Please educate me about ostrich bumps

Iwantaspybag

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I have done a search on ostrich skins but have not found the answer to my specific question. I am puzzled by the variation in what the bumps look like.

1. I want to know about the variation in how high the bumps stand up from the skin. Below are posted 3 pictures, low bumps, high bumps, and medium bumps. What causes this?

2. Some bumps look like concentric circles-a ring within a ring. This makes it look more authentic to me because there is so much variation, it couldn't possibly be embossed. Do some authentic ostrich not have the double rings? Why?

3. From my reading, I have learned that the area around the neck has the most feathers and the most dense bumps and is highest in value. What else influences ostrich value besides condition (not old and cracked) and obviously the designer. The question is limited to variations in skin that influence value.

4. Are there various types of ostrich like there are various types of croc?

Thank you.
 

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papertiger

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I think you possibly know more than me.

My understanding is that preparing the leather is a very lengthy and skilled process and the price paid for the skin grading is dependent on uniformity and the size of the neck and back area, the 'bumps' size and character dependent on the age of the bird, other areas including leg leather are of course secondary . Even the texture of ostrich leather without the markings is different to most others and it's one of the few exotics that can tolerate rain (lucky, 'cos I have a Prada ostrich jacket) but stains horribly from oils and takes up dye well initially but is often unstable and can fade and for that reason I always go for natural shades like tans and browns.

So far as I know there is only one type of ostrich (African) as far as I know. Croc types have developed depending which they originate but ostriches that live anywhere other than Africa are imported.
 

Iwantaspybag

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the 'bumps' size and character dependent on the age of the bird
Hmm. That makes sense. It seems obvious after you say it.

but stains horribly from oils and takes up dye well initially but is often unstable
Do you mean body oils? Will the handles get yucky from normal carrying?

Can you describe the color instability more. In Bals, the color change seems desirable and expected. Also with the untreated Fendi leather. I take it that this ostrich color instability is not attractive. Does it get blotchy? washed out looking? fade at the edges or seams?


. Even the texture of ostrich leather without the markings is different to most others
Can you explain about how the texture is different? I clearly need to go feel some ostrich instead of just looking at pictures.

I bet your jacket is spectacular. Any more information you would be willing to share about what the experience of owning it, maintaining it, or wearing it are like?

Thank you very much for your observations.
 

Morisa

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1. I want to know about the variation in how high the bumps stand up from the skin. Below are posted 3 pictures, low bumps, high bumps, and medium bumps. What causes this?

2. Some bumps look like concentric circles-a ring within a ring. This makes it look more authentic to me because there is so much variation, it couldn't possibly be embossed. Do some authentic ostrich not have the double rings? Why?

3. From my reading, I have learned that the area around the neck has the most feathers and the most dense bumps and is highest in value. What else influences ostrich value besides condition (not old and cracked) and obviously the designer. The question is limited to variations in skin that influence value.

4. Are there various types of ostrich like there are various types of croc?

Thank you.
OK, I am by no means an expert on this, but this is my understanding from researching around:

1. The size/development of the bumps (likely) depends on the stage of quill follicle development. So the more mature the quill follicle, the higher the bump. See the section entitled "Quill Development" in the link referenced in [3].

2. This may depend on the type of ostrich. See [4].

3. You may want to read about the Ostrich leather grading rubic, which can be found here: http://www.world-ostrich.org/woaleather.htm (the PDF is an easier read than the webpage). Hair roots and vein marks seem to be a factor.

4. Wikipedia suggests that there are different "strains" of ostrich, and that the ones known as the "African Black" are the most valuable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostrich_leather
 

Iwantaspybag

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OK, I am by no means an expert on this, but this is my understanding from researching around:
3. You may want to read about the Ostrich leather grading rubic, which can be found here: http://www.world-ostrich.org/woaleather.htm (the PDF is an easier read than the webpage). Hair roots and vein marks seem to be a factor.
Morisa You are a better researcher than I am.;) Thank you. I will delve into the grading guide. Do you have any first hand experience with ostrich?
 

