A Comparison between Pearl and Metallic Leather

Glittering pearl and metallic leather colors are in high fashion. They can be found in clothing, accessories, handbags, and furnishings. Designers often ask us what the differences are between these two types of leather. While both have a special sparkle to add some flair to your designs, they are very different.

Pearl Leather

Pearl leather has a softer look and more subtle sheen than metallic leather. To achieve the pearl look, most pearl leathers have a liquid topcoat sprayed on the surface of the hide. We may add a pearl appearance to any of our existing semi-aniline products, including full hides of Shagarrett, by using this method.

In comparison, our Pearlessence leather has a specially formulated finish with a pearl additive. This combination pearl finish provides superior durability and increased water resistance. Pearlessence is available in full hide sizes averaging 55 to 60 square feet. It is suitable for any upholstery application, including high traffic areas. It is typically more durable than metallic leather.

Pearlessence: Copper, Silver, Gold, and Bronze


Metallic Leather

Metallic leather offers a bolder look and higher sheen with foil applications. There are many different styles of metallic leather, including foil transfer on suede, hair-on hides with foil, and full metallic leather.

One metallic trend is foil transfer on suede. Split suede is smaller than the more desirable grain layer. Split suede has a smoother surface, which makes it more difficult for the foil to adhere to the hide. As a result, foil transfer on suede tends to de-laminate and peel easily.

Another type of metallic leather is hair on hides. For example, we have different colors and styles of metallic hides in our Capelli Specialty collection. These hides consist of the fibrous grain layer, which allows the foil to adhere better for increased durability. They are also larger than suede. These hides are available in either whole or half hide sizes, depending on the pattern. We recommend Capelli Specialty for moderate to low traffic areas.

Capelli Specialty: Van Gogh Spiga Gold, Pandora Pearl, and Metallic Leopard

Finally, there’s full metallic leather. For example, our Jubilee collection is also made from the uppermost layer of the hide. Jubilee does not have a spray finish like Pearlessence. Instead, this leather has full foil coverage. After the hides are tanned and dyed, they receive a finishing basecoat as an adhesion resin. Then, we apply a foil application to the surface of the hides. Once the foil is secure in place, the final steps of production are milling and staking to increase softness and pliability. Due to the limited size of the foil, Jubilee is available in half hides only. We recommend Jubilee for most upholstery applications. It is a great option for outside seats and accent pieces, either smooth or embossed with a pattern.

Jubilee: Goldrush, Ultramarine, Pure Platinum, Black Diamond


You may add texture to both Pearlessence and Jubilee collections with embossing. We have over 30 Impress patterns from which to choose. Impress patterns are available in half hides only.

Pearlessence Copper with Impress Seashells

In addition, Jubilee Gem is embossed metallic leather. Made in Italy, Jubilee Gem is readily available for immediate shipment. The hides have an elegant pebble pattern, which mimics the appearance of sparkling gemstones as light reflects off the surface. Jubilee Gem is also available in half hides only. We recommend it for most upholstery applications.

Jubilee Gem: Goldrush, Iced Champagne, Ganache, Rose Gold, and Pure Platinum

Questions? Contact us!

If you have any questions regarding these or any other types of upholstery leather, please contact us. Our sales team and customer service department are happy to help you decide which leather is the best option for your next project.

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