There were boots, belts, backpacks, all almost 100 years old, yet the leather remained supple, sturdy and full of character. Captivated by the collection, he returned to the US and made his first Ghurka bag, a leather knapsack. In 1975, with the world’s finest leathers, the upmost attention to detail and respect for the craft, Marley designed his first Ghurka collection at a factory in Norwalk, Connecticut. For over 40 years, proud generations of artisans have upheld the craftsmanship, quality and purpose of Ghurka. The same factory is still hand making the Original Collection today.
The History of the Gurkha Soldiers
Their indomitable spirit is legendary. During World War II they snuck through enemy lines at night, only to cut the shoelaces of sleeping enemy troops with their trademark kukri knives for sport. Whispers of Ghurka tactics struck fear into the heart of Axis soldiers. During the last days of the Falkland War rumors of a Ghurka-led invasion sent Argentine defenders into panic.
The Ghurka collection is handmade by real people - artisans who have spent their lives learning the art of making beautiful and practical things out of fine leather. Many of these artisans have been crafting Ghurka bags throughout our 40 year history and reside in Norwalk, CT, northern Italy, the foothills of southern Spain, and beyond. Our commitment is that each item bearing the Ghurka name has been made with the utmost attention to detail and respect for our craft.
THE MAKING OF THE GHURKA BAG
Since our founding, Ghurka has set out to manufacture the highest handcrafted leather goods available. This has always begun with using only the finest hides in the world. While there are endless varieties of leather available, only a handful pass the rigorous selection process required to bear the Ghurka medallion. Likewise, our signature solid brass hardware and trademark stitching process ensure that our bags deliver an unparalleled owner experience and lifetime of use.
SELECTING THE HIDES
Ghurka leather is never pretreated to remove any flaws, we must begin by using the most naturally flawless hides available. While we utilize a variety of leather types based on which is best suited to a particular product, the majority of our goods are made from French calfskin. Calfskin has a finer grain and softer feel than traditional cowhide as the younger age of the animal brings less exposure to the harsh elements, the main cause of imperfection. French calfskin in particular is considered the finest in the world due to the fact that farms in France do not use barbed wire, one of the leading causes of mars and scratches. As no two skins are completely alike, each and every handcrafted leather Ghurka product will have an individual character that adds to its unique patina as it ages.
TANNING AND COLORING
All Ghurka leather is vegetable-tanned, a centuries-old process which uses only naturally occurring tannins to treat the hides. Because only natural elements are used, it is not only the most environmentally responsible process for tanning, it is also the most gentle on the hides, allowing the skin to retain its tight fiber structure resulting in better wear over time. Vegetable tanning is a costly, labor-intensive process. Our pebbled hides are slow tanned, soaking in large drