovine leather (such as bison leather or cow leather, or even crazy horse leather) is in the grain. Buffalo leather, thus, has a distinctive grain that is difficult to miss. This is thanks in no small part to the fact that the epidermal layer of a buffalo is at least three times as thick as that of a bison, for example.
You will therefore see it come in a wide variety of colors and finished, in tones rich and deep. The imperfections are left to rest where they lay.
How is it Made, then?
There are a few ways to do it. The quickest is known as the chrome tanning process, which can be completed in a few days. For all its economy, this method commits some serious toxic crimes against the environment - a sure-fire method of how to tell if leather is real.
Here at Moonster, we use only 100% genuine full-grain buffalo leather. This method takes about 10x as long, but the results surely speak for themselves. Each one is unique in its own way, whether that be in the resting of the tan hide, or the way that the 100% recycled paper has formed itself.
How Does it Get There?
With care and love, that's how!
Left to tan appropriately for around a month, buffalo leather will last a lifetime. Not only that, but they will also age with you, developing an age all their own, a rich patina of the years passing by.
You will feel it age alongside you, the strong fibers are able to withstand just about anything that comes their way. Responsibly sourced and thoughtfully produced, top-grain buffalo leather will go a long way, continuing a long tradition for decades to come.
How Can it Last so Long?
As aforementioned, the buffalo has an epidermal layer that is at least 3x as thick as cowhide, rendering it at least 3x as durable.
The kind of top-grain leather used by us is not stretched during the tanning process, though the same cannot be said for cow leather. No matter if it is Italian buffalo leather or water buffalo leather, it is going to be around and about the strongest leather money can buy.
Ever had dreams of military service, a journal of poems in your breast pocket, woven from buffalo hide strong enough to stop a bullet? Then look no further!
So, there you have it! Hopefully, any questions you had coming into this have been answered, and your curiosity has been quenched and satisfied.
Of course, if not, please feel free to check out the FAQs below. Maybe we have answered one of your burning questions that did not get answered above. If you still want to ask something, please do not hesitate to drop a comment down below. A member of our dedicated team will be sure to answer your cries as soon as possible.
FAQs Buffalo Leather
Is Buffalo leather real leather?
Indeed it is. In fact, leather does not come much more real than buffalo leather. You will scarcely come across stronger and thicker leather with more character than buffalo leather. A buffalo naturally has an epidermal layer in its skin that is at least 3 times as thick as other bovine creatures like cows or bison. Thus, it does not need to be stretched out during the tanning process, unlike cowhide. Both these factors result in a leather that is about as thick as money can buy.
What is buffalo leather like?
Buffalo leather has a reputation for being an incredibly durable material that can resist a lot of wear and tear, and that, thus, can last about as long as you can, aging along with you all the way. Oft-neglected is the flexibility of the material, too. Some have, in fact, likened it to a second skin, one that they often feel lost without when they are not wearing it. Perhaps this fact belies its sheer strength, for it is at least 3 times as thick as cow or bison leather.
Is buffalo leather more expensive?
More often than not, yes, though this has everything to do with the rigorous tanning process. Manufacturers can choose to use a faster tanning process that lasts only a few days but that is inherently far worse for the environment owing to the toxic chemicals used throughout. Over here at Moonster, we prefer to let the hide tan naturally over the course of a whole month. The price tag is a little higher, but so is the quality of the end result, and never at the expense of the environment.
Is buffalo leather full-grain leather?
Sometimes, though not always. There are a number of buzzwords flying around on this topic, so it would be best to clarify them here. Full-grain leather is the best money can buy, nothing having been removed in the process including all the markings and imperfections. Top-grain leather has had these same imperfections removed, providing a more 'normal' appearance that, in turn, weakens the leather. Genuine leather is the weakest of the three, stamped and dyed so that it appears like top-grain leather.