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Where is cordovan leather from?

Cordovan leather is one of the most prized types of leather in the world. Known for its durability, smooth finish, and distinctive color, it is a popular choice for high-end leather goods such as shoes, wallets, and watch strap

Cordovan leather is one of the most prized types of leather in the world. Known for its durability, smooth finish, and distinctive color, it is a popular choice for high-end leather goods such as shoes, wallets, and watch straps. However, many people are unaware of the origin of this unique material. In this blog article, we will explore the history and geography of cordovan leather.

Cordovan leather gets its name from the city of Córdoba, Spain, where it was first produced by the Moors during the Middle Ages. The Moors, who were Muslim inhabitants of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, were known for their skills in leatherworking, and they brought their techniques with them when they conquered Spain in the 8th century.

Córdoba quickly became a center of leather production, and its craftsmen became famous for their high-quality leather goods. Cordovan leather, in particular, became highly prized for its unique properties. It was made from the fibrous flat muscle (shell) beneath the hide of a horse, specifically from the hindquarters of the horse known as the “shell cordovan.” The leather was thick, durable, and had a smooth finish that was ideal for creating luxury items.

As the demand for cordovan leather grew, the technique of producing it spread throughout Europe. However, the production of high-quality cordovan leather eventually declined in Spain due to various factors such as the fall of the Moors, competition from other countries, and changes in fashion trends.

Today, the most famous cordovan leather is made in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. The Horween Leather Company has been producing cordovan leather since the early 20th century and is widely regarded as the world’s leading producer of this type of leather. The company uses a labor-intensive process that involves hand-stitching and finishing to create the distinctive cordovan leather finish.

In addition to the Horween Leather Company, there are a few other tanneries that produce cordovan leather in the United States and Europe. However, the production of cordovan leather remains relatively small compared to other types of leather, and it is still considered a luxury material.

In conclusion, cordovan leather is a unique and highly prized type of leather that has a long and storied history. Its origins can be traced back to the Moors in Spain, but today, the most famous cordovan leather is produced in Chicago, Illinois. Whether you are a fan of high-end shoes, wallets, or watch straps, cordovan leather is a material that is sure to impress with its durability, smooth finish, and distinctive color.

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