Skip to main content




A distinctive feature or quality that makes an item stand out from its surroundings; a piece upholstered in Edelman leather stands out, changes a room, creates a mood, and enhances the quality of a setting with a special look away from the ordinary.

Aniline (ANN-uhh-lin) Dyeing

Process of coloring leathers throughout with transparent dyes. The formulas for these dyes are precious to our professional dyers. Aniline dyes are challenging to work with and expensive but penetrate thoroughly to ensure the leather wears in, not out. 

Aniline Leather

Leather that has been dyed through with aniline dyes. Aniline leather is sometimes topped with a protein, resin, or lacquer protective coating. It may also be waxed.


Light application of one color over another, usually a darker color over a lighter color, to create highlights and a special antique-appearing patina.


Bacterial Action

Breakdown of a hide due to bacteria.


Convex wooden frame where hides are placed to hand-trim excess waste.


Part of a hide below the belly line that passes through the front break and below the back break; the underside and upper part of the legs of an animal.


Back hide with the shoulder cut-off at right angles to the backbone line at the fore flank.


Beating a salted hide to rid it of loose salt in the hair.


Transfer of materials or colors across surfaces that have come in contact with each other.


Flaw or mark that hurts the appearance of a hide. Blemished hides are often used in mass production tanneries where they are sanded to remove blemishes, losing their natural grain and beauty. Edelman buys only the best European hides, so our leather is natural, unblemished, and remains closer to its beautiful, natural state.


Often seen as “in the blue” which refers to the light blue color of hides that have been chrome-tanned.


Dulling or mottling of a leather’s finish due to condensing moisture during the drying process.


Description of stiff, inflexible leather.

Bonded Leather

Leather fibers that have been bonded together with latex.


An advantage of full-grain leather and a pigment-free dying process, which leaves the grain and pores of a hide intact. Breathability lets the leather adjust to its climate and ultimately produces a better, more luxurious leather.


Application of a concentration of crystallized dyes to add a metallic sheen to the leather.

Brush Coloring

Process of applying dyes to the top of the leather with a brush.


Part of the sueding process to remove the top surface of the grain.


Center Cut Suede

Suede made from split leather trimmed to leave the bends and shoulder, the best parts of the hide.

Chamois Leather

Soft, flexible leather usually made with oil-tanned sheep or lamb skin.

Chrome Tannage

Tannage that uses naturally-occurring and safe Chromium III to provide leather with fluids from minerals, rather than plants. It is the most common way of tanning today. Leather responds to chrome in ways that create softness, lighter weights, and gorgeous ranges of color. After tannage, the leather fibers are removed and formed into bricks which can then be turned into recycled, bonded leather and sold for scrap use such as belts, bags, etc.

NOTE: Our tanneries NEVER use Chromium VI, which is toxic and contains carcinogens, and is common in metal plating. Chromium III is safe in tannage. There are NO environmental restrictions from any organization on its use. Few tanneries specialize in providing chrome-free leather. There is no environmental benefit to chrome-free leathers compared to properly-tanned Chrome III leathers. 100% vegetable-tanned leather is the closest to chrome-free leather.

Combination Tannage

Use of chrome and vegetable tanning to produce a supple hide.

Corrected Leather

Sometimes also called enhanced, top grain, snuffed, buffed, or polished leather. Corrected hides have their natural grain sanded off, including all natural characteristics, as well as brands, scars, damaged grain, and wrinkles. Large amounts of pigments, instead of aniline dyes, are then used to cover the new surface of the leather and a heavy embossing is pressed on the pigmented surface to recreate a grain. Corrected hides will not grow old gracefully and develop beautiful unique patinas, like natural leather. Instead, the pigment finish will crack and wear out instead of wearing in. 


Artists who are highly-skilled and knowledgeable in particular trades or crafts. Edelman teams with these professionals because of their skills, often handed down through generations, in the arts of tanning and dyeing.


Excessive finish and color that transfers off leather that has been incorrectly dyed.


Vegetable-tanned leather that has not had its finish applied yet.


Treating raw hides so they will be ready for the tanning process and minimize putrefaction.



Imperfections that decrease the value and beauty of leather. These can include fiber quality, branding, cuts, scratches, and other damage.


Process that loosens hair of the hide so hair removal will not ruin the hide.

