Vegetable Tanned  Full Grain Leather

Created by Nature

Perfected by DaVarg

Dual Layer Structure

The Anatomy

The character and durability of full-grain leather comes from the dual layer structure of grain and corium. 

The tightly woven structure of fine grain is from the epidermal layer of the hide. In DaVarg full-grain leather, this grain layer is left untouched and natural features and marks are retained in the leather.  Hence,  it is not uncommon to find healed scars,  insect bites and other marks that further authenticates its originality. 

The lesser dense corium serves as the flexible durable base for the grain layer. The relatively open yet interwoven structure of corium allows the leather to breathe and retain moisture,  making the leather durable and age gracefully.

Transforming Hide into Leather 

Vegetable Tanning Process 

Castello DaVarg exclusively uses vegetable tanning for transforming full-grain leather with its natural character and elegance. 

Vegetable tanning has been perfected over human evolution to transform raw hide into durable and elegant leather. It is still remains  the most classical and traditional among tanning methods and the preferred process that can retain the characteristics of delicate leather grain. 

The transformation from raw hide into leather happens slowly over several weeks with tannins derived from trees and plants - hence the term vegetable tanning.  These tannins convert and bind the collagen proteins in the rawhide, making them strong and more durable. 

Over time the corium fibers dehydrate, gaining strength and flexibility while the grain layer retains its character through the tanning process.

The time consuming manual process of vegetable tanning has b ecome a highly skilled craft, undertaken only by a few select tanneries.  This renders vegetable tanning more expensive and exclusive; and makes vegetable tanned full grain leather more coveted and cherished.  Due to cost and ease of processing, most mass market leather is now made with chrome or  aniline tanning. While they cannot produce leather with the same quality and character as vegetable tanning, they are adequate for lower quality leather such as upholstery or large luggage.

Making DaVarg Leather

Making better Full-grain Leather

All full-grain leathers are not created equal. 

DaVarg leather is selected from mature hides with optimal grain to corium ratio.  While this leather will retain its nature made marks and folds, large ranch-brands or scars are avoided. This mature leather has to undergo further process steps to transform fully into DaVarg Leather. 


The vegetable tanned leather comes in various quality levels. The tanneries grade them based on factors such as grain quality, corium thickness, and hide size. Only the highest leather grade with no branding or large marks are selected for DaVarg leather.


Vegetable tanned cow hide has a creamy, pale shade and can attract dirt and stains. To prevent any unwanted staining and to further add character, we tint the grain side with deeply penetrating dyes of various custom shades.

Back Coating

In most leathers, the corium or back side of leather is often unfinished- this causes the corium side to attract moisture, get stained, and have its fibers quickly come loose. We find this undesirable in our articles, and so the back side of Davarg leather is also coated with a specially formulated layer that bonds the corium fibers together


Once the leather is back-coated, the leather is branded with our inner wave pattern and stamp with the DaVarg maker's mark. The wave pattern proves the continuity in leather. The maker's mark is then applied as a stamp of approval.

Making DaVarg Leather

Full-grain to DaVarg Leather

Vegetable tanned full grain leather is like a blank canvas, it need to be prepared to enhance the character and durability. 

The grain side of leather is tinted with deep penetrating dyes and impart the shades into the leather. Unlike synthetic coatings that cover the grain, the dyes alter the color of the grain and retains the character of leather. These shades also enhance the sheen and pull-up ensuring the leather will mature gracefully as it ages. 

In most natural leathers, the corium of leather is often left unfinished, causing it to attract moisture, get stained, or have its fibers quickly come loose. Not only be the leather gets dirty easily, but also the loose corium fibers  can degrade the stretch and durability of leather.  To overcome this we developed a  proprietary coating that can bind the corium layers and give leather a smooth clean finish.

The custom DaVarg shades along with back coating ensures the full grain leather retains its elegance and character for ages.

Know Your Leather

When is leather is not Leather ?

