American alligator, one of the world's most prestigious and exclusive leather, is the primary product at American Tanning and Leather LLC.
Indigenous only to the Southeastern United States, the alligator is the only species of crocodilians available in reasonable quantities for the manufacture of large items like handbags, luggage, furniture, and garments.
Alligator can be both farm raised and wild. American Tanning and Leather LLC stocks both.
Farm raised skins are typically used for the manufacture of watchstraps. In fact, 80-85% of farm raised alligator in the USA goes directly to the watchstrap trade. Therefore, most farm raised skins are typically small in size and nearly flawless in quality. Most farm raised skins are from size 22-29 cm, but they can be successfully raised up to 33/34 cm. After the alligator reaches a certain size (typically over 35 cm), they become less profitable for the farmer due to increased damages such as scars in the skin and a longer growing period. Farm raised alligators in large sizes (up to 50 cm) are available, but the prices are very expensive, and the quantity available is very small.. American Tanning and Leather typically works on farm raised alligators up to size 34 cm, and the rest of our supply is from the wild.
Alligators from the wild range from sizes 29-90+ cm, but the typical average is around 45/49 cm. The primary source of wild alligator skins is from Louisiana. The state of Louisiana typically allows for the harvest of around 35,000 alligators each year in order to control the population. In 2007, American Tanning and Leather LLC bought nearly 7,000 wild skins from Louisiana. The benefit of wild skins versus farm raised skins is the long, rectangular belly shape, which is highly desired for handbags. American Tanning and Leather LLC is the only tanner of crocodilians in the world that has its very own operation in Louisiana for collecting wild alligator skins.
Wild American alligator skins are only available during the month of September, which is the harvest season. American Tanning and Leather LLC purchases its supply of skins during that month for the entire year. Our inventory of skins is highest in January, when the September harvested skins are tanned and ready for coloring.
Alligator skins are available in both belly and hornback cuts. The belly is the most prized part of the alligator, and the majority of skins are prepared in this manner. Hornbacks are popular for western boots and motorcycle seats, and the majority of skins offered in this cut are small, farm-raised skins, under the size of 37 cm. The belly skins are offered in sizes up to 90 cm, and sometimes more.
Other distinguishing features of alligator include:
Alligator is also known for being the softest and most pliable of all crocodilian leathers. It is perfect for applications requiring garment leather because the fiber structure of the skin is looser than other crocodilians, thus making it the softest.
Alligators have bigger and wider tails than crocodiles, as well as larger throats and heads. The scale pattern on an alligator yields larger individual belly tiles, but the flanks have small, rounded pebbled tiles.
Alligator is the #1 traded commercial species of crocodilians in the upper echelon of luxury leathers. (The caiman is the most popular species, but it is not considered to be in the same luxury category as Nile, Porosus, or Novaguinea Crocodile and American alligator.)