A common question we get asked and a very hot topic of debate is: does the country a cowhide comes from really matter? The short answer is: YES! Absolutely!
Known in the industry as the universal standard for the highest quality cowhides, Brazilian rugs firmly hold the crown for being the best cowhides money can buy. Though more expensive, you really do get what you pay for.
The Tanning Process
One of the most important aspects of making a quality cowhide rug is the tanning process used. All of our Brazilian cowhides use what is called the chrome tanning process that is an extensive, multi step process taking hours upon hours from start to finish.
Brazilian tanneries are known to tan hides for periods of up to 8 or more hours at a time to ensure that the hide is completely durable, doesn't curl, doesn't smell, and stays looking new for years at a time.
Pictured here is one of our Saddlemark Brazilian Cowhide Rugs
Our Saddlemark line of Brazilian cowhides undergo a strict screening process before being given the company seal of approval. We like to work with Saddlemark due to the fact that every cowhide is carefully hand selected (over 80% get rejected!).
Due to the climate and tanning process used in Brazilian tanneries, hides from this region are naturally more thick, supple, and much less prone to curling due to the extra thickness of the leather.
Brazilian tanneries have mastered the art of shaping the hides during the tanning process. Brazil, known as the universal standard in quality for the cowhide industry, has developed a method of cutting and trimming every single hide to the perfect shape that you see in so many pictures and decor magazines.
While Brazilian cowhide rugs are the crème de la crème of what quality standards should be, many customers aren't enticed by the generally higher price points.
Non-Brazilian European Tanned Hides Price Points
European hides are almost always at a cheaper price point that can appeal to many customers that are interested in price while still maintaining a high level of quality.
While Brazilian rugs have a noticeably higher quality overall, European cowhides are not completely inferior. The tanning process is also very similar which is the industry standard for quality, chromium tanning.
European cowhides are also going to look different than Brazilian hides. The European breeds can often be better looking than Brazilian! However, European hides will be noticeably more thin than their Brazilian counterparts.
Another difference is the overall feeling of the hides are generally not as soft and supple as their Brazilian made counterparts but this is not to say that they are not a quality product as well.
In the end, when choosing a cowhide rug for your home, you really do get what you pay for. While Brazilian hides are noticeably superior due to their tanning, geographic location, and durability, many customers may be discouraged by the overall higher price points.
European hides are a great alternative for a still high quality product with a price point that suits most consumers while still adding a great overall feeling to their homes.