Crocodile printed leather: differences with alligator and caiman

Pubblicato 02/04/2017 14:39:53
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Crocodile printed leather hides

The foreword is clear: we are in the presence of hides, usually bovine ones, stamped and finished in order to give out the impression of the skin of a reptile. For stamping it special presses are needed on which different plates are mounted to stamp. Natural crocodile or alligator hides are very similar and this effect gets reinforced in the case of stamped leathers. The natural skin of an alligator is the most expensive one and, consequently, the most emulated one. Natural skin is much softer to the touch compared to the stamped one. Stamped hides with a caiman effect are instead quite rare since among the exotic hides, this is the cheapest one and, consequently, the one that is less reproduced artificially.


How to distinguish the various types of crocodile printed leather hides

One way to recognize the type of animal reproduced consists in checking the different shape of the scales. Crocodile and alligator scales are rounded and squared irregularly, have a rather elegant and polished appearance than the scales that characterized caiman's skin, which are squared, however having a more uneven line compared to the crocodile. Moreover the scales of the caiman look a bit shrunken because of the so called “osteoderms”, small bone formations that look like finger prints.

When genuine crocodile leather is used to produce a bag, the parts coming from the belly and hips of the animal are used and these are the parts reproduced by the stamping presses.

Crocodile or alligator printed leather?

There are small differences in the shape of the scales of these two reptiles. In the alligator, the transition from the wider and squared scales of the belly to the more rotund and smaller scales of the hips happens in a more sudden way than in the crocodile, where the transition is more gradual, with some medium sized scales that slowly get reduced and rounded.

The umbilical scar (a star with an elongated shape located between the belly's scales) distinguishes the alligator and this feature gets always reproduced in the stamping since it confers distinction and value to the hides.

Finally, every scale of the crocodile skin has a pore, a unique feature because differently from the alligators and caimans, crocodiles have hairs on their bodies, which are lost in the tanning phase and at their place the pores become visible.

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