Antique Leather - Vintage Leather

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When it comes to old leather the words "antique leather" and "patina" spring to mind. However, they are two different things.

The term "antique leather" usually applies either to furniture which is over 100 years old, or leather which has been given an antique look.

Antique leather due to the age

"Antique leather" can be described so because of its age. Objects are classed as antiques when they are about 100 years old. Rarely when 50 years old.

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Antique Leather due to age: Leather luggage, antique book cover, antique chairs, shoes, embossed folder, antique leather wallpaper.


Antique leather due to the optics

We also call it antique leather when it has an old leather look. Mostly, this term is used with Chesterfield furniture, desk tops and embossed chairs. In this case, it is not the age of the leather but its look that counts. However, the term "vintage leather" is widely used for the appearance of old leather.

The antique leather look is created by contrasting colours. For example, Pull Up leathers have a wax or oil coating that quickly builds up patina just through normal use.

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Antique Leather due to appearance: The rest are older Chesterfield sofas, but not old enough to classify as antique.


Leather patina

Patina appears when the leather changes due to ageing, but it is still attractive. A historic column with little cracks, or an old wooden ship with many signs of ageing can still be beautiful - like an old painting - even though they are damaged. It's the same with leather. A leather with patina doesn’t have to be 100 years old, it just needs to have the look of antique leather. In other words, showing signs of use which look to have aged well.


The difference between old leather with patina and modern leather is obvious.


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Old-timer seats with a beautiful patina, even if the leather is already partially torn.


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Patina adds to the value of a classic car. Dirt and abrasions are not considered damages.


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Upholstery leather: Even if the leather already has colour differences and ageing traces, it has a beautiful patina.


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In this case the leather is broken and no longer beautiful. Therefore, it is not considered patina.


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Worn and brittle leather is better described as soiled and brittle, rather than with patina. However, the armrest has a residual patina.



Patination is the process of making leather look like old leather. This is usually achieved by applying a a semi-transparent darker hue on Chesterfield furniture. The leather is then called rub-off leather.

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Image 1 still doesn’t have a patina. - Image 2 has little patina. - Image 3 is intensively patinated.


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Different patinated antique leather or rub-off leather effects.



Today the leather can be bought with antique finish. Previously, furniture was partially coated with a dark colour, hence the term rub-off leather as it looks as if the colour has rubbed off.


The patination of classic car leather in the leather workshop.

The post-patination of an antique folder.

The leather repair workshop: The patination of worn antique leather.

COLOURLOCK Antique Finish - COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver.

The refreshing of a thick aniline leather in the leather workshop by preserving the patina.

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