Il Ponte tannery and vegetable tanning
Even today, despite the fact that millennia have passed, vegetable tanning remains the most traditional and recognizable, as well as the closest to nature, the most ecologically friendly, and the most suitable for combining recognizable aesthetics, versatility of use, and product uniqueness.
With vegetable tanning, nature has found a way to combine with nature itself, as the leather protein receives the action of the active ingredient of tannin, transforming into leather. This substance is found numerous types of trees and plants and can be found in both peel and leaves, both wood and bark, but also in fruits and roots. The most common ones used in vegetable tanning are derived from quebracho, chestnut, mimosa, tara, gambier, sumac, oak, myrobalan, and so on. It is these plant derivatives that give tanned leather that unique characteristic that makes it so distinctive, immediately distinguishable from other types of conce: in fact, the tannin dyes give warm tones over time, which tend to resurface with use.
If vegetable tanning has its origins in Prehistory and in Tuscany-between the provinces of Florence and Pisa-it has known its heyday, this is still the only Italian district that produces vegetable-tanned leather of the highest quality. And among the companies producing it at the highest level is Conceria Il Ponte s.r.l. of the Squarcini family, now in its third generation.
Founded in 1961, it takes its name from the historic Medici bridge, the symbol of Ponte a Cappiano (Florence), where the plant is located and in which the fundamental stages of tanning take place, making the leathers 100% "Made in Tuscany." The company's flagship leather is the classic "vacchetta," which boasts lasting value and beauty and is perfect for footwear, leather goods, belts and accessories. Careful study of trends and the market enables the Tannery to offer a range of ever-new items and colors for each collection, which are highly successful among the big fashion brands.
In addition, Tannery Il Ponte is a member of the Genuine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium, which guarantees that all the basic requirements for producing a vegetable-tanned leather are met (from the use of natural tanning tannins, to natural oils to grease the hides, from water control to drying times) and allows its customers to request, at the time of ordering, product guarantee tags, which certify that the leather is tanned with vegetable extracts (quebracho and mimosa), a factor that definitely brings added value. The special mark guarantees the absence of toxic substances, such as azo dyes, nickel or pentachlorophenol and hexavalent chromium, which are harmful not only to human beings but also to the environment. Moreover, once its life cycle is over, an item made of vegetable leather (thus tanned with natural extracts) can be easily disposed of due to its inherent chemical-biological characteristics.
Just in the last few days, the results of the research carried out by the Genuine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium, which measured the bio-based carbon content in leather and other materials declared to be eco, have been released.
Vegetable-tanned leather is green with an average bio-based carbon content above 80%, thus in the upper 80-100% range, along with wool and cotton.
In addition to all these factors, for more than two years Conceria Il Ponte (a Group that also includes Conceria Martina srl and Mozart srl) has been proud to have obtained LWG GOLD RATED certification, a recognition that rewards research, innovation, respect for the environment and the passion with which it has been producing vegetable-tanned leather for more than 60 years. In recent years, Conceria Il Ponte has invested heavily in corporate communication and storytelling, telling the fascinating world of vegetable tanning through its website in four languages (Italian, English, Chinese and Japanese) and a constantly updated Instagram profile.