Created by the most skilled craftsman, shagreen furniture requires experience and time to understand this unique material, because care and attention to detail are needed to produce shagreen furniture. Simplified version of the process is as follows:
In the first phase, molds are taken from a real stingray skin, this original skins can be used many many times, the material that is poured into the molds is a polyester-based resin that takes at least one day to set before it is ready to be removed and applied to the particular piece of furniture, once all applied the finishing process can begin.
Real Shagreen verses Faux Shagreen
Real Shagreen is the skin of a Stingray and is not used in the making of our furniture, here at Arin International we use the real Stingray skin as mold to which a polyester resin is poured and left to cure overnight, this mold can be used over and over again.
Once the resin is cured it becomes malleable much like leather this is the raw Faux Shagreen. The raw Faux Shagreen is then applied the case of the furniture design where it sets quite hard and is ready for colour and finishing.
History of Shagreen
The history of shagreen and its uses before it became a trend within the home furnishing market is interesting, its blend of the material’s ornamental look combined with practicality.
The rawhide of Stingray or Shark was used in bookbinding, small cases such as those used for reading glass, and more practical uses by the Japanese sword makers of the 17th century for dagger & Sword hilts due to the rough surface that provided sturdy grip from the Shagreen hides.
Shagreen Arrives in Europe
French leather craftsman working in the court of Louis XV when Shagreen Furniture became popular among the French aristocracy and spreading throughout Europe, due to new dye techniques together with the material having a reputation for being robust and durable while having an aesthetic appeal the popularity of the products blossomed.
The Art Deco period saw Shagreen make a resurgence especially due to the popularity of the colour Emerald, these types of creations can be seen often at auction houses.
Today, Shagreen is popular once again albeit without the use of real Shark and Stingray skins, the more humane and affordable material of malleable resin is used. One hide is used as a mold for the resin liquid which dries to a skin-like substance before it is peeled from the skin mold and dyed ready for use in the production of shagreen furniture and accessories.
A small selection of our Shagreen furniture items and accessories can be seen below.
For further information on our Shagreen pieces, contact us