What is Patina?

You might have heard the phrase in an art history class, read it in article, or even heard a friend use it describing her shoes: patina. It’s the term people use to describe what happens to an object over time. Patina has an especially beautiful effect on leather and wood—which means that your Moto X and Moto 360 become more beautiful over time.

So we turned to an expert to learn more—Nick Horween, CEO of Horween Leathers, whose family has worked in leather for generations and provides the leather for our products.
Though many different types of material patina, leather has a particular beauty when it ages.
“Horween leathers are vegetable-tanned leathers,” he said. “That means they are cured by tree barks. Because of that, the leather is very accepting of the environment: sunlight, oils, waters. Since all our leathers have an aniline finish – which means there are no pigments – nothing gets in the way of it interacting with the environment. That lets the leather patina pretty quickly.”
Just as important is how you handle the leather. The way you touch and hold your phone, how it rubs against your pocket or when you expose it to light – all these things affect the patina. A tobacco-colored piece of leather might develop a caramel shine while black leather takes on highlights that give the leather visual depth.
To treat your leather well, be careful not to overexpose your leather. Too much sunlight can actually be harmful so leaving your Moto X baking in the sun at the beach or on the dashboard is definitely not a good idea. And moisture can lead to issues like mold so be very careful to dry your back and front if moisture does get on the phone. No need to worry about special cleaners, just wipe down with damp cloth when needed.
This is good news for people looking to develop a patina on their phone in short order. But, as Horween is quick to add, there are no short cuts. “The best you can do is just to use it.”

Photo Credit: Kevin Flynn

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