Vegetable tanning is an Eco-friendly process which is best known for making leather more durable and helping it maintain its versatility. This process is well known for being used in all of the I Medici products, the result is well made handbags.
Vegetable tanned leathers are prepared using tannin and other ingredients found in vegetable matter. For example, tree bark which is prepared in bark mills. Tannin is what makes the leather immune to decay and prevents it from shrinking. Chestnut wood, oak bark, and hemlock bark are the chief domestic sources of tannin used by leather industries in the United States. 80% of the tannin sources are foreign; these sources include the wood of the quebracho tree of South America, mangrove bark from the island of Borneo, wattle bark from South Africa, and imbalance fruit from India.
In vegetable tanning the hides are hanging from rocking frames in a sequence of vats containing increasingly stronger tannin solutions, called liquors. After a couple weeks the hides are moved to a "layaway" section, which consists of larger vats containing still stronger liquors. Each week more tannin is added to the liquor, until the hides have absorbed an adequate amount of tannin to complete the development. The final stages of the procedure may be accelerated by the use of warm liquors. After this process the leather becomes one of the finest leathers around and becomes an exceptional material to be used for luggage, belts and handbags.
Vegetable Tanning is easily one of the most eco-friendly ways to tan leather. Most people never know just how their leather is prepared; all they care about is how dependable their leather is. The most generally used form of tanning leather involves things like animal urine and animal brain oil. Vegetable tanning makes the leather just as smooth and durable as any other method, if not more. The only difference is that I Medici naturally tans all of its leather in Italy. Vegetable tanning uses tannin which is a substance found in bark and leaves. The tanning process consists in strengthening the protein structure of the skin by creating a bond between the peptide chains. Vegetable tanning gives the leather a natural color, just like naturally tanning skin.
Vegetable tanning dates back to the Renaissance Age, and it was also used by Native Americans. The advantage of having vegetable tanned leather is that it makes the leather stiff and tremendously long-lasting. The benefit of having stiff leather is that over time the leather only becomes more and more beautiful and it never loses its resilience. The leather begins to form around the handler making it more comfortable as time passes. Vegetable tanning is a slow and careful process that is never rushed, thus some of the best products emerge from this method.
Nobel art of vegetable tanning is core to Tuscany and is mastered in the heart of leather district. Vegetable tanning is an artisan tradition that the tanneries associated to the Genuine Italian Vegetable-Tanned Leather Consortium have handed down from father to son for over 200 years, using both antique recipes and state-of-the-art technology. Besides the tannery one must admire the quality of the hides that are organically grass and corn fed which makes the cattle top notch for quality leather products.
I Medici’s products are all made from the finest leather. Everything is handmade and one of a kind. I Medici’s products have managed to keep their traditional style but still accommodate to the customers changing needs. More and more companies are using methods that are damaging the environment because they are cheaper and faster, I Medici has stayed eco friendly. It’s not the cheapest way to produce products, but it’s the safest, and the y pride themselves on that.
The picture below shows the coloring used to tan the leather.
Raw leather before tanning applied is shown below.