Iwantaspybag

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Oh Morisa--that guide explain one curiousity - the concentric circles...it is a sunken quill and sort of sounds like not a good thing.

" Quill development
A ripe feather, when harvested, will leave a full-bodied round quill; this is the ideal. Green feather quills tend to be opened/flat/prolonged. A sunken quill is the opposite of a green feather and is a quill with no body and a distinctive hole in the centre. Extensive occurrence of under-developed quills in more than two quarters will be reason for a down-grade by one grade."

The words "opened" & "prolonged" have no meaning for me. I get flat--it is probably like picture number one.

I wonder if "full-bodied means" high like picture number 2.

The Hermes in 3 is probably the ideal, but I wonder about the high bumps in picture number 2. I find the high bumps a bit creepy.
 

papertiger

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Hmm. That makes sense. It seems obvious after you say it.


Do you mean body oils? Will the handles get yucky from normal carrying?

Can you describe the color instability more. In Bals, the color change seems desirable and expected. Also with the untreated Fendi leather. I take it that this ostrich color instability is not attractive. Does it get blotchy? washed out looking? fade at the edges or seams?


Can you explain about how the texture is different? I clearly need to go feel some ostrich instead of just looking at pictures.

I bet your jacket is spectacular. Any more information you would be willing to share about what the experience of owning it, maintaining it, or wearing it are like?

Thank you very much for your observations.
Even the normal oils from carrying on the handles of a bag can stain irreversibly, the lighter the colour the more obvious the staining. Wearing 'twillys' or scarves tied over handles is more than cosmetic for ostrich bags.

Ostrich leather is difficult describe but usually slightly thicker and 'spongy' in texture, it undulates but doesn't sag used on bigger bags but can hold it's shape excellently on rigid structured bags. I have a large ostrich travel bag and a vintage (north-south) framed bag and the skin perfectly suited to both.

I don't touch my ostrich bags or jacket myself since most conditioners contain oil/fat-based emollients. I would be worried about dark patches developing even if I had applied whatever preparation evenly.

My Prada jacket is 10 years old BTW and doing very well no problems at all yet but I think the colour has darkened a shade or 2 in that time as most leather would exposed to the elements. It's a tailored style with no collar and works very well in the skin. One of the best leathers for bags IMO, I would be happy to purchase another from my experience.
 

Morisa

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Morisa You are a better researcher than I am.;) Thank you. I will delve into the grading guide. Do you have any first hand experience with ostrich?
Also, regarding factors affecting the value of ostrich, the World Ostrich Association also has a handbook on valuing ostrich, but it's not free (see http://www.world-ostrich.org/valueost.htm). Not sure if you think it's worth paying the £12.50 for a copy.

Gleni has a short PDF about ostrich leather which seems to confirm my earlier remarks about the quill follicles. What's interesting though, is that the Gleni PDF file says that an adult ostrich has the same number of follicles as a young ostrich. So it really does come down to the age of the ostrich. PDF file at www.gleni.it/handbags/ostrich.pdf

My own experience with ostrich is very limited, in part because I'm not really a fan of the "bumpy" look. (It makes me want to take a crayon imprint of it, for some reason. Like put a piece of paper over it and rub crayon all over the paper.) But I do own a mulberry wallet with ostrich leather, and it has held up extremely well. The bumpy texture makes it really easy to find in my purse when I stick my hand in. :smile:
 

Iwantaspybag

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I don't touch my ostrich bags or jacket myself since most conditioners contain oil/fat-based emollients.
What brand of conditioner do you use on your ostrich?
I will definitely keep in mind your observations about oil when I evaluate handles.

My own experience with ostrich is very limited, in part because I'm not really a fan of the "bumpy" look.
I know what you mean. I feel like Goldilocks as in "this porridge is to hot" and "this porridge is too cold."

I am longing for a gray ostrich bag. I don't know why. I like shade of gray and the style and the price of number 2, but I as I let my reaction to it seep in, I think the height of the bumps is making me uncomfortable.

