Every fashionista enjoys a fancy accessory whether it is a designer purse or modish wallet. The best material for crafting these items is crocodile leather. Not only does it look stunning but also ensures unmatched durability. But only on one condition – if it is really crocodile leather, not a substitute or knock-off. If you want your new wallet to please the eye for many upcoming years, you need to learn how to tell genuine crocodile skin from fakes.
Not all reptiles are the same
Every person knows how crocodile skin looks – it consists of protruding ‘cells’ of various shapes and sizes. However, if you are given wallets made of skins of different reptiles, for instance, alligator or caiman, would you be able to tell where’s what? Yeah, the task becomes more difficult. But don’t worry, in a bit, we’ll teach you how to recognize skins of reptile species from each other.
Caiman leather is not that nice to the touch than skins of its reptile relatives. It kind of looks dry and wrinkly, like an old crocodile lady. If you try to fold a piece of crocodile leather, you will see many tiny cracks. Besides not the best appearance, caiman leather is less durable. Therefore, items made of this animal are less expensive.
Alligator is considered to be a perfect reptile – its skin is more flexible yet it is tough enough to withstand years of heavy usage. Crocodile leather comes close when it comes to look and touch but it is slightly less durable.
The Difference in Look
The look of reptile skin depends on the body part. The most valuable and visually pleasing is abdominal leather. It is smooth, supple, and easy to dye. Unfortunately, this skin is not that hard to forge, that’s why you should know the signs of the real thing.
Crocodile’s body is covered with many sensitive hairs through which the animals perceive the world around. When their skins are tanned, these hairs are removed leaving a small hole inside the cells. This is a sign of natural crocodile leather. Alligators and caimans don’t have these hairs; therefore, their skin doesn’t feature any pores.
Instead, alligators have a so-called umbilical scar that looks like a small cobweb or a star. This is ironclad proof of leather authenticity since other species have nothing like that. When constructing wallets, designers try to put this scar in the most prominent place.
Besides abdominal leather, manufacturers utilize skins from other body parts – head, tail, back, and flanks. They are less valuable because the reptile body is covered with thick osteoderm growths that make leather thicker and rougher. Nevertheless, if laid out properly, they can contribute to a stylish design. For example, crocodile nape horns often adorn wallet exteriors giving them an eye-catching and recognizable look.
Learn to Read Reptile Horns
Speaking of horns, they can let you know what reptile species your wallet is made of. Every reptile has several bony grows on the back of their necks. Their particular look is different but the layout is always the same for every species. Crocodiles have only 6 horns, 4 of which constitute the upper row, and two more horns lie in the second row. Alligators have rows of two bumps. Normally, there are two pronounced rows and one or two less distinct rows. Caimans feature three rows with four, four, and two horns respectively.
Fake or Real?
You need to consider many things when buying a crocodile wallet. One of these things is signs of originality. The following details will help you recognize real crocodile leather from a counterfeit:
- all crocodile cells have different shapes, sizes, and layout. They are like our fingerprints – look similar but each of them is unique. If you notice that a cell pattern is repeating, it is definitely a fake.
- Crocodile leather’s thickness varies throughout the entire piece. The belly leather has more or less uniform thickness whereas dorsal, lateral, and especially nape leather features osteoderm growths that look like bumps or horns. If you push these growths with a finger, they won’t subside. Fake leather, on the contrary, will have the same thickness. Embossing that imitates osteoderms will remain soft and can easily sink if you push it.
Last but not least, crocodiles are hard to breed and their skin requires a lot of skills and time to tan. That’s why a good quality crocodile leather wallet can’t be dirt cheap. If someone tries to sell you a crocodile accessory that costs only a few dozens of dollars, you can be sure that it is plastic under the guise of reptile.