How Can You Tell the Difference between Ostrich and Ostrich Print Leather?

Jul 10th 2019

How Can You Tell the Difference between Ostrich and Ostrich Print Leather?

Ostrich leather is considered to be one of the exotic leathers, putting it in the same category as alligator, snakeskin, stingray, crocodile and other types of specialty leathers. Ostrich leather has some unique properties that make it very desirable, but it can also be very expensive. To capitalize on the desired element of ostrich leather but with a cheaper alternative, some tanneries produce what is called ostrich print leather. Ostrich print leather gives you a similar look at a greatly reduced price. But how can you tell the difference between ostrich and ostrich print leather? You need to be able to tell the difference to make sure you are getting what you paid for when you purchase leather goods made from expensive, ostrich leather. We will answer that question and a few others on this page.

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View our Genuine Ostrich Leather offering here


Why Is Ostrich Leather so Desirable?

Ostrich Leather is desirable because it is not only beautiful, it is also durable and supple and rare. Many people regard ostrich leather as the finest quality leather in the world. It is one of the toughest and most pliable skins available, making it great for boots, wallets, belts, handbags and many other items. Ostrich skin has a lot of natural oils that help it resist cracking and becoming stiff. For a lot of people, the unique look of Ostrich Leather makes it desirable but the fact that it is so durable while also feeling so soft and supple, making it a top choice material for high-end products.

What Is Ostrich Print Leather?

Many people like the look of Ostrich Leather, so to achieve a similar look at a greatly reduced price, a pattern is printed (embossed) on leather using a heavy rolling plate during the tanning process to achieve the desired "ostrich look". Ostrich Leather is very expensive so a look-a-like ostrich print that gives you a similar look will be printed on a less expensive type of leather like cow hides or lamb skins giving the unsuspecting owner the look of ostrich at a much-reduced price.

How to Tell the Difference between True Ostrich Leather and Ostrich Print Leather

Ostrich Leather has a very unique look and no other material even looks similar. One of the things that give it its unique look is the raised points on the hide. The raised points or bumps are the spots where the feathers were growing out of the skin. The quill bumps form a diamond shaped crown on the ostrich skin, covering about one to two-thirds of the entire skin.

This quill pattern usually recedes and the quill marks get noticeably smaller as the skin of the ostrich approaches the neck or stomach area of the bird. The stomach area is usually mostly free of quill marks though, like stray human hairs, an occasional quill might be spotted. The crown of the skin is the most desirable portion of the skin but because the crown only represents about one-third of the entire skin, it is where the biggest concentration of full quills are located.

Since the most desirable area is from the crown where the quill marks are the largest many fake ostrich leathers only emboss large quill marks on their leathers, if you see a product that has smaller marks or randomly sized quill marks, it is likely to be real Ostrich Leather. Products made solely of full quill Ostrich Leather are quite a bit more expensive and usually only reserved for the ultimate luxury leather items.

Ostrich print leather, as mentioned earlier, is simply a cheaper leather with an ostrich print stamped onto it using an embossing process during the tanning of the leather. An easy way to tell the difference between true ostrich leather and ostrich print is to simply run your hand along the leather. You will be able to feel the bumps in the ostrich skin. The bumps are pretty significant and many times there is a small pore at the top of the bumps where the feathers grew. This type of texture is very difficult to replicate with a machine or an embossing stamp, so this is a very good way to tell the difference. Also, with an embossed ostrich print, you can see the uniformity in the quill bumps. In real Ostrich Leather, each quill mark is quite unique and this natural tendency is not possible to replicate with an embossing stamp.

Another way to tell the difference is to look for a repeating quill pattern. Because ostrich print leather is a pattern that is stamped onto a cheaper piece of leather, you may be able to find where the pattern repeats and this would be an indication that it is not a true piece of ostrich leather. If you are in a store looking at an item made from ostrich leather, check the other products from the same brand and see if you see similar quill patterns. If you do, you might be looking at fake ostrich leather.

If you shop the biggest known leather brands such as Hermes, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Bottega Veneta and others you can be confident that they are using real ostrich leathers. However, if you are shopping unknown brands be sure to use the information in our post to check your leather item to see if in fact, it Is real ostrich leather. You don't want to be paying premium prices for something that is not the real thing.

Here at OstriTec we obviously only use and sell real Ostrich Leather.

Our leathers all come from animals farmed for food and while there are many who still oppose using leathers from animals under any circumstance, we believe that using leathers from animals initially farmed for food is a good middle ground compromise.