What is Shell Cordovan and why is it so expensive?
This style of leather was first produced way back in the 7th century! It’s derived from a single are on a horse (the rump) and comes in 2 round cuts which is how it got the name Shell. The Visigoths from the area of Cordoba Spain are the pioneers of this style which is where the second part of this name comes from (Cordovan). It’s become extremely popular in the 19th and 20th centuries due to it’s look and high durability. It comes from beneath the hide and is comprised of very dense flat connective tissue which gives it the unique characteristics of being smooth and non-creasing. Shell Cordovan also has much smaller pores that typical leather which makes it less permeable to water, essentially water resistant!
So it’s super old and super strong, but why so expensive?
Well remember this comes from a very small part of the horse, the rump or butt area. That’s really not a large piece of hide when compared to an entire cow hide. So each piece is already very small and as such there’s very few tanneries that actually produce this beautiful leather. Furthermore, the process of tanning this leather is very intricate and in some cases takes up to 6 months to end up with the unique look and feel. You start with a small piece of leather, then move to the fact that only a handful of places in the world produce this hide, and then it takes many weeks to finish and that is what makes it extremely rare and commands the higher price.
Overall Length: 6-5/8"