Distressed Leather

Also known as antiqued leather; leather that is created with a naturally-worn appearance.


Post-tanning process before the finishing process. It influences the color and feel of the leather.


Dyeing process in which leather is immersed in dye and tumbled in a rotating drum, allowing maximum dye penetration. This dyes the leather through all its layers so it will wear evenly and beautifully.

Dry Salting

Method of curing in which hides are covered in salt and then dried.

Dye Lot

Record taken during the dyeing process to identify product that received its coloration in the same drum/vat at the same time. Manufacturers assign each lot a unique identification number and stamp it on the label before shipping.

Dyeing (aniline)

Art of coloring hides in aniline dyes, either by spraying, hand-rubbing, or immersion. The purpose of dyeing leather is twofold. First, if penetration is complete, the leather will wear to its same color. Second, the closer the color of the unfinished leather is to the desired end color, the less finish will be necessary to achieve the exact color wanted. And the less finish used, the more natural and beautiful the leather will be. The formulas of our professional dyers, who use oak drums for immersing hides, are precious. We air-dry our hides slowly, placing wet hides on drying frames, getting just the right amount of stretch, never under- or overstraining the wet hides. Nothing takes color as beautifully or vividly as a natural leather hide. Aniline dyes are expensive, temperamental, and require much individual attention. The entire process can take anywhere from six hours to three days.


Embossed Leather

Leather with a unique design or imitation of full grain characteristics.


Process in which a design is added to a leather’s surface by pressure to alter or enhance the surface, resulting in imitation grain or unique patterns.


Fat Wrinkle

Wrinkle in a hide caused by fat deposits. Fat wrinkles create unique patterns in leather and are not seen in imitation or highly-corrected leather.


Emulsion of oils and grease in water to lubricate leather fibers, keeping the leather from drying out.


Any post-tanning treatment, such as: dyeing, rolling, pressing, spraying, lacquering, antiquing, waxing, buffing, embossing, glazing, waterproofing, and flame-proofing to protect the leather and enhance its appearance.

Full Grain

Natural leather that has not been corrected or altered. Full grain leather possesses its natural, original grain. This gives the leather its character and unique feel.



Embossing process that creates soft upholstery leather with a pattern applied by roller under high heat and low pressure.


The class of hide determined by its quality.


The distinctive pore and wrinkle pattern that gives the hide its character and feel; may be either natural or embossed.

GREENGUARD Certification

All Edelman leathers are GREENGUARD Certified (note: tiles for floor application only). The GREENGUARD Certification Program offers assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits. This contributes to improved air quality where GREENGUARD Certified products are used and helps create healthier interiors. In fact, we did not need to change our leather production processes in order to be certified. 100% of our hides originate in Europe, where EU regulations for leather tanning are the most stringent in the world. Hides from outside the EU are likely of lesser quality and considered to be less environmentally-sound.


Hair-on Leather

Leather tanned with the hair still attached to the hide.


Term used to describe the softness or feel of a leather. 


An animal skin, split into three layers — the top for smooth leather, the center for suede, and the bottom for industrial leather.


Imitation Leather

Fabric coated with rubber or synthetic resin and then embossed with a grain to resemble leather; often contains protein fibers from real leather.




Hide from an immature bovine.



Chemicals used for top coats to give the leather a high gloss shine.


Animal hide that has been treated to be strong and long-lasting. Only material that has kept its original fiber structure can be called leather, as opposed to those with fiber that has been broken down through mechanical or chemical means and rebuilt into sheets or other forms such as imitation leather.


Fiberboard made of at least 75% leather.


Fabric that has been manufactured to imitate leather but ultimately does not hold up to premium full grain leather.



A smooth, flat finish that does not have any highlights.

Metalized Leather

Leather that has been given a luster through the application of metallic foils or powders.


The process in which hides are softened and have their grain enhanced through a treatment of water and heat during the drum-drying process.


Tanned with minerals including chromium salts, aluminum, and zirconium.


Marbling or antiquing created by placing similar tones on top of each other to add more character to the leather.


Naked Leather

Leather that has been dyed and tanned but not had any finishes applied that would alter or mask the natural leather.


A soft, raised, textured surface, such as what gives suede its luxurious feel.

Native Hide

A hide without a brand.


