Exotic Leather Blog

How to Measure and Grade Shark Skin

Posted by Abram Mendal on May 20, 2019, 12:54:47 PM

In a recent post, we discussed the origin of the blue shark skin that PanAm Leathers uses for its shark skin offering. The blue shark, or prionace glauca, is a widespread shark species that can be found in almost any ocean (except for the Arctic Ocean). PanAm Leathers’ shark skin comes from sources in the fishing industry, as a byproduct of blue sharks that have been fished for their meat.

One of the most important things to know about any type of exotic leather is how to measure and grade that type of leather—as well as how best to use each of the individual grades of skin. To help you find the best shark hides for your needs, here’s a quick guide on how to measure and grade shark skin: 

Measuring Shark Skin

Shark Skin Matte CognacTypically, a shark skin is measured in square feet by a machine. They range from 3 to 7 square feet, with a 4 square foot average total. Of course, these skins aren’t perfect squares. They are an imperfect diamond shape with a hole in the center and towards the back where the fins were. Like many other exotic leather products, shark skin tapers from one end to the other. When measuring shark skin, they tend to be around 30 inches long and 20 inches wide at their widest point.

How to Grade Shark Skin

Shark skin, like many other exotic leathers, is separated into four distinct grades based on how pristine the skin is. Grading is done on two different sections of the shark skin—the section above the largest fin hole in the center of the skin and the section below said hole.

The more scratches, scuffs and scars the skin has, the lower its grade. Here are the four grades of shark skin:

  • Grade 1 shark skin. These skins are free of any significant defects in the center of the two main sections. Grade 1 is very rare because shark skin is collected from wild sources instead of farms.
  • Grade 2 shark skin. A grade 2 shark hide will have a small defect or cluster of defects in one half of one section of the skin. These defects can usually be worked around with ease.
  • Grade 3 shark skin. These shark leathers will have a small defect or defect cluster appearing on two halves of either main section of the shark skin.
  • Grade 4 shark skin. The shark hide has multiple defects in both sections of the hide—worse than grade 3 shark skin.

The majority of defects take the form of scars, scrapes, scratches and holes.

Because these hides are taken from wild sharks that are hunted for their meat, grade 1 and 2 shark skin is comparatively rare. Grade 3 and 4 shark skin are much more common.

Want to learn more about exotic leathers such as shark skin? Reach out to Pan American Leathers today!

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Topics: exotic skin grades, shark skin