Ostrich leather tanning in South Africa
Leather tanning is one of the world’s oldest crafts. Man has been fashioning clothes and useful items out of leather for millennia. When it comes to ostrich leather, South Africa is proud to be the world leader, with 70% of the market share. Here we have the oldest, most experienced and knowledgeable tanneries globally.
Our ostrich leather is hand made. It has been handled through the tannery approximately 117 times. It is not like a normal bovina tannery where it is all done in a mechanical way. The fiber structure is completely different form other leather, like bovine or sheep, it is a three-dimensional interwoven fiber structure, which allows is to be very durable and very supple.
An interesting aspect of the South African ostrich industry is that we have complete traceability of all our products. When a raw skin arrives in our tanneries a small micro chip is attached to the skin. It is like a passport. Whatever happens to a particular skin is recorded on that micro chip. So whenever a customer receives a ostrich leather skin from South Africa with a barcode, the customer is able to contact the tannery to find out exactly when the skin comes from, which ensures that it comes from farm that’s registered and applies all environmental control rules.
Ostrich leather tanning began in 1970 in South Africa. In those days, the leather was pigmented and quite hard, suitable only for structured handbags. Today, the finishes, colours and options available are endless. And allow the designer infinite range in using this precious leather.