Crocodile, Alligator, and Caiman Leather Which Is Better?

  Most consumers cannot tell the difference between crocodile leather, alligator leather, and caiman leather when it comes to purchasing high-end luxury items. This is a daunting task for the untrained eye – if you want to distinguish between the three, you should first understand the difference in market value:


  Alligator and Crocodile have significantly higher market value than caiman skin with Alligator commanding the highest prices. This is due to their strength and availability, you will find that alligator and crocodile are true luxury goods while Caiman leather, even though its a genuine leather and similar in appearance (thus its appeal in lower budget markets), it has significantly lower value and significantly lower durability.

  It is very important to distinguish between these when purchasing high-end consumer goods like handbags, purses, wallets, belts, etc. to avoid purchasing an inferior product at a premium cost. Sometimes dishonest salesman and exporters will claim that their products are genuine Crocodile leather, only to find out later that what they have actually purchased is a much cheaper Caiman skin product.

crocodile and alligator handbag

  The biggest difference between Caiman and Alligator or Crocodile leather is that the Caiman leather is not near as durable. A Caiman fuscus crocodile have small bony plates – if you bend the leather across these plates you will see that the leather creases between the scales. While the skin is still pliable and very strong, these thick scales are the telltale signs that you have Caiman leather. A proper Alligator or Crocodile hide will not have these bony scales. A saltwater crocodile (such as the Nile Crocodile) and the American Alligator skins will have smoother, seamless bend without any spaces between the scales.

  Note also that between Crocodile and Alligator that a genuine Alligator hide likely comes from the Southern United States and will feature an umbilical scar that is unique to the species.

  Generally speaking, alligator skin is much nicer, with more symmetrical scale patterns, with thicker and softer skin, and with a smoother and more three-dimensional feel than the typical crocodile skin. Though relatively rare, top quality skins from the Nile Crocodile and Australian Saltwater Crocodile are the equal, and in some ways better, than the best alligator. Caiman, the most common type of crocodile, is generally the least desirable leather.


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