All About Cork

Durable, waterproof and non-fraying, cork fabric is a trendy, fabulous alternative to leather!

We are in love with cork. It feels nice. It looks nice.  It has so many pluses.  The below questions and answers should give you all the information you need to know why you need a cork handbag!  If you have any other questions just drop us a note.

Why cork?

Cork is an eco-friendly alternative to leather that is natural, sustainable, vegan, and PETA certified. The cork bark is peeled from the tree by skilled workers without harming the tree. The same tree can be harvested every 9 years for up to 300! Cork leather is as strong as its animal counterpart, water resistant and has naturally occurring antibacterial & anti-mildew properties.

What is so special about Cork products?  

Cork products are manufactured from the bark of oak trees. The sustainability of its production and the easy recycling of cork's products and by-products are two of its most distinctive aspects. What makes cork a unique product is its properties: lightness, elasticity, impermeability, insulation, and resistance to wear and tear, hypoallergenic and fire resistant. In buying and using cork products, you are contributing to the preservation of a natural, renewable resource and ecological environment in western Mediterranean countries.

How do I care for my cork product?  

Unlike its cousin, leather, cork does not need to be conditioned. You can wet it without fear. Dyes will not run. It is easily cleaned with soap. Simply wipe the dirty spot with a clean cloth and a little liquid soap and water. Rub gently making a circular motion. It can be immersed in warm water. Do not use other cleaners on cork. Remove any excess soap with a damp cloth and allow the item to dry naturally. 

Can you iron it?

Not recommended, high heat can damage the adhesives and cause cracking and/or peeling.

How durable are cork products?  

Cork products are as durable as medium quality leathers and as versatile as fabric. While perhaps not as durable as top cowhide, it has equivalent durability as eel skin, snakeskin and lambskin. This material is environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic, water resistant and stain resistant as well as easily cleaned and long lasting. Is cork fabric durable?

Do the products change with time?  

Yes. Cork skin, like any other genuine skin, such as leather, reacts when in contact with the human skin, so it may get a litter darker due to sweat. Gradually, over a long period of time as the item is used, more of the inner tar becomes visible and the accessory changes its color appearance. It is like a fashion chameleon. 

Are cork products waterproof?  

Yes. they are waterproof and weatherproof to rain, snow and hail.

Can I clean stain marks? Red wine? Pen Marks? 

Yes, just rub a soap soaked cloth on the area and it will disappear.

Are cork products fire resistant?  

Yes, but that does not mean it is fireproof (It will burn if heated for long enough).

What accounts for the cost of cork products?   

Cork products are made of a unique material, cork. Cork comes from bark of trees that grow almost exclusively in one region of the world - the Mediterranean west basin and on the Atlantic coast. Cork bags are carefully constructed of fine quality cork in a factory in Portugal. The cork industry is regulated by the Government of Portugal, to ensure that the best care and ethics are applied in harvesting.  Simply put, cork is expensive.  The cost of raw materials is 10-15 times higher than cotton, vinyl or canvas.

Are cork products environmentally sustainable?  

Yes. There is no damage to the trees harvested. Cork is environmentally friendly. In the production process there is no waste (the waste is used for stoppers). No dyeing is involved in the process.  Cork offers an alternative for people who would like to stay away from leather. It reflects the new global commitment to the environment.

Where do cork products come from?   

Cork products are manufactured from the outer bark of the evergreen oak known by the Latin name Quercus (oak) Suber (cork), which grows in Portugal. Skilled workers harvest them ethically and sustainably without causing any injury to the tree or the environment.

What part of the tree is harvested?  

The cork is made from the bark of a certain kind of oak tree (Quercus suber).

What happens to the trees after they are harvested?  

The trees that are harvested and marked with a number (to ensure that the next harvest will be in due time) the trees are left for nine years, the time necessary to reproduce new bark. The trees can live two hundred years or more.

Does harvesting the cork damage the trees?   

Not at all. When the cork reaches maturity, it begins to separate naturally from the tree. Then using a process refined over centuries workers assist in the release by harvesting the cork and leaving behind a healthy tree. As soon as the tree is harvested, it begins the process all over again. In order to ensure that the trees are healthy, the first, initial harvesting of the cork does not occur until the tree is 25 to 35 years of age.

When are the trees harvested for the first time?  

Cork oaks are harvested for the first time when they have reached a circumference of 80 cm. A tree will not reach this size until it is at least 25 years old. Cork bark is removed from trees in spring or summer. At this time of year, the cork comes away easily from the trunk because the tree is growing, the sap levels are at their highest point and the new, tender cork cells break easily.

How often is the cork oak tree harvested?  

The cork is harvested once every 7 to 10 years as it matures. Early harvesting tends to yield a lower quality cork suitable for bottle stoppers or wall corkboards. Only the most mature, higher quality cork are used in the fashion industry.

Where else in the world do the cork oak trees grow?  

Though the cork oak can flourish in many climates, the conditions that favor commercial use lie almost exclusively in one location; the Western basin of Europe and Northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast. Today, the center of the world's cork oak forest is concentrated in Southern Europe; Portugal, Spain, Italy & France.

Are cork products biodegradable?  

In the production, process there is no waste (the waste is used for stoppers). No dyeing is involved in the process. Once the product is discarded, it is decomposed completely over a short period of time.

Have any other questions about cork?  Just drop us a note from the Contact Us page.