Handbag manufacturers nowadays are quite good at leatherwork. So much so that it is not that easy for consumers to differentiate authentic leather from fake leather. A full-grain leather tote bag under a hundred bucks is tempting but will leave you with feelings of uncertainty. Real leather is normally pricey because it takes a lot of time and effort to produce just a single handbag. So should you give in to that elegantly looking handbag that is on sale at the department store?

If you are planning to buy leather, you have to know how to identify real from artificial in able to avoid any disappointments regarding your purchase. You can tell the difference between real and fake leather by smelling and touching the item. Real leather has a distinctive odor of animals while fake leather smells like vinyl and chemicals. A genuine leather handbag normally feels rough. When you pinch real leather between your fingers, it wrinkles and flexes easily under pressure but it comes back to its original shape. The imperfections are actually a good thing.

But what if you just fall in love with a leather handbag you saw online? Buying leather handbags online requires you to be extra attentive to details. While you cannot smell or feel its texture, there are factors to help you figure out whether the leather you are buying is authentic or not.

  1. Label– authentic leather should indicate the product information, including the form of leather used for the handbag. It should indicate if it is top grain, full grain, or genuine leather. Full grains are the most expensive type because they are closest to the outer skin of the animal while genuine or suede are the cheapest ones because of its least dense texture.
  2. Pattern– Take a close up look at the product. Inspect the design. It is possible for real leather to have an inconsistent pattern. A full-grain leather handbag may retain all of the hide’s original texture and markings.
  3. Finish– Real leather has rougher finish while fake leather has edges that are almost perfect. If a handbag has an extremely glossy finish, it could be made of modern patent leather that is likely to tear over time. Genuine leather may show imperfections and does not come in a wide range of colors.
  4. Price– You can’t always rely on the price of a leather handbag to distinguish its authenticity. Just because it is expensive doesn’t mean it could not be fake. Unfortunately, there are manufacturers who put a premium price tag on artifical leather bags to deceive consumers.

Replica retailers use materials that only contain leather fiber. Bonded leather and bicast leather are the types of leathers to avoid. While it is not easy to spot if a handbag is made of these inorganic leathers, you can easily tell just by smelling them. Bonded leather has a heavy smell due to the chemicals used. They are difficult to repair after damage because they are just scraps of leather glued together to form a piece.

Time can also tell your handbag’s authenticity. Untreated cowhide leather tends to have “patina,” a change in surface that happens to leather over time. A light-colored leather handbag may develop a deeper color because of age, moisture, wear, and sunlight over years of use.  

 

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