Leather, Dyeing and Finishing

At Colville Leather we endeavour to explore natural dyeing methods for the leather we use but to allow us to offer a range of colours we also use some oil based dyes and pre dyed leathers.  

Waxy 'Pull Up' Leather

This leather is treated with oils and waxes producing an amazing "pull up" effect which lightens in colour when folded or turned. The natural grain of the leather is left intact which allows growth marks and scars to show through giving this leather a beautifully aged look.


When the hides arrive with Colville Leather they arrive un-treated.  We believe that this ‘natural’ colouration does not have to be routinely altered. Rather than being dyed, the leather is treated only with olive oil (to replace the oils which may be removed when the product is being handled during the making process) and custom made conditioner (comprising of olive oil and beeswax). This treatment results in a colouration which is not far from that of the hide when it arrived with us. It also allows the leather to interact with its environment meaning that over time, your product will age and acquire a beautiful unique patina.  The colour of the leather will, however, alter and deepen over time as it matures. The leather will darken the more it is exposed to sunlight. 

We strongly advise keeping your product away from water - whilst there is no dye to rub off, and the conditioner will offer some protection, your accessory is likely to water mark.

Walnut Brown 

Our brown dye is derived from black walnut husks. When applied to the hide it creates a beautiful mottled effect which highlights the natural markings of the leather. The nature of this dye means that it will take differently to every hide and colouration will vary across the leather on the same hide. 

We are confident that our brown dye is colourfast where your accessory is treated in accordance with our care instructions. We strongly advise that you keep your accessory away from water because cannot guarantee the dye will remain colourfast if the leather becomes wet - if you drop your wallet into a puddle please don’t dry it using your white shirt!

Due to the nature of the products and dyes used, no two pieces will ever be the same. Each item is distinctive in it’s colouration, and each will change and grow with its owner, creating a patina that is unique to you.

Oil Dyes

To offer a wider range of colour options Fiebings Professional oil dyes will be used. These dyes give the leather a more uniform colour but they still allow the natural markings of the leather to show through. Because each product is custom dyed they will all be slightly different in their appearance. Once dyed, to protect against moisture the product is finished using our custom made conditioner (comprising of olive oil and beeswax).

Finishing Process

Cutting, dyeing, wetting, and stamping can remove some of the natural oils that are present in the leather. For this reason, once your accessory has been created it will be treated with olive oil to restore what has been lost in the making process. Your accessory will then be treated and finished with a custom made conditioner (a mix of olive oil and beeswax). Unlike other conditioners, ours will allow the leather to interact with its environment, meaning that as your item ages its colouration will deepen and it will mature in appearance.

To look after your product we recommend treating it with a very small amount of olive oil, mink oil, Neatsfoot oil or natural leather conditioner every six months to a year. You can do this by gently rubbing the oil or conditioner into your leather accessory with a lint free cloth. If you wish to speed up the ageing process of the leather, you can treat more regularly (every 3-5 months), but be aware that the process is irreversible! 

The picture below shows the ageing process of the leather. On the left is a freshly made Natural coloured Bi-Fold Wallet. On the right is the same wallet but with 6 months of heavy use. This is the natural patina that the leather acquire's over time. Each and every wallet will change differently depending on it’s owner and how it is used.

Due to the nature of leather, we cannot guarantee that any of the pre-dyed or hand dyed leathers will not be subject to dye rub off. If you want to be 100% certain this won’t happen then we recommend a product using the natural leather as this contains no dye.