Leathers are graded by the size, location, and severity of the natural blemishes that are a part of all hides. Nearly perfect, mark-free hides are rare and prized. Most aniline leathers will have visible markings, such as wrinkles and scars. These leathers will develop a beautiful lustrous patina with age and use.
When choosing leather, look for top grain leather, which comes from the desirable outer surface of the hide. Leather taken from the inner surfaces is split grain, which is much weaker. Keep in mind that added finishes and surface pigments aren’t necessarily bad.
In addition to lowering the cost, they also increase the uniformity of the color and provide superior resistance to fading, scratches, and stains.