In some previous posts, we’ve covered the emergence of metal-free tanning in the exotic leather industry—what it is, how it differs from chrome-based tanning, and its current status in the industry.
Some tanneries are starting to carry vegetable-tanned exotic skins to not only have an eco-friendlier tanning option, but to give their customers more variety.
Pan American Leathers is introducing its own metal-free exotic skins for high-end designers to choose from!
The Arapaima is a species of fish native to the Amazon basin in South America. A large (up to 9 feet) freshwater fish, the Arapaima thrives in the same waters as the infamous piranha. Residents of the Amazon both catch and farm these huge, 400+ lb. fish for their meat.
To resist the carnivorous tendencies of the piranha, the Arapaima developed a very unique hide. Each of the scales on the Arapaima’s skin has two layers: a soft, shock-absorbing collagen layer, and a hard, mineral-rich surface layer.
This natural armor gives Arapaima skin a unique combination of durability and flexibility when tanned. Also, as a byproduct of the food industry, the harvesting of skins has little to no impact on the Arapaima population. Combine this with the reduced ecological impact of vegetable tanning, and the Arapaima becomes one of the most eco-conscious exotic leather options on the market!
Pan Am’s other chrome-free exotic leather option is salmon skin. Salmon is a popular type of fish used in the food industry—and the term can refer to a large variety of fish species in the Genus Oncorhynchus (source: PBS Nature).
Because the term “salmon” refers to many different species of migratory fish that live in the ocean and breed in freshwater environments, the size and characteristics of a salmon might vary greatly from one to the next. For example, as pointed out in the PBS Nature article, “the length of a mature salmon can range from between 20 inches to almost 5 feet. Adult salmon can weigh anywhere between 3 lbs to over 100 lbs.”
The specific skins that Pan Am uses are from a species of salmon that is roughly 30” long and 5” wide at its widest point (3” wide at the narrowest point). At this size, salmon skin can be useful for belts and other accessories.
Pan American Leathers is working to perfect the metal-free tanning process for other kinds of exotic skins as well. At the time of this writing, two of the veg-tan skins Pan Am is planning to introduce soon are:
- Small Farmed Alligator Skin
- Weinheimer Olivvia Calf Skin
Pan Am is constantly working to perfect the process for tanning and supplying the right leathers to clients—so you can look forward to these and other metal-free leathers at some point in the future! Contact Pan American Leathers today for more information!