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Top Grain Leather

Top-grain leather has been sanded, buffed, or snuffed  to remove imperfections (or natural marks) on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing the fiber strength and durability.

The next best to full grain leather and second strongest leather is called "top-grain" leather. Top grain leather is similar to full-grain leather, except that the top couple millimeters have been sanded and buffed to take away imperfections. With the top layer removed, the leather will have a more uniform finish, but it won't be as durable—and it will break down much faster. This is more of a "cookie cutter" leather that most leather wallets and handbags are made of, which lends to their generic appearance. Top-grain leather can be good leather, but its strength and durability is not even close to the strength of full-grain leather.

Top-grain leather is the grade of leather you'll find in "fine" leather goods and is the middle-of-the-road quality of leather. It's used in the vast majority of purses for women as well as small leather goods for men like wallets that are sold by well-known designer brands.

It's made by splitting a piece of full-grain leather and sanding away any imperfections in the hide and stamping a fake grain on it. Usually, it's then treated and colored to provide a completely uniform look.  It will not age well with use, and will end up looking old and worn after a time.

This finish of leather is great, however, if you don't care as much about durability and more about the color of your leather item, or its resistance to stain.