A Closer Look at Patina

| Words by Nick Walden

A Closer Look at Patina

Patina refers to the process of leather absorbing oils, marks, and scratches over time to develop a rich and lustrous finish totally unique to you. No two items are the same and, in this way, leather serves as a roadmap of where you’ve been and what you’ve done.

Appreciating Patina

Understanding how patina works is key to truly appreciating leather. When your leather gear first arrives, it’s clean and uniform in shade and its finish is soft and supple. As the leather comes into contact with your skin, it absorbs the natural oils on your hands, and these oils help to soften, condition, and darken the leather over time. Other outside factors, like sunlight, also contribute to its patina. Each scratch, each mark, and every smudge will interact with the leather, creating a unique pattern of change.

It’s crucial to remember that this process is gradual. You won’t notice a significant difference overnight, but over weeks, months, and years, you’ll start to see your leather transform.

Modern Leather Case and Traditional Band in Horween's classic Rustic Brown

Horween Leather

There are lots of leathers on the market but an industry standout is Horween Leather Company, one of the oldest and most renowned American tanneries. With our shared commitment to exceptional craftsmanship, partnering with Horween felt like an obvious choice. Their tanning process utilizes age-old techniques and can take quite a while – up to two months from start to finish – but the result is unrivaled leather that develops a rich and deep patina.

Horween leather is especially renowned for its ‘pull-up’ – the lightening of color when the leather is bent, pulled, or scratched. This is due to the displacement of oil and wax during the tanning process. When the leather is manipulated, the oils and waxes move, causing a temporary lightening effect that adds another layer to the overall patina. This is a characteristic that’s highly sought after, as it gives the leather an attractive, vintage appearance that’s only amplified with age and use.

Nomad x Orbitkey Key Organizer
Card Wallet Plus in Rustic Brown

Care & Cleaning

The journey of a leather product doesn’t end with the formation of a patina. Maintaining and caring for your patinated leather is an important aspect to ensure its longevity. While the Horween leather we use is designed to withstand daily use, proper care will help to preserve its natural beauty and strength.

Regular cleaning is key. Dust and dirt can be wiped away with a soft, clean cloth. Remember, it’s the natural oils that help to form the patina, so avoid harsh cleaning products that strip these away. For a deeper clean, consider using a leather conditioner or cream to nourish the leather and protect it from drying out or cracking.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. Patina is the aging process that gives leather its incredible character, and we can’t get enough. Our leather gear stands out against the rest, thanks to our partnership with Horween, our commitment to quality and tradition, and our dedication to creating products that look good, age well, and keep up the pace.