Vegetable tanned vs. Chrome tanned leather

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We are bound by leather products. From accessories to clothing – you can find leather everywhere. Before crafting your desired product, the leather hides goes through some different stages of processing. Tanning is the most important step of leather processing that can enhance the appearance and quality of the finished leather item. The process of treating rawhide into leather is known as tanning. It stabilises the leather and prevents it from degrading. As well as tanning makes the leather more durable and flexible. Chemical or chrome tanning and vegetable tanning are the most common forms of the leather tanning process. Today we will share our knowledge with our readers regarding the differences between these two types of tanned leather – Vegetable-tanned leather & Chemical-tanned leather. Let’s find out.


The vegetable tanning process compromises the use of vegetable tannin. It’s a purely natural compound that can be found in bark, roots and leaves. As tannins are sourced from plants, the method is known as vegetable tanning. So, vegetable tanning is a completely natural process, depending on tree tannins and water. The waste can decompose with the earth with ease. Chrome tanning, on the other hand, is based on chromium salts and acid-based tanning liquors. They don’t involve any kind of natural ingredients. The chemical waste of chrome tanning can easily pollute the water & soil. The usage of chromium salts can be very harmful to human health. So, the chrome tanning process is not eco-friendly at any cost.


Both vegetable-tanned and chrome-tanned leather offer advantages in terms of durability. Chrome-tanned leather is water-resistant, thin& soft. Vegetable-tanned leather is thicker, can withstand more harsh or everyday usage. Vegetable-tanned leather products can survive for decades with appropriate maintenance.


Chrome tanning can be used to manufacturer a wide variety of colour based leather items. One can get chemical-tanned leather products in different shades of black, brown, teal, red etc. colours. This makes chrome-tanned leather a great choice for the fashion industry where the trends keep changing rapidly. But, they can get fade easily after some usage. On the other hand, vegetable tanning is known for maintaining the original hues & tones of hides. Vegetable-tanned leather develops a lovely patina over time, which only adds to its rich, natural beauty. Vegetable-tanned leather gives you an organic & natural feel. When imprinting is required to showcase a trademark or a print design on the finished items, vegetable-tanned leathers are ideal for holding the print effect longer. Hand-painted vegetable-tanned leather made Shantiniketan Leather items are quiet popular in markets of Japan, Australia, USA & UK.

One can understand that in terms of quality and usability, vegetable-tanned leather products are slightly better than chrome-tanned leather. Some biggest backdrops of vegetable tanned leather are the time-consuming tanning process and cost. The production period of vegetable tanned leather can range from 2 to 6 months. It also requires a highly skilled & efficient craftsman to complete the tanning process which gears up the manufacturing cost and finally – it becomes a little bit expensive than chrome tanned leather items.


At this blog, we tried to share our knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of vegetable tanned leather & chemical tanned leather. The vegetable-tanned leather is a pleasure to use because it evolves with the user, creating a natural patina and character. On the other hand, the vibrant colours that chemical-tanned leather can attain are difficult to beat. Choosing suitable leather is entirely dependent on the usage and desire of the user, thus it is important to research your leathers before acquiring them.

Vegetable-tanned leather goods exporter in Kolkata

Published On: Oct 09, 2021