Bizzare Wallets made From Exotic Leather
When we think of leather wallets we usually think of the most common leather used in leathercraft – Cowhide. But the range of leathers available to use in goods is only limited by the animals in the animal kingdom. Although not always ethical (we’ll get into this later) the range of exotic leathers used in leathercraft is ever increasing and you’d be surprised by the animal hide used to create a variety of distinct leather goods.
The wallets and information used in this article are considering the environmental and ethical considerations of the animals used in the manufacturing of these wallets. Certain animals mentioned may be endangered or limited in supply so I’ve made sure to only mention brands that adhere to the strictest environmental guidelines in how they obtain and use these types of exotic leathers.
With both strength and durability along with a unique patternation (from the fish scales), Salmon leather is my favorite leather in terms of its appearance and a huge range of colors available. The Fish scales provide an ultra distinctive and uniformed look.
I stumbled upon an example of this leather used in wallets from a Kickstarter project funded back in 2015. The campaign dubbed “The Salmon Leather Project” was a huge success raising more than $50,000 boasting about the unique qualities Salmon leather provides.
The project was also based upon their desire to help the environment. The Salmon Leather Project was set up to promote the upcycling of fishery byproducts and as a result, reduce waste and promote a sustainable environment. Although I can’t find any evidence this project is still ongoing (their official website no longer exists) I can say the look of these were great and I wish I could have got my hands on one of them.
A material that I never thought would even be considered for a wallet. Ostrich leather provides a ridged texture and durable finish. Another reason for the Ostrich’s popularity in leathergoods is the unique texture and appearance of the leather. Covered in tiny bumps – or vacant quill follicles – the leather is hard to handle and requires intricate and specialized production process to create the eventual end product. But this process comes at a cost. The average price of a wallet made from Ostrich leather is above $100.
A good example of wallets made from Ostrich leather comes from the company Ostrich2love. As the name suggests they specialize in Ostrich leather goods but put a big emphasis on ethically sourced materials and try to support local fair-trade workshops in which their leather originates from. For more information – and to view a few Ostrich leather wallets – check out Ostrich 2 Love by clicking the link below.
Stringray (Shagreen) Leather
Known as the most difficult leather to work, Stingray leather, most commonly known as Shagreen, is textured with small bumps and circular patternation that provides a distinct texture and feel (bumpy). The leather also has other desirable properties including its hard durability, range of distinct patternation giving it a luxurious appearance.
Most stingray leather wallet makers have a white diamond, or eye, spray-painted on the surface of the leather both to highlight the area of the stingray leather where dorsal fin of the stingray fish once was and also to hide the natural patina process that is unique to this leather.
An example of a Stingray wallet is from Tom Barrington. These provide a range of simple bi-fold style wallets made from Stingray leather in a unique range of colors. Another thing we didn’t mention was the affordability of this type of leather. Compared to other exotic leathers Shagreen is relatively inexpensive and this is shown in Tom’s range that comes in at a mid-range price of $80.00. For more information on Stingray Wallets view Tom Barrington’s range with the link below.
Nile Perch Skin
Another example of fish being used in wallet production the Nile Perch Skin wallet is another unique leather. The Fish Perch fished in the Nile and recognized by its large round scales is known for its soft feel and has heads constantly turning. One of the best examples of this comes from a company called Sruli Recht. They produce a Perch wallet caught in Lake Victoria by the fishermen of the surrounding countries Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Nile Perch Wallet above is a prime example of this leather used and is amazingly unique with an almost gothic medieval look to it. For more information on this wallet check it out with the link below.
Dork Whalet Leather
The most bizarre leather on this list for sure. Dork Whalet – leather made from Whale Foreskin – is a material I’d assume not many people would want to carry and hold in their hands on a daily basis. The Dork Whalet does provide some unique qualities not seen in other wallets. With unique hue, patternation, and texture you can be guaranteed no two pieces of foreskin will ever be the same each hosting their own unique look.
That being said I couldn’t find much information on how the leather actually performs in terms of durability so take this will a grain of salt. Overall, I can’t really see the appeal of using such an odd material for obvious reasons. I could only find one manufacturer of Dork Whalet (what a surprise) but the Manufacturer Sruli Recht offered the example seen above for a staggering $3,500. What a joke.
Due to the limited number of crocodiles available Crocodile leather is one of the most expensive yet desirable wallets on this list and why it’s sort after by premium brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes. The wallet is uniquely texture and hardy in disposition while also needing the highest level of craftsmanship to prepare that also hinders its availability.
Not all crocodile skins are valued the same as well. As one of the largest crocodile species, the Australian Saltwater Crocodile has a reputation for having the most desirable and high-quality hide. Other crocodiles include saltwater, Nile, and Caiman.
A great example of Crocodile being used in the manufacturing of wallets is with the brand Bikerring. This special wallet is made from the skin located on the Backbone of the Croc and is distinct from its various textured designs. For more information on this wallet check it out directly with the link below.
Kangaroo leather is another Exotic leather desired for its strength and thickness. In fact, many studies show that Kangaroo leather is one of the strongest leathers available on the market today and even when thinned out retains more strength than other leathers. The leather is also lightweight and thinner. For example, two pairs of the same boots – one made from Kangaroo and the other Cowhide – would weigh significantly different from the Kangaroo leather coming in at just a fraction of the weight.
That being said the look & feel of the leather is fairly bland and doesn’t give any visual unique differences (maybe apart from its lighter coloration) than most traditional leathers. It is also often frowned upon to use Kangaroo leather which has given it a bad reputation in the industry and among the public.
An example of a Kangaroo leather wallet comes from the brand Australian Gear. This bi-fold style wallet is made from Barmah Kangaroo and made using the Australian Government’s sustainability program. For more information on Kangaroo leather wallets click the link below.
Elephant leather is a course, durable leather with a ripped almost wrinkled texture. Elephant skin is produced from the body of African elephant skins. Elephant skin ears and trunks make up a much smaller percentage of products, however, they have the desired texture which differs from the elephant body. Elephant ears, which are thinner and smoother than panels are often used in wallets, but as a is a lot rarer and more expensive than traditional leather skin.
A good example of an elephant leather wallet comes from a company called Yoder who produces is an aesthetically pleasing wallet that really shows the unique patternation of the leather. From the classic elephant skin grey color to the unique bumpy texture the wallet is uniquely distinctive.