5 tips on recognizing genuine from fake leather

Many tourists visiting Florence are constantly asking “Where can we buy leather goods in Florence?” For centuries, Florence has been the most important region in Italy for leather goods, and depending on your personal preferences, you can choose so many different types of leather goods using different qualities, textures and finishes of leather.

4617a01debcc540060e09cfa8114c467If price is not an issue and you want something special and of good quality, you could go in the city center on Via Tornabuoni, Via Strozzi or Via Roma, where you will find famous brand shops where you can buy original designer leather goods. Obviously, we like to think the high end designer brands will be using genuine leather of very high quality.

6e4b5ed8ac746ccd6e80fc730b83dae8If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you could go to the leather markets, most famous of which is the San Lorenzo or Mercato dell Porcellino near Piazza della Signoria. The leather goods are not as expensive but not always of good quality.

If you want to find the middle solution between price and quality you can find some local leather shops around the city.

toscanella-leather-wallet-production - CopiaPurchasing leather merchandise where the quality is guaranteed and the production is 100% Italian, you could visit a leather factory, where you can observe how leather bags and leather accessories are made by experienced craftsmen and women.

But another important factor when you purchase a leather bag, leather jacket or leather shoes is to understand if the product is made from real or artificial leather. Here we will give you some tips on how you can recognize genuine leather from fake leather:

1. Smell: Genuine leather has a light natural smell. Fake leather usually has a strong smell of plastic or chemicals.

2. Warmth: Genuine leather transforms human warmth, while fake leather does not. So, if you hold a piece of genuine leather in your hand it gets warm.

3. The look: If you look carefully at genuine leather, it has an unique pattern. Fake leather has a repeated pattern. But be careful, because here you can confuse a fake leather with a genuine printed leather which has an homogeneous pattern.

4. By touch: If you touch genuine leather, it should be soft and elastic. If you stretch or bend it, it should easily return to its natural form. With fake leather the folds could remain or it could lose its color in the place where it is bent. The reverse side of genuine leather is velvety, whereas on fake leather it is smooth.

5. Fire resistance: If you hold a lighter near genuine leather it will gradually shrink and emit a smell similar to the smell of smoked chicken. When a lighter is held next to fake leather, it will usually react like a burned plastic bottle emitting an acrid smell and releasing black smoke. But some of the genuine leather products are covered with special coating that could react in the same way. So be careful doing this experiment in order not to spoil your leather bag or jacket.

6. Water: Genuine leather absorbs water and some spots of a darker tone usually remain. Fake leather does not absorb water, so it would just roll off.

So, following this simple guide lines you can easily recognize genuine leather from fake leather.

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Fighting some Winter Grays

Fight winter grays with a bit of color from some special Italian designers….nothing is an easier “pick-me-up” than going shopping and mixing lots of bright colors in the bag … like whimsical purple, sweet oranges, hot red, icy blue  and bright green and warm it all up with saffron yellow!
I love color


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Making an Italian Christmas List

and checking it twice.

Looking for quality and Made in Italy Gift Ideas this year and this is what I came up with.

1) Gold fits every women.
2) Cosy and Cashmere.
3) Accessorize, Accessorize.
4) Fashionable technology
5) Handmade Italian Quality
6) Useful elegant gift idea

Made in Italy Gift Ideas

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Made in Italy: Leather Jackets & Wool Skirts <3

We <3 the way this mottled gray Italian leather jacket with the asymmetrical zip and cropped cut matches with this long wool skirt.  The style is elegant, classy and personalized!

Click to see more combinations

Leather Jackets from Florence Italy & Wool skirts

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Italian Cappuccino from Florence Italy

Cappuccino colored FORTUNATA Tote Bag, handmade by Pierotucci at their leather workshop in Florence Italy…

Click here to find your favorite color: http://www.pierotucci.com/en/italian-online-shop/56-0/Fortunata-leather-tote-bags.html


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Preparation is fundamental to a quality handcrafted leather bag

Preparation of leather for handmade leather bags

Prepping the leather is the most time consuming part of handcrafting a leather bag. Each piece needs to be cut, then either, cleaned, trimmed or buffed before being passed over for assembly.

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It all Begins with Quality Control

Quality control of leather hidesThe assembly of any handcrafted leather bag, wallet, belt or purse begins with the selection of the leather hides. When you take a tour of the Pierotucci Italian leather workshop, not only will you see how they cut the panels, prepare the leather and put together the puzzle of pieces but you will have the unique opportunity to walk through their leather storage section and smell the rich perfume of vegetable and chrome tanned leather hides. There are two levels of quality control, that which is completed at the tannery with their electronic eyes that scan the size, color intensity and leather height. Once it arrives at the Pierotucci workshop it goes through another three phases before it goes from raw material to finished product. But instead of using modern technology, this time we use the extensive hands on experience of the Pierotucci leather craftsmen and women.

Quality conttrol of leather hides at PierotucciEach piece has a digitally printed red number on the back which indicates the number of square meters that correspond to the piece. The hides are run through two rollers which are equipped with an electronic eye and they calculate the precise area of useable leather. These numbers are added up to be sure the quantity delivered is the same as the quantity ordered … and paid for. Every order is composed of hides that vary in size and quality. It is easy for the craftsman to know the quality because it is indicated by the lines found next to the size of each piece. (1 line = high quality, 2 lines =medium high and 3 lines = medium quality.) Both the size and the quality are controlled by our Master Leather cutter before they are put into production.

Rolls to be controlled for leather quality
Pierotucci offers a standard collection of classic handmade leather bags and in this case it is imperative that the color remains the same throughout the years in order to allow for coordinating combinations of bags, wallets, key chains and more. When each roll is opened to confirm the square meters, each piece is then compared to an original hide that was kept for just this purpose. When referring to a vegetable dyed process, the color saturation can change dramatically due to many factors however the contract pervades that Pierotucci will accept only up to a 10% color variation in order to produce a homogeneous line of products in the Toscanella line of Italian leather bags, wallets and more.

Color standards vary with vegetable tanned leatherPerhaps the hardest thing to quantify is the quality control of the leather itself; though much of this is electronically controlled at the tannery only an expert eye will catch the fine details in a defective hide, defects that will make the difference in the integrity of the final product. After the master leather cutter confirms the square meters, the visual quality and the color conformity, he will make a decision if in fact the leather conforms to the Pierotucci standards of quality. In other words, he will pay attention to details such as the smell and texture. This is something only an experienced craftsman would be able to do, like Renzo, who has been with Pierotucci for over 35 years.

Toscanella Leather finished product


by Donna Denise Scharnagl

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