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The difference between vegetable-tanned and chrome-tanned leather

Vegetable tanning is a traditional process that uses plant extracts, such as tree barks, to transform animal hides into leather. This process is slower and requires more time and effort compared to chrome tanning. Vegetable tanning is considered more environmentally friendly as it does not use toxic chemicals. Vegetable tanned leather takes 30-60 days to produce.


Vegetable-tanned leather tends to have a natural and organic appearance. It develops a unique patina over time and use, giving it an authentic and aged look. It is also more breathable than chrome-tanned leather.



wood drums for tradtionnal vegetable tanning process inside a tannery in Java, Indonesia

Tanning Process at NUANCA


On the other hand, chrome tanning is a faster and more widely used process in the leather industry. It uses chromium salts to transform hides into leather. Chrome tanning offers greater flexibility in the texture and colors of the leather. It typically produces a softer, water-resistant leather that is less prone to deformation. However, it uses potentially toxic chemicals and can have a larger environmental impact.


At NUANCA, we prefer to use vegetable-tanned leather due to environmental considerations and the durability of the leather, even though it takes longer in production.


brown and blue tanned cow leather hides hanging in the tannery

Vegetable-tanned leather is available at NUANCA Leather Production


In general, vegetable-tanned leather tends to be more expensive than chrome-tanned leather. This is primarily because the vegetable tanning process is more time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring skilled craftsmanship and the use of natural plant extracts. The cost of these materials and the additional effort involved in vegetable tanning contribute to the higher price.


Chrome-tanned leather, on the other hand, is typically less expensive. The chrome tanning process is faster and more efficient, allowing for larger-scale production. The use of chemicals in chrome tanning also helps reduce costs.


Additionally, certain high-end or specialized products may use vegetable-tanned leather exclusively, which can further increase the price.


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