You’ve probably seen this rough, granular surfaced leather material used on a variety of surfaces but never knew what it was.

Originally used for elegant book bindings, pocketbooks and small boxes and cases it’s look is very distinct.

Shagreen once made from horse hides is now made from the skins of sharks and rays. It looks delicate but it is water resistant and very durable. When swords and daggers were once the vogue Shagreen was used for hilts and scabbards.

Most often associated with the Art Deco era due to its luxury and exoticism appearance. Real Shagreen is expensive and only available from high-end leather dealers like Edelman Leathers. Vegetable dyes are used to achieve its soft color palate.

Both the colors and delicate small round granule pattern have made this one of today’s hottest new home furnishing materials. Due to the cost and limited availability of real Shagreen, manufacturers have learned how to duplicate the look and feel with faux materials.

Lamp: Currey & Company / Furniture: Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware’s Graydon Shagreen Collection offers a large selection of bedroom, living room and dining furniture. Available in two different color tones the collection fits beautifully into a luxury or industrial inspired decor.

It’s hard to resist going overboard with this finish but try to limit it to one piece of furniture or accent piece per room. This keeps the look authentic and mysterious. A buffet in a dining room, a headboard in a bedroom.

Currey & Company’s Beauchamp table lamp is a beautiful way to add Shagreen accessories to an existing décor. The lines are straight, clean and chic. It functions splendidly in a masculine or female setting.

Graydon Shagreen Bed and Dresser

The popular pattern is showing up in all types of home decorating materials. Kohler’s Shagreen collection celebrates the subtle coloring and distinctive pebbled texture of natural shark and ray leather. Available in two colors, Ebony or Oyster Pearl. The rich glazed finish shows iridescent pearly tones and the gently granulated texture of leather. Each sink’s Shagreen pattern, formed through an organic process, is unique.

Ann Sacks, one of today’s most acclaimed designers, has added Shagreen wall tiles to her collection. The tiles are crafted from the skin of the stingray. The skin which has a pointillist pattern denoting the spine is rough to the touch and to emphasize the textural quality has been lightly sanded. Available in black bordered in bone. A beautiful tile for kitchens and baths.

A compelling material to all who touch and hold it. From antique boxes and picture frames to chests and desks. Next time you are antique or furniture shopping and see a delicate pebbled leather material covering on an object know that it is Shagreen.

Graydon Shagreen Sideboard