The Heritage of Russian Calf

Discover the story behind Russian calf, the material out of which the pre-order Bontoni monks will be made.

These monks are truly a unique pair. Not only the meticulous make, but also the leather has an amazing story behind it. Indeed, these single monks are made of Russian grain. Once an important export product in times of the Russian empire, reindeer hides were a beloved material for boots and bags used by the military. The so-called ‘Russian reindeer’ hides were oak bark tanned and then impregnated with birch oil to repel insects and to make them particularly hard-wearing. Also, the skins had a typical natural hatch-grain structure to them. After the Revolution in 1917, the production of Russian reindeer leather was shut down, and it was not before the discovery of a ship wreck off the English coast in 1973 that original Russian reindeer leather was brought to light after having been covered in mud for almost 200 years. Naturally, this batch was precious and only the most exclusive of leather goods were produced with it. Some specialist tanneries have inspected the leather and learned how to reproduce it, this is now known as ‘Russian grain’ or ‘Russian calf’. Made from calf skins nowadays, it is a tough piece of leather with a hand embossed hatch grain texture that will age beautifully into a rich whiskey coloured shade. We believe that the artisans over at Bontoni have embodied the heritage of the material beautifully into this pair of monks. 

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