The source of leather, known to most, is usually cow hide, pig skin, or even alligator but to my surprise fish skin can be made into leather as with this collection of wallets from Creel Leather based in Wiltshire, England. Luxurious and soft calf’s leather with bright and shimmering zander fish skin leather makes quite the statement. Enter the world of exotic leathers. Jonathan Gurney founded Creel Leather in 2010 after years of being a lawyer and yearning to let his creative side burst out. Well made products such as shoes and various other leather goods always tickled Jonathan’s fancy so he decided to take a few leather work classes and try his hand at it. After getting an understanding of process and work that goes into quality and luxury leather goods Jonathan realized his skills were in design and sourcing of materials rather than the actual manufacturing. Jonathan designs and sources the materials for his products 100%. He then sends samples and designs to larger manufacturers in the UK for the precision work and is looking to expand to other countries as well.
The outside of the wallet is comprised of a black calf’s leather that Jonathan sources from long established leather dealers in the UK. The leather comes from calves in the middle east and India and is treated at various tanneries in Europe and Asia.
The shimmering showcase of which is the red fish skin leather on the inside and the card slots is derivative of a zander fish which is a freshwater fish belonging to the perch family of fish. The tannery is owned by a Russian woman and her business partner who has a chemical engineering background and has spent many years developing the tanning process for fish skin and developing dyes that accentuate and complement the scale pattern and texture of the fish leather. They source their zander skins from the Baltic Lakes.
The wallet has 6 main card slot pockets with 2 hidden pockets and 2 bill pockets.
The card slots and two bill pockets are lined with a fantastic red silk almost matching the color of the fish skin leather. The silk is called ‘Silk Dupion’ is sourced from a manufacturer in South India. The silk is machine loomed for extra density and strength.
Lastly the stitching is made of a strong nylon.
Empty the wallet weighs about 2 ounces and measures (closed) 4.5″ x 0.25″ x 3.5″.
The thing I appreciate the most of the function of this wallet is that it is big and can hold a lot if you need it to. The pockets are very soft and flexible and there is ample room in them as well as the back bill pockets.
One thing that takes time to get adjusted to with some leather wallets is the ease of putting in and pulling out cards and especially cash. In a busy situation on the go, I get agitated that I can’t pull out cash let alone store access bills and receipts in a smaller wallet if I need to. This is not the case with this wallet. With multiple cards, receipts and a wad of cash, it is still easy to put things in and pull things out of this wallet.
I’ve been using this wallet as a backup wallet when traveling. I keep my minimal essentials in my every day carry wallet and put other things in this wallet like extra cash, extra credit cards and discount cards that I won’t always use and receipts. If I’m feeling fancy or just in the need to carry extra cash or cards on me, I can easily convert my everyday cards to this wallet and go out.
In terms of the design and materials, this is a luxury wallet that not only uses higher end leathers but accentuates them as well. The black calf’s leather paired with the red zander leather is a flashy statement that holds to the context of the exquisite and exotic leather not to mention the red silk pocket lining.
The calf’s leather is subtle and soft and reminiscent of a well broken in leather. There is no stiffness to this leather whatsoever. Being black there are no visible scars, scratches or other blemish marks from a months use, but I suspect the patina to start to develop over time to a glossier finish.
The Zander fish leather on the inside is very soft and pliable as well. It does not smell of fish at all and in fact, smells nice just like any other nostalgic smell of quality leathers I have encountered. The glossy finish and uniform red color suggests that this leather will remain scratch free. My first impression of the fish skin leather was that it lacked a certain toughness for being so thin. Although I love the idea of fish skin leather, the finish is unnatural for me being a bright and glossy red. Another small detail I noticed is that the leather is sticky or tacky especially on a humid day. I noticed this dilemma lessen after some use and wear.
The silk is exactly what it is: a smooth and luxurious material that compliments the fish skin rather and calf’s leather while offering a soft and smooth protector for one’s credit cards, bills, and other items.
The stitching on this wallet is minimal and blends in to a point were it is barely noticeable. This was the point in the design to have a lightweight yet strong stitch but remain hidden as to not take away from the leathers.
Size wise, the wallet is what most would consider to be a large sized bifold wallet. With the 8 card pockets and 2 bill slots, one can hold a fair amount. I don’t tend to carry a lot in my wallet so I tend to aim for minimal wallets. One can hold a minimal amount in this wallet and still retain a thin and lightweight profile. If the wallet is packed full, I would suspect this would greatly increase the bulk and shape of the wallet not to mention create and extra bulge in one’s jeans or other pockets. Some will appreciate having the extra room if needed but I personally feel that one is tempted to use more room given a bigger wallet. This is about preference and convenience in the wallet world.
This is a luxury wallet and less of a everyday wallet. This is not a rugged wallet that gets ugly and wears in like many other wallets featured on BestLeather.org. It is however an exotic, beautiful and statement piece that is highly functional and convenient as well as lightweight.
Check it out here.