If I end up getting one that is either very bumpy or very flat, I want to know if people are going to turn their nose up at it. If I pick something that is not well regarded, I want to know it in advance so I have no regrets.
 

Iwantaspybag

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Ostrich leather is difficult describe but usually slightly thicker and 'spongy' in texture, it undulates but doesn't sag used on bigger bags but can hold it's shape excellently on rigid structured bags.


I have been pondering your observations on ostrich working well on rigid structured bags. It explains to me why these two beautiful bags didn't seem right for me--not that either one is in the coming years budget.

It was the Marc Jacobs that sent me on a quest for a gray ostrich bag. I loved it at first sight, but the longer (months longer) I looked at it I became uncomfortable with the way the structure collapses at the bottom on both sides.

The Gucci (not that I am planning to go to Paris to get one) started to bother me because of the trim on each corner. It is probably there to deal with the structure issue, but it gives the bag a more causal look than I want.
 

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papertiger

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^

Because of the initial outlay of these pieces I would advise utilising either MJ or Guccis After-Care service and ask them to spa the bag every couple of years (once a year if you use it often).

Ostrich is my favourite leather (even though I have more python and croc). I have never felt uncomfortable with the markings, for me its just like veining of some calf leather, or the way the hair grows on springbok.

Shoulder bags do make better sense with ostrich and I wouldn't say that someone would have to wear gloves or wrap the handles every time worn but the handles will darken over time with a hand held bag unless precautions are taken. For some people there is a resale consideration and darkened handles can seriously effect the pre-loved price.

Most premier designers will choose and temper skins that suit the model they have in mind. Check out the video, making of an ostrich New Jackie http://www.gucci.com/uk/worldofgucci/articles/new-jackie-display.

The only thing that puts me off very slightly about the MJ is the shine - I like my ostrich semi matte to begin with and let it develop its own sheen with wear (like matte croc) .

You (like me) would probably prefer the flatter Gucci Bouvier bag unfortunately they are not available ATM but look at the Gucci original Jackies which are available for the Holliday Collection in ostrich (but I have only seen purple and pink) and if you like the shape better than the New Jackie, wait 'till Summer stock comes in, possibly they might have a grey (?).

Having said that I prefer the Bouvier, this New Jackie is AMAZING and you should see it IRL :graucho:

 

tae

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Thanks for the info papertiger and Morisa!

Iwantaspybag; This is an interesting thread as I'm waiting for my first ostrich bag. I believe the hight of the bumps are also defined by the hammering technique that some brands use (the bumps are flattened by a hammer). Hermes is known for their outstanding skills in this technique, while other brands apparently do not use it.
In the Hermes section there's a very interesting thread 'hammering the ostrich' (sorry; don't know how to make a link), but you can easily find it.
 

Iwantaspybag

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Found the Hammering the ostrich thread. Wouldn't recommend reading it unless you want to hear ostrich torture stores--that may or may not be urban legends.

http://forum.purseblog.com/hermes/hammering-the-ostrich-37598.html

The thread really answered my question about bump height. It has to do with the way the leather is processed. From this thread is sounds like only some Hermes have flattened bumps and most other designers don't bother to flatten the bumps. It sounds like the hammered Hermes ostrich leathers are smooth to the touch.

This was helpful to me in my gut reaction that high bumps are not so good.
 

tae

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Found the Hammering the ostrich thread. Wouldn't recommend reading it unless you want to hear ostrich torture stores--that may or may not be urban legends.

http://forum.purseblog.com/hermes/hammering-the-ostrich-37598.html

The thread really answered my question about bump height. It has to do with the way the leather is processed. From this thread is sounds like only some Hermes have flattened bumps and most other designers don't bother to flatten the bumps. It sounds like the hammered Hermes ostrich leathers are smooth to the touch.

This was helpful to me in my gut reaction that high bumps are not so good.
Yes, I agree; while some ostrich skins really scare me because of the high bumps, Hermes ostrich (and a few other brands that do it 'right') is simply gorgeous IMO.