What Is the Difference Between Lamb Leather and Nappa Leather?

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Lamb leather is a generic term that describes any leather sourced from lamb, and nappa leather is a specific type of lamb leather. Nappa leather is soft and thin with a fine grain and buttery texture ideal for gloves, wallets, clothing, shoes and luxury automobile upholstery. In addition to lamb, nappa leather also comes from goats and sheep.

Nappa leather comes from hides that are treated with chromium salts. Unlike other types of lamb leather, nappa leather is dyed during the final stage of production. The International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies states that unless otherwise specified, the term “lamb leather” refers to lambskin, which is a wooled product sourced from young animals and valued for its heat retentive properties. Despite its name, some lambskin comes from sheep, not lamb. Other leathers made from lamb include unborn lambskin, stillborn lambskin and beaver lambskin. Another popular variety is slink lamb, a tanned leather with downy wool sourced from stillborn lambs and those that die shortly after birth.

Nappa leather is a luxury product without wool. Other lamb leathers have varied applications. Wooled varieties provide the warmth, comfort and durability necessary for winter coats, gloves, boot linings and caps. Reverse lamb, which has a suede finish on its skin side, is also in demand for gloves and glove linings.