The Art of Leather



There are several methods for tanning leather, but not all of them are the right choice for your health or environment. CHARLES DARIUS only uses vegetable-tanned leather.


is the most popular and controversial, due to its widespread use in the fashion industry. It is effective and fast (within a few days) to produce a soft and uniform leather. The raw appearance, before it is dyed and painted, is pale blue in color and with a strong chemical smell that frequently remains in the final product. But the use of chromium salts is harmful to the human and environmental health, it is a carcinogenic, persistent and indestructible chemical. Despite being publicly recognized for these significant downsides, it is still the most used method in the fashion industry.


Aldehyde-tanning is advertised as the "chromium-free" method and mainly used in the automotive, clothing and footwear industry, and its raw appearance is very pale, almost white. But the formaldehyde, base chemical in this process, is dangerous, and the toxicity of the resulting leather should be strictly controlled, which does not always happen when the industry is rushing for big, fast results.


Vegetable-tanning is the true "chromium-free" method, and does not have harmful chemicals. It is an old-world, artisanal process that takes advantage from the tannic acids naturally found in some plant species, by using the barks, branches, leaves and even some fruits in some specific techniques. The natural appearance before painted, has a slightly brownish tinge over a beige color, with a natural, woody and earthy smell.
There are some disadvantages in using vegetable-tanned leather including:
  • Production time (about two months);
  • High consumption of water, although the result is harmless (contrary to the chrome and aldehyde methods), the use must always be moderate;
  • Executed by experienced and hard to find workers, this doubles as an advantage that makes this industry a fair trade one;
  • Very high final costs.
But there are also big advantages unsurpassed by any other tanning methods. Vegetable-tanned leather was recently salvaged to provide an alternative material in fashion, but also to make use of its high quality:

  • Colors and textures have a more natural and organic look;
  • It is irregular and handmade which can be leveraged for a unique and genuine aesthetic;
  • High durability and strength, being even far more efficient than the majority of the synthetic materials;
  • Neutral effect on user's health;
  • Can last an entire lifetime and/or is bio-degradable when it ceases to be used/maintained;
  • Remarkable and sought-after aging qualities, like the "caramelization" of the color, a unique patina acquired with the use;
  • Reusability of the final product and in some cases of the leather;
  • Created by craftsmen with a historic and valuable knowledge;
  • It can only be obtained from cattle that carried a good life, to get a good, strong leather, and it is always a sub-product of the meat industry;
  • Values a slower life and an eco-sustainable industry;
  • Revitalizes the local society and general culture.
By choosing vegetable-tanned leather goods you will be doing a responsible choice. Our leather goods are crafted to last a lifetime as long as you use and maintain your product, you consume less and will be diminishing your footprint on the environment. You will be acquiring a natural canvas to record your life experiences.