Handmade leather bags: 3 details to always check!

Leather bags are the best there are. If they are handmade, then they are even better. There are many shops that sell them with different prices but, do we truly know how to recognise them so that you get your money’s worth? Here we give you three tips to be sure that you are buying a first-quality product.

1) Above sight, use smell and touch!

Let’s start with the most important thing: leather bags, handmade or not, can be identified by their smell! Even the laymen among us will be thrown back by the characteristic leather smell while entering a shop with leather products. This odour which is hard to describe is well-known to all.

Leather bags are never odourless and definitely don’t smell of plastic. They give off a pungent smell which might be more or less pleasant, but which always guarantees authenticity!

After this first test, go ahead and touch the bag. True leather is soft and malleable and gives way under the pressure of our fingers, forming small creases which can be hardly imitated by synthetic materials, in which they disappear once the pressure is lifted.

2) Have a close look at the bag, even inside!

Leather bags, specially handmade ones, are all different. Even apparently identical models present small variations. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Leather, being a natural fabric, can never be perfectly homogeneous, and it will be easy to notice small differences in tone and colour, not only between different bags, but also within the same product: these are small defects that guarantee the genuineness of materials used.
  • Handmade bags, as the name indicates, are not the result of an assembly line, but rather of an artisan’s labour. It is impossible for an artisan to produce identical items. This means that each product is slightly different and, thus, unique. This is an added value, especially in a world where nearly everything is mass-produced.

That said, never forget to look closely at the inside of the bags or close to the stitching. Genuine leather has two sides (a “front” and “back”), but, in the case of fake leather, the inner side usually is replaced with a fabric very similar to a “retina”, easy to see in bags with no lining or by looking at the edges of the seams.

3) Look for the label!

After examining all the details mentioned above, the last thing to check to guarantee our bag is made of leather is the label. This should say:

  • Genuine leather (maybe including piece of material from which the product was made of). This guarantees that the material used is not the result of scraps of leather mechanically treated and then transformed into sheets.
  • Made in Italy: this term, by law, may only be used provided that at least two of the principal production phases were performed in Italy, respecting its quality standards.

The labels of handmade bags of the highest quality will say “full-grain leather”. This indication is present only in products made with leather whose surface has not been treated to eliminate the top layer and whose grain has remained intact.

These are all tips on paper. The real test will be given with time, because leather bags, handmade bags, good quality bags, last truly a lifetime. Furthermore, they improve with time, much like those ladies, a little aged, who continue to maintain an innate elegance which is difficult to describe!

Bags&Fruits: the true handmade store just a short walk from Campo dei Fiori!

You will find a truly special shop in Via dei Giubbonari 106. Truly particular because of the colours that populate its window and its interior, the bags and shoes exposed in fruit boxes and the staff’s friendliness.

Peruse the shelves, look around, “sniff” and touch our products and choose what best suits you. All of our creations are:

  • Made in Italy
  • Handmade
  • Made from natural, first-quality materials

At Bags&Fruits you will never find two identical bags: each product is unique because it is the result of the experience and fantasy of our designers and artisans. You can even order custom products!

Visit our Virtual Shop, and chat in real time with your shopper: he will advise you for the best, spending whatever you wish at your home!


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Come and pay us a visit. We are in Via dei Giubbonari 106, a stone’s throw away from Campo de ‘Fiori, open every day from 10:00 to 20:00 (Sundays from 11:30 onwards). We promise you will not regret it.


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