Aniline-dyed suede with a soft nap, made from split hide.



Packer Hides

Hides from meat processing and packaging companies.


The upper or top grain layer of a split hide.


Hides that are slightly translucent and smooth. They are often used for special documents, drum heads, or lamp shades.

Patent Leather

Leather given a glossy, impermeable finish by several coats of varnish, oils, and resins.


Dyed leather that has a soft sheen or luster.

Perforated Leather

Leather on which patterns of holes are punched by pins.


Dyes and paints that coat leather to give it color; used on lesser hides as the leather often cracks because the pores are covered in pigment and unable to take in moisture. Also, can be worn down and lose its color as the pigments only coat the top of the leather and do not penetrate its layers for an even color throughout.


Tiny hole or depression in the grain of the leather that can be natural or caused by processing.


Where the embossing plates meet and are occasionally visible.

Plating/Plated Leather

Leather that has been pressed between heated metal plates under high pressure, often used for furniture leather to cover imperfections.

Premium Select

A term describing hides with very few scars or blemishes, usually less than 5% of all hides. All Edelman hides are #1 grade or premium select, and 100% originate in Europe, where regulations for leather tanning are the most stringent in the world.


Hide that is waxed or oiled and then pulled to create lighter areas of color.



Reconstructed Leather

Softened hide pieces separated into fibers and made into a fibrous mat.


Compressing and smoothing the grain of a hide under a metal roller.


Rough-out refers to the hides being used in a reverse manner. With the grain side in, and the split side out, the aesthetic is altered offering a rough texture.


Salt Stain

Discoloration on the hide from salt burns during the curing process.


One or more units of product from a lot to test the quality of the lot.


Refers to the removal of grain, scars, and blemishes from a hide’s surface, a process used by large mass production leather manufacturers so they can use lesser quality hides.


Remnants of hair, dirt, and tissue left in the follicles after unhairing.

Semi-Aniline Leather

Leathers that have been aniline-dyed then top-coated with matching pigments to even out the color (also called aniline plus).


The leg portion of the animal and its hide.


Leather often made from sheepskin shorn before slaughter so the short wool or hair is left on the hide.


The thickest part of the hide that is created from the shoulder area of a cow, often the best and most productive part of a hide.

Shrunken Leather

Full grain leather that is shrunk to enhance and enlarge the natural grain of the leather.


A half hide cut along the backbone.


Create a thin layer of hide through peeling, shaving, slicing, or dividing.


Harsher form of buffing in which the leather is abraded with brushes, an emery wheel, or sandpaper to get rid of defective grain or sueding.


The second layer or center cut of a hide that Edelman uses to make suede.


The size of the skin measured by a machine in square feet.


Kid or other leather finished with a soft, napped surface, after removal of a thin outer layer.


Table Run

Hides and leathers that have not been graded or cheap leathers sold to manufacturers.


Solvent or substance of organic origin used in tanning.


Art of preserving any skin hide; a cleansing and then nourishing of hides.


Coloring a hide so that the base color is a solid, lighter color, and the “tips” on the hide are highlighted colors (e.g., ostrich).


The process of stretching skins on frames with toggles.

Top Coat

A coat applied over the finish coat to protect it.

Top Grain Leather

Leather that has lost its natural grain due to manufacturing; same as corrected leather.


Process in which outer edges and imperfections not suitable for leather are removed from hides.


Process in which hides are tumbled in a rotating drum to soften the hand or enhance the grain.


Unfinished Leather

Aniline-dyed, naked hides with no intended finishes or color treatments.

Upholstery Leather

Term used to describe leather used for furniture, transportation, and architecture.


Vegetable Tannage

Oldest method of tanning and the most environmentally-sound way to tan or cure hides. It is a long, slow process but creates one of the most special types of leather in the world. It is a little heavier, more grabbable, and resilient. Vegetable tanning uses tanning agents almost exclusively of plant origin. Tree bark is the main ingredient. Centuries-old craftsmanship is the key.


Appearance of leather after buffing or shaving has closed or cut blood vessels and made them visible.



Weight of the hide measured in ounces per square foot.


Strip of leather sewn into a seam as reinforcement or trim.


Coloring a hide so that the base color is darker, and the embossed areas or peaks are lighter.




Usable area of hide after trimming process.