Leathers are typically categorized into aniline, semi-aniline and pigmented types. Leathers are also classified as full-grain pigmented, corrected-grain pigmented, finished split leather and antique grain.
Cattle, goat, sheep and pig skins are commonly used in making leathers. Aniline leather features a visible hide and appears the most natural type of all leathers. A light surface coating is sometimes applied to improve the leather’s appearance and protect the leather from stains and liquids.
Semi-aniline leather also has a natural look, but it is more hardwearing than aniline leather. The addition of pigment to the light surface coating makes the leather more durable, improves color consistency and protects the material from stains. The most durable kind of leather is pigmented leather, which is commonly used in furniture and car upholstery.
Full-grain pigmented leather keeps an unaltered grain surface, whereas corrected-grain pigmented leather has a scraped grain surface that’s free of imperfections. A decorative grain design is typically molded into the surface after applying the surface coating to the corrected grain pigmented leather. In finished split leather, a polymer coating is applied to the central or lower area of the hide, and a design is embossed to imitate the appearance of grain leather. Antique grain leather features a distinct effect that gives it a worn appearance usually seen in traditional leathers.