DIFFERENT TYPES OF REAL LEATHERS


FULL GRAIN VS TOP GRAIN VS GENUINE LEATHER
The term Leather is being used by marketers in many different forms, simply to upmarket certain products and at times to differentiate truly valued products too. In fact even Synthetic materials get the additional term of Leather to fall into a similar category to premium Real Leather products.
 
What is Real Leather?
Leather has been in existence for almost as long as humans civilisations, since Leather was first used as clothing in harsh weather conditions. The origin of Leather has always been Animal skins which are processed in order to prolong their shelf life for practical usage such as clothes, shoes and other products.
As human choices started getting more diverse in terms of fashion; Leather was consequently processed in different ways such as various colours, textures, softness etc; these processes give Leather different characteristics and lead to various categories of Real Leather. 
The two main processes that result in the categories is the 'Splitting' of the Leather through its cross-section to separate the top (grain) layer and the lower layer (suede); and the other process is the 'Finishing' on the top grain of the leather to give it more shine or a different colour or effect.
Real Leather vs Fake Leather - Different types of Real Leather
We have compiled the most basic differentiation for you to understand future purchases of Premium Leather Goods, as they fall into three main categories:

FULL GRAIN LEATHER
This is the most highly valued and the most premium type of Leather. It is also the least used since this type of Leather is not easy to make, and also to find raw materials best suited for its process.
Full Grain Leather is defined by being the most natural Leather since it has almost no top 'Finishing' so that the Leather retains its Natural Grainy texture. 
The best way to understand this is by recognizing the Grain pattern in the Leather Product would be uneven, such as the grain of the leather may appear to be more bold at some parts and maybe barely visible in other parts of the same product. 
Full Grain Leathers are also 'Split' less than the other types of leathers. Leathers that are heavily Split, also result in long term weakness in terms of strength and durability.
Full Grain Leathers are used only in Premium Leather Products, sinc ethey are the highest quality and thereby most expensive too.
TOP GRAIN LEATHERS
It is most difficult to differentiate between Full Grain and Top Grain Leathers, as they look very similar from the layman's perspective. Top Grain Leathers may not be the best quality like the Full Grain Leathers but they are also used to make good quality products. 
Top Grain Leathers have a slight 'Finishing' coat on top, but it's enough to cover the natural grain of the Leather and thereby also change the look of the Leather significantly.
Top Grain Leathers also get their name from the process of 'Splitting', since it is the Top part of the Leather that is processed further. The bottom Part that comes out is then used as Suede, which is a different type of Leather altogether.
Products made from Top Grain Leathers are high quality products, but more common in comparison to Full Grain leathers.
GENUINE LEATHERS
This is the most common type of Leathers used in most products. As a term, Genuine Leather is used to describe all kinds of Leathers. In fact even Full Grain and Top Grain Leathers come under the umbrella of Genuine Leathers, but they have been given separate categories to differentiate higher quality of Leathers from the rest.
Genuine Leathers have heavy 'Finishing' and also undergo 'Splitting' to a large extent. Genuine Leather is a term written on many products and its main use is to differentiate any Real Leather from Synthetic/ Fake Leathers.
The below table summarizes some of the differences of the different Leather mentioned above:
  Top Grain  Full Grain Genuine Leathers
Quality High Medium Low
Cost High  Medium  Low
Durability High Medium Low
Care High Medium Low
Aesthetic Natural Semi-Natural Unnatural (Finished)