What Is Veg Tanned Leather? History, Characteristics and Advantages

What Is Veg Tanned Leather? History, Characteristics and Advantages

Amongst the several variations of leather, vegetable tanned leather stands apart from its alternatives due to a plethora of distinct features and advantages. Veg tanned leather is basically the same raw leather, usually acquired from sheep, which goes through a chemical process i.e. tanning, to turn the raw animal skin into rot-proof and suitable material for creation of fancy leather items. 

Although tanning is a common process for all sorts of leather, what makes it special is the chemical transformation characterised by the application of solely natural substances. Also, the nomenclature of vegetable tanned leather is obviously derived from its defining veg tanning process.

History of Veg Tanning

Vegetable tanning is one of the ancient methods of tanning and its roots can be traced back to over 2000 years ago. Throughout the middle ages, veg tanned leather enjoyed hegemony in the leather industry and its dominance was almost unchecked until the 19th century. In ancient eras, vegetable tanning used to involve plenty of water and a good range of natural tanning agents which wereacquired from the barks of various plants such as acacias, oak, chestnut, and birches etc. The tanning process was very sluggish, taking a minimum of 2-3 months for the raw skin to be ready for further work and design. However, with time, vegetable tanning has developed a lot with the advancement of technology and now, it barely takes 36 to 48 hours for the tanning process to get completed. 

Features of Veg Tanned Leather

Oldest Tanning Method

Vegetable tanned leather is the oldest form of leather and the tanning method is also one of the ancient ones. Hence, it would not be wrong to assume that for centuries, the leather industrywas dominated solely by vegetable tanned leather.

Recycled Substance

This sort of leather is environment friendly, as the raw material is recycled. The Veg tanned leather industry uses the hides from sheep that are raised to serve as food supply.

Environment Friendly    

Unlike synthetic and faux leather, the production of vegetable tanned leather items doesn’t involve toxic chemicals and elements. All the tanning agents used in vegetable tanning are organic, collected from the barks of trees, and therefore this kind of leather is a step forward towards a sustainable planet.

Sturdy and Low Maintenance

In terms of maintenance and durability, veg tanned leather is a great fit for crafting quality items that stays in good shape for a long time with minimal maintenance.

Superior Quality

Top-notch quality is the defining feature of Vegetable tanned leather and it’s globally praised for its unmatched strength and flexibility. If taken care of properly, vegetable tanned leather goods may last  for long periods of time.

It's Expensive

Despite being so superior in terms of its quality, vegetable tanned leather couldn't capture the lion's share of the market compared to its alternatives. Crafted from natural elements and dyed with organic colours, vegetable tanned items come with a much higher price tag than chrome tanned or faux leathers.

Pros of Vegetable Tanned Leather

  • It's eco friendly and has negligible impact on the environment. 
  • For people who struggle with allergies but have a fine taste in luxurious leather items, vegetable tanned leather is ideal.
  • Greater durability and higher resistance set it apart from its alternatives. Time can not ruin its charm, rather vegetable tanned leather ages like fine wine. 
  • Vegetable tanned leather has a unique smell that makes it easily distinguishable from other forms of leather. 
  • Due to greater flexibility, vegetable tanned leather is suitable for a wide range of customisation techniques such as colours, engravings, prints etc. 

Cons of Vegetable Tanned Leather

  • Compared to other types of leather, the manufacturing and tanning process of vegetable tanned leather is relatively lengthy and time consuming. 
  • A higher production cost eventually adds to the price tag, thus keeping vegetable tanned leather items out of the reach for several consumer segments. 
  • If you want to play with colours, vegetable tanned leather wouldn't be your first preference, as it offers a pretty limited range of colours.

Where To Purchase From?

While pure vegetable tanned leather may cost you a significant amount of money, it's crucial to test the authenticity of the material. This is why relying on any seller that just claims to offer genuine veg tanned leather may not be a smart move. Renowned leather brands like Carry are the most reliable source for both online and/or offline purchase of 100% pure vegetable tanned leather goods. From a diverse range of fine leather products, getting your favourite ones delivered at your doorstep is a piece of cake.


Despite its extravagant price and complex manufacturing process, vegetable tanned leather is the first choice of renowned leather brands for crafting luxury goods. The catch here is to retain the distinct texture of raw skin in the end product, which makes every piece unique and easily identifiable.

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