What is Leather Patina? [Buyers Guide]
While browsing through a variety of leather goods you might have stumbled across the term ‘leather patina’ and wondered what it means? Put simply, leather patina is the process of aging on leather. It’s that distinctive look and feel of a wallet that’s older and has been used frequently, usually designed from scratches and markings of the surface of the leather. Over time, this takes a seamlessly boring wallet and transforms it into something with uniqueness and character with changes in the leather’s colors, and other beautiful markings.
A good example of patina in everyday life is in statues, most notoriously seen in the Statue of Liberty. Have you ever wondered why the statue of liberty is that dark turquoise color? Believe it or not, she wasn’t always that color and was once a dark bronze color when it was first built in 1888. But over time, thanks to the process of Oxidation, she slowly turned to the blueish-green we all know and love today. Although the process by which the patina occurs differs from metal to leather, the end result is still the same.
Why is Patina so Appealing?
Patina is often sought after in leather goods as it creates a uniqueness to your wallet and provides a distinct character that can only be replicated through a naturally occurring phenomenon. Wallets go from being an item that everybody owns to something unique to you, and something that you can be proud to carry with you on a daily basis. A number of factors influence the development of patina in leather including and not limited to the following:
- Oils and even dirt from your hands (as you handle the wallet over time).
- Moisture in the air (or any sort of water for that matter).
- Sunlight (Like leaving a photo in the sun).
- Scrapes and scratches.
Which leather is best for showing patina?
So one of the reasons why Patina is so sought after is it’s one of the clearest signs of high-quality leather. If you take a poor grade leather, such as genuine leather, it’s virtually impossible for that leather to develop a patina so it’s a clear hallmark of quality.
How do I know if I own the right wallet to develop patina?
My only recommendation for this is to do your research. If a wallet brand offers wallets with high enough grade leather then the chances are they will be boasting about it with pictures. A good example of this is the likes of Cafe Leather Supply or Wingback. These two brands are two of my tops for some of the highest quality leather wallets on the market and their imagery constantly shows off some of the most beautiful leather patina wallets on the market.
Secondly, be mindful of the type of leather that these wallets are made from. Remember, only the highest grade leather wallets can develop a patina so make sure the wallet you want to purchase is made from a full or fine grade leather. Anything less than that and you’ll probably find it impossible to develop the desired patina effect.
How to speed up the patina developing process?
There’s no real concrete way to speed up the process of developing a patina. Simply put, the more often you use the wallet the faster the process will occur. Try being incredibly frugal and you will have a wallet. Throw it about, manhandle it, and put it through its paces. The more your wallet comes in contact with the outside the world the faster it will happen. But always keep in mind the development of patina is a slow process. If I can talk upwards of a year to see the results most people are looking for.
Which Wallet Brands are best for Patina?
Below I’ve outlined a few of my favorite wallet brands for the development of Patina. As expected, these are probably considered premium wallet brands due to the incredibly high-quality leather used by these brands.
Wingback is a brand based in the UK who first rose to fame through a series of successful Kickstarter campaigns. What makes Wingback stand out is their attention to detail, handmade nature, and the use of premium materials. Each and every one of the wallets in their range is made from top-grain leather. Straight out of the box it’s clear the premium nature of Wingback wallets as you’re hit with the most incredible aroma of leather along the thick cowhide to show its quality.
I myself have used Wingback wallets for years and have reviewed many of their fantastic range including the Wingback Cardholder and the Wingback Bifold (which you can read here). Along with this after only 6 months of use, the wallets really do begin to develop a Patina like no other brand I’ve come across. Just check out the image below to see what sort of patina can be developed after just a short amount of time using the wallets. And the best thing of all, Wingback wallets is very well priced and within budget for most people. For more information on Wingback and their amazing range of wallets click the link below.
Cafe Leather Supply
Another fantastic brand from Italy. These guys really know how to make their leather goods and source all their leather from top tanneries in Spain. Simplicity is the name of the game for cafe leather supply and they produce a wide range of attractive yet minimalist leather goods including Gloves, backpacks and of course wallets.
My favorite wallet from their range is their standard bifold wallet. On first inspection, the wallet doesn’t look overly complicated and doesn’t go above and beyond to try and be something it’s not. This is a simple modern take on the traditional bi-fold, has great capacity, and is made to last. The leather itself is fantastic and as you can see from the images below the patina is something to die for, and in my case, developed in only a few months. Check out their official website using the link below.
A pretty popular wallet brand from Thailand. What makes JooJoobs special if they’re a family business and have their roots in traditional craftsmanship with the head leatherworker, the father of the company, with over 30 years experience in the trade. From here, they’ve found much success in setting up their own eCommerce store and selling some of the most premium wallets on the market. JooJoobs are based on traditional means, so their range is very traditional in the designs of the wallets they produce. Traditional bi-folds, wallets with chains, and durability are their forte.
My favorite wallet in their range is the JooJoobs Big Texas Wallet. This wallet has it all with amazing features, functionality, and durability. What I really love about JooJoobs is their price range. You’d expect, based on the quality of their range, to be paying an arm and a leg for such premium quality but most of their range comes in at below $100. Not only this but they also provide some nice customization options like free monograms and engravings to really personalize your wallet. For more information on JooJoobs check out their full range using the link below.