SPECIALIST LEATHERS (Reptiles)

Other non-domestic mammals and animals are also used to produce leather, although in smaller quantities that the domestic ones. Using rare and exotic skins is the subject of debate as there are concerns about the impact this has on fragile species.

A certificate from CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) ensures that the skin comes from a farmed source or is harvested under a strict quota system.

Out of these skins, reptiles are the most popular. Reptile skins are devoid of hair and fat glands. The scales have similar functions as, and are chemically related to, the hair of warm-blooded animals, and as with hair, the scales are removed before tanning. The weave of the fiber is different, being much more horizontal and dense, so the skin tends to be tough and thin.

ALLIGATOR AND CROCODILE

Nancy Gonzalez Tassel Medium Crocodile Bag

Alligator and crocodile skins are thick and scaly, but the belly and the back have very differing characteristics. The belly is supple with a uniform thickness, and the back is stiff with scaly plates. The fiber structure varies in each section of the skin. Tough, pliable, and durable, these skins command the highest prices, with saltwater crocodiles being the most expensive.

Crocodile skins are generally much higher price than alligator. The skins vary in size depending on the age and type of animal and can be anything from 3-16 ft. (1-5 m.) in length. Unlike other skins and hides, they are usually sold by the square inch.

SNAKE

Gucci Dionysus python bamboo top handle bag

Snake skins vary greatly in size depending on the type of snake, e.g. the skin of a whip snake could measure 20. (50 cm) while a boa constrictor or a python could measure up to 13 ft. (4 m.) in length. The scales make for bold distinctive patterns, and the larger the snake, the larger the scales. Snake skin is lightweight but strong and can have a papery feel to it.

LIZARDS

Hermès Medor Clutch 23cm Niloticus Black Lisse Lizard Pochette

Lizards vary in size according to type. A lizard skin can be between 8-20 in. (20-50 cm) in width. We don’t usually measure the length as the tail is usually lost in the process. The skins have distinctive, diamond scale markings. Like snake skin, lizard skin is light in weight but strong and can feel papery.