Crocodile belts command a lot of fashion respect.
Crocodiles strike fatal blows 63 percent of the time when they attack. For this reason, wearing its skin on your waist speaks of power.
So what exactly should you look out for when buying your next crocodile-skin accessory?
Restrictions and Licenses
If you want to buy items that require special licensing from governmental authorities, you want to start by finding trusted vendors.
Make the most of your buying experience and boost your satisfaction by factoring in the quality, type, and finish of the crocodile belt.
It's not uncommon for belt buyers to be misinformed or misled about the various species of crocodiles.
The government restricts commercial trade in all species of crocodiles that are threatened, endangered, or protected. US authorities routinely inspect shipments of imported items, like crocodile skins, for regulatory certifications.
If you don't have the appropriate license, authorities may confiscate the object.
With that said, don't be discouraged from treating yourself or gifting loved ones with some beautiful crocodile belts. Just make sure you're buying from a reputable source.
How to Buy the Right Crocodile Belts
There are more than a dozen species of crocodiles in different shapes and sizes.
How can you determine the quality and monetary value of crocodile skins? It varies based on the tanning and finishing procedures used, as well as the animal's body section.
The finish, scale pattern, and softness of the leather are important when deciding on accessories made from crocodile skins.
Types and Shapes of Crocodile Skins
The best quality skins come from the Australian Saltwater Crocodile and Nile Crocodile. Thes are both relatively rare.
The least desirable skin is the Caiman crocodile. They're the most common skin you'll find in leather shops.
Although Caiman crocodile skins are of good quality, they're usually thinner. Since tanners from South America use less sophisticated processes, Caiman skins become more rigid and less durable.
Shoppers may not recognize these poor qualities in photos. A helpful visual clue is that Caiman skins have more pronounced small pits in their scales. This is not as common in other species.
Crocodile skin qualities are also influenced by the parts of the animal where the leather came from.
Smooth-skinned crocodile belts come from the throat and central belly areas, where scales are largest. These premium sections are also the most symmetrical.
Next in quality are the sides or flanks. These parts of the croc have rounded scales and slightly thinner skin.
The tail, which makes up half of the animal's length, is the least desirable part. Widely spaced scales, hard skin, and more scars are some undesirable attributes of the tail.
Sizes and Scale Patterns of Crocodile Skins
Size could be a key differentiator of croc skins. Caiman crocs are usually three to five feet in length, while Nile crocs are six to twelve feet.
The smaller the donor animal, the more easily the scale pattern would transition over your belt. If you use other crocodile accessories, like crocodile handbags, you'll notice clear imprints of the croc's body, head, or tail.
Each crocodile species shows unique scale patterns. The scale patterns and sizes of crocs vary and are not linear relative to their lengths. A ten-foot croc's largest central belly scales may not exceed one each square and could be a lot less.
The exact species of the donor animal become hard to determine once the final products emerge. The leather quality remains obvious, but you can't be decisive on the species. This is a reason to focus on quality and not species when buying crocodile belts.
Although you might see a "Genuine Crocodile" stamp, you're still better off buying from a trusted supplier.
High-Gloss or Semi-Gloss Finish
The high-gloss or classic finish has historical acceptance as the most elegant leather quality.
This smooth, shiny finish is achieved using a natural protein like raw egg-white or albumen. Under high pressure, the protein is polished into the croc's skin.
The classic finish results in a thin, tightly spaced scales and smooth, high-gloss leather. As for disadvantages of this type of skin finish, they become rigid and less durable.
European manufacturers have favored the classic finish for years. This is because it expands the usable skin surface and covers any natural imperfections that might be visible.
Although the traditional finish is susceptible to wrinkles and damage from abrasion, they do well as crocodile belts.
The semi-gloss or safari finish is growing in popularity because of its more natural accent and high durability. The use of natural oils and waxes, combined with low-pressure, low-speed buffering gives the semi-gloss leather its appreciable qualities.
Since the safari finish doesn't use excessive pressures, the leather maintains its soft, supple, and natural scale patterns.
Semi-gloss finishes are very resilient and can withstand abrasion. Scratches on safari finishes are less apparent due to the deep penetration of surface finish and color. This finish also has a reputation for getting better, not worse, with use.
Most buyers prefer this natural look because it's more difficult to imitate.
Blending Your Biking Attire and Crocodile Belts
Buy belts that are two inches bigger than your pants' waist. If you're a size 40, you want to buy a 42-inch belt.
You may also determine the size of your new belt using your old belts. Find out the distance from where you'd usually buckle your belt to its opposite end. Use the closest size to that measurement in deciding what belt to buy.
Factor in your belt's throw, the distance between the hook and chape, as part of your belt's length.
Don't gouge a hole in your belt if you've outgrown it or if it's not your size. The hole will be glaring and you'll shorten the belt's lifespan. Get your local cobbler to help you put a hole using appropriate tools.
To Wrap It Up
Start your quest for crocodile belts by finding trusted vendors. Then focus on quality (not the species of the animal) when choosing your belt.
Although the classic, high-gloss leather finish is a good option for croc belts, buyers are voting for the more natural semi-gloss, safari finish.
Biker Ring Shop is a trusted dealer in the best quality crocodile leather from belts to bags and other accessories. You can learn more about us here.