What's the Most Expensive Exotic Leather?

What’s the Most Expensive Exotic Leather?

May 18, 2021

Leather accessories have long been prized for their natural beauty, especially if the hide comes from an exotic animal. If you’ve been wondering which exotic leather is the most expensive in Baton Rouge, LA, read on. While there are plenty of rare, exotic skins to be had, only one earns the title of the most expensive available.

Of course, you can still get plenty of high-quality skins without a massive price tag—Acadian Leather specializes in beautiful leathers at a variety of price points. Whatever leather you choose from us is guaranteed to be beautiful, durable and unique.

Meet the shell cordovan

The most expensive exotic leather in the world is from the shell cordovan, a leather derived from the flat muscles underneath the hide on a horse’s rump. As you can imagine, not many places in the world raise horses for leather. Not only does the leather take six months (at a minimum) to make, but it’s one of the most difficult leathers to work with. Shell cordovan is unique, rare and has a price tag to match.

Shell cordovan originated in the Spanish city of Cordoba, which is renowned for its leather tanning businesses. Shell cordovan, specifically, was prized because of its durability and mirror-like finish. In the 18th century, it was used for decorative objects like wall hangings. In the 19th century, it was used for more practical objects. By the 20th century, new innovations in tanning made it possible to use shell cordovan for shoes and other items requiring supple leather.

Why is shell cordovan so expensive?

What is it that makes shell cordovan the most expensive exotic leather? Here’s a closer look at the key factors:

  • It’s hard to source: There are few places in the world that raise horses for leather, and what’s more, only a small amount of the horse hide can be used to create shell cordovan. The horse rump can’t be split into layers like cow hide can.
  • Membrane instead of fibers: Has your favorite leather jacket started to crack over the years? That’s because most leather has fibers, which makes it wrinkle and crack over time. Shell cordovan, on the other hand, has a membrane. This causes the leather to ripple—and it’s also more water resistant, durable and wrinkle resistant.
  • Long, difficult tanning process: Tanning shell cordovan requires vegetable tanning; tannins are extracted from plants and used to penetrate the thick horseflesh membrane. This process can take at least six months, which is significantly longer than other types of leather. This arduous process contributes to why shell cordovan is so prized and so expensive.
  • Ages very well: Finally, shell cordovan ages extremely well compared to other leathers. It develops a natural patina over time, regardless of the color you’ve chosen. This only adds to its beauty.

Given its rarity and difficulty to create, you can see why shell cordovan is one of the most expensive exotic leathers in Baton Rouge, LA. If it’s not quite in your budget, there are plenty of other attractive options available. Call Acadian Leather today to learn more about our selection.

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