Jan 24, 2022 domenico Surace

What symbols hold the exotic skins used in Marnelo’s luxury leather accessories? 

Discover the amazing stories behind alligator, ostrich, and python skins

The reason exotic leather is so in demand, either on shoes, bags or accessories like watches and Apple watch bands or iPhone cases, is it is a statement.

It is a very strong fashion piece, in the first place because of exotic leather’s mesmerising patterns, vibrant colours and exquisite craftsmanship. But it is also because of the symbol that it bears: as a living material, it is intrinsically linked to the animals it comes from.

Come on an exploration of the ancient tales and folklore stories that nourish the image and allure of the three exotic leathers you can choose from for your Marnelo accessory

Explore the bayous and voodoo with exotic alligator leather

Alligator in the Wateur

The most iconic of the exotic skins offered by Marnelo is actually scales: alligator leather. Alligator evokes danger, it is the silent killer gliding through the marshlands of Florida and the Louisiana bayous.
It is associated with the lores of the region and of the voodoo religious tales. Cajun legends speak about abandoned children raised by alligators and seeking vengeance on their parents by overturning their boats and leaving them to be eaten by alligators.

Wearing a pair of alligator boots, or a wrist band made of the skin of this animal is both a throwback to the hunter past of man, and a way of triumphing over the danger. 

In many traditions, wearing the skin of the animal you slay is also a way of gaining some parts of their attributes and powers. For Native Americans, the alligator is a symbol of power in nature that should be respected, even from a distance. Because of the alligator’s natural habitat, in rivers, marshes and lakes, they are associated with water and symbolically associated with spiritual cleansing and healing.

As a predator that is protected by thick scales, the alligator is hard and dangerous to hunt, and some Native American cultures bring onto the possession of its leather symbols of power and status. In practice, they even wore necklaces made with alligator teeth, or pouches carrying them, to protect against snake bites, because they saw alligators hunting snakes and believed they were immune to snake venom. 

The ideal oiling process for your leather iPhone case

Some Native American tribes tell a story about how the alligator got his rough scales. It goes like this: the alligator used to be smooth, with beautiful yellow skin, almost glowing, which he was quite proud of, even vain about.

He was equally proud of his hold on his territory in the river and did not let the other animals drink.

Succumbing to thirst, the animals asked the clever rabbit to do something so they would be able to drink at the river. The rabbit devised a plan and went down to the river to tell the alligator about the shiny, golden glowing tree that the animals said glowed even more brightly and beautifully than the skin of the alligator. Intrigued, the alligator followed the rabbit to a tree that had caught fire.

Wanting to get a closer look at this marvellous light, the alligator stepped too close, and the fire burned him, making his skin rough and scaly as it is today.

But when it goes into the hands of the Marnelo artisans, no alligator leather could be described as rough. 

Alligator marnelo

Weigh the godly symbol of ostrich leather with pride

Ostrich Marnelo

The second exotic leather used in Marnelo workshops, adorning our luxury iPhone cases and custom Apple Watch straps hails from the savanna, is the biggest of the birds: the Ostrich.

Ostrich leather is very special, because unlike the other exotic materials used, it does not bear still the scales of the animal it comes from, but small holes left in the place where a feather used to lay. This is a constant reminder of the origin of the material, and of the symbol held by the ostrich feather. It was a sacred object dating back to ancient Egypt, as the symbol of Ma’at, goddess of divine truth, justice, and cosmic order, who helped decide the fate of souls after death.

The deceased were believed to have their hearts weighed on a scale against Ma’at’s ostrich feather, the feather of truth. If the heart was heavier than the feather, it meant the person had not lived a good life and the soul would be destroyed.

For those whose hearts were lighter than the feather, the next destination was heaven. 

Ostrich leather, as a material that is really unique in touch, bears the reminder of the past uses of ostrich, for example the eggs of the animal: Since they were the biggest and sturdiest eggs on earth, ostrich eggs served as a royal dish for Pharaohs, and has long had associations with prosperity, truth, life and rebirth.

 The eggs were often a luxury item, being hollowed and carved magnificently, used as perfume containers, and drinking cups, and later being set in ornate metals, like in the Viennese court (see photo). 

Ostrich egg

Express your clairvoyance and protective instincts with python leather

Python is one of the most protected animals whose skin is available for tanning, and is to be treated with respect, as it has, in almost all cultures, found a place as a very highly regarded symbol.

 Its name originates in Classical Greece, as Python in Greek mythology was a serpent, laying at the centre of the known-world in Delphi, and was a prophet. The python, with its mystifying eyes is often associated with the occult, the capacity of seeing further and deeper and the clairvoyance to give advice.

 It was slain by Apollo, the Sun triumphing over an older deity in order to establish his own temple. Even that way, it’s a symbol of looking forward into new ventures and beyond what clouds the judgement of most people. 

In India, where the two species used by Marnelo originate from, the python is a protective figure, watching over temples and places of great spiritual energy.

The story goes that when Buddha was in ecstatic meditation a storm arose. The mighty serpent king Mucalinda rose from his place beneath the earth and enveloped the Buddha in seven coils for seven days, so as not to break his ecstatic state. Furthermore, snake leather has a vibrant quality to it, because of the incredible care that Marnelo artisans put into the work of the scales, and is reminiscent of the vitality of the python.

As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, immortality and healing, that can accompany you every day as a keepsake and as a luxurious accessory. 

Python Marnelo