You won’t be able to surprise anyone with a leather wallet. Even exotic leathers, which are not as widespread as, let’s say, cowhide, are not as exciting as they used to be. Crocodiles, ostriches, lizards, and snakes are no longer the ultimate delight. That being said, there is a type of leather that never disappoints. Its outstanding aesthetic properties make it indispensable for exquisite leather accessories while its durability and wearability are beyond praise. All of this is about stingray.
The History of Stingray Leather
Stingray skin is not a newcomer but it was poorly known before the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Stingray fishermen used to throw skins away as waste, since they were brittle and stiff. Tanning wasn’t yet developed at that time. Some skins were used in boat building since their rough surface made excellent sandpaper.
Japanese were the first to recognize the phenomenal strength and durability of tanned stingray leather. It became a perfect adornment for the hilts of samurai swords, katanas. The Han and Shogun samurai utilized raw skins to craft armor and wrap the handles of their swords since the bead-like texture ensured a secure grip. Their scabbards also featured this amazing leather.
Stingray leather was found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. The Victoria & Albert Museum (England) has an excellent collection of items made of this leather. Ancient Egyptians highly valued its resilience and decorative qualities; that’s why they considered it a felicitous material for armors and crafts alike.
In the second half of the 18th century, stingray leather got big in Europe. The French artisan Jean-Claude Galuchat utilized it for scabbards, wig boxes, and snuff boxes designed for King Louis XV. English artisan John Paul Cooper took the craft to a new level. From 1899 to 1933, his London workshop produced nearly 1,000 stingray leather items including vases, boxes of various purposes, candlesticks, frames, and much more.
The Art Deco period of the 1920s was the heyday of stingray leather. It could be seen everywhere from furniture to jewelry boxes. Today, this trend is going through revival courtesy of de-luxe furniture brands and fashion houses. Handbags, purses, wallets, belts, money clips, shoes, furniture – all of these items take advantage of the beautiful and resilient skin of stingrays.
Stingray Fashion of the 21st Century
Today, stingray skin is making a comeback in the world of fashion. No, it is not used as armor or gears anymore. This fashion is more peaceful and fancy. Whether you’re considering a stingray leather wallet or bag, it has so much to offer in terms of appearance and wearability.
Unlike cow skin, which features fibers parallel to each other, stingray leather’s fibers are intertwined. This results in incredible durability that is approximately – it is 25 times stronger than cowhide. Until recently, the tanning process was imperfect and produced tough and brittle products. Today, it is possible to obtain soft, textured leather without compromising its durability.
The highlight of stingray leather is the bony remnant of the dorsal fin. Occasionally referred to as stingray eye or stingray crown, it looks like a cluster of smaller beads encircling larger ones. This feature is 100% proof of leather authenticity. High-quality products try to display it in the most prominent place. Overall, the surface of stingray skin is shot with myriads of tiny pebbles or beads. Needless to say, this texture is a feast for the eye, especially in the sunlight when it starts sparkling like a scattering of gems.
With all its durability, stingray leather is surprisingly soft and easy to dye. This allows for a great many options color-wise. Of course, models in a stylish black finish are the most popular, but if you’re into something fancier, you won’t have a shortage of choices.
Along with that, stingray leather makes an excellent material for appliqués. Its shiny texture stands out no matter which leather it is combined with. It doesn’t have to be of a different color because these attractive beads make a difference.
Which Stingray Wallet to Choose
Although stingray wallets provide multiple sizes and designs, we recommend sticking to long wallets. Bi-folds and tri-folds are fine if you require something compact, but they fail to showcase the natural beaded texture in all its glory let alone demonstrate the signature stingray eye. A long wallet, although you won’t be able to shove it in a pocket, provides a more generous canvas to boast the unique appeal of the skin of unique marine creatures.
Bottom line, stingray wallets are a blend of style and function. They grant everything you’d like to have in your leather accessory for money. Stingray goods aren’t even that expensive (our tip is to buy them from countries known for stingray farming). A wallet that will serve you for decades is always an excellent investment.