Most leather in market are actually not full-grain leather, and some are not even leather or made from animal hide. 

Unknowingly or not, we acquire them without fully realizing what they are made of and wonder why they don't hold up to our expectations. To complicate further, leather that is processed out of split corium or manmade materials are also called split leather, corrected leather, embossed leather, coated leather, suede, Napa leather, painted or patent leather, bonded leather, or reconstituted leather. 

Since there are no strict industry regulations to define what exactly constitutes leather, a great many items in market are made with these artificial materials, and can still claim to be made of leather.If you are unsure of the origin of the 'leather', do your research and proceed with caution. If the manufacturer does not state explicitly it is full-grain leather, chances are that it is one of the inferior artificial leathers.

Know Your Leather

Distinguishing Real Leather

Artificial leather can imitate full grain leather and deceive even experienced leather connoisseurs. Especially with Polyurethane (PU) leather, the look and feel of grains is successfully imitated. To distinguish between such leather and natural full grain leather, we will have to look for multiple characteristics that differentiate full gain leather. 

The best option is to buy leather from a reputable source who would stand by their leather. 

Scent of the leather

Vegetable tanned leather has a clean, woody aroma. This aroma evolves over time. When freshly tanned the scent is akin to fresh skin and after conditioning it develops the musky tobacco scent. If the leather smells like acetone or other chemicals it might be analine or bonded leather. 

Monotonous patterns

Genuine full grain leather does not come with patterns. In genuine leather, the wrinkles, folds and patterns are developed as the articles see some usage. Monotonous, repetitive grain patterns are a result of embossing with rollers on a synthetic layer over a fabric or split leather layer.

Black coated leather

Black pigments on synthetic layers hide the imperfections and gives a leather-like appearance on substandard splits with embossing. Our general recommendation is to stay away from black opaque leather. Keep in mind, if you cannot see individual grains on leather chances are that it is not full grain. 

Uniformity of patterns

Artificial leather is often mass-produced with a regular and uniform texture. This is evident in most upholstery leather where the color is even and grain patterns are well defined and consistent. On the other hand, genuine leather is seldom uniform. An animal's scratches, scars, insect bites, and natural stretch marks are all present on full-grain leather.

Embossing and prints

It is very easy to impart such as crocodile or ostrich skin patterns with a rolling die on vegetable tanned leather. Fake embossing and prints such patterns are common in cheaper imitation leather. 

Thin grain layer

Thin top grain without corium will disintegrate quickly. So if the leather is thin (less than 1mm) it is most probably has no corium but could be bonded leather with a manmade substrate, such as fabric. If you see very thin leather look for fabric backing to support it. 

Lack of pull-up

“Pull up” on leather is seen as a color variation when the leather is bent or folded. As the grain and corium expands, the moisture in leather redistributes and imparts a lighter shade on the folds. If the leather does not show any pull up effect, there is a good chance that it is not full-grain leather. Excessive pull up is a sign or oiled or latigo leather.

Non-porous grain

Painted leathers does not absorb conditioners such as EEVEs' Leather Balm since the grain or corium layers are coated with synthetic material. If the leather surface does not effectively absorb EEVEs' leather balm, it is highly likely that it is painted or a synthetically coated leather.

Glossy and uniform

Artificial leather is often mass-produced with a regular and uniform texture. This is evident in most upholstery leather where the color is even and grain patterns are well defined and consistent. On the other hand, genuine leather is seldom uniform with scars, and natural marks all present on full-grain leather.

EEEVE's Leathercare Products

Caring for Full-grain Leather

Full-grain leather is similar to human skin in many ways. It is designed to absorb and retain oils through its open epidermal structure. Without this necessary moisture, leather can dry out and crack. To protect as well as to enhance its elegance and character, leather needs to be properly conditioned to retain natural oils and repel excess moisture.

DaVarg's exclusive EEVEs’ Leather Care products are made from natural ingredients, with a formulation that was originally developed as a moisturizing cream and is suitable for any natural full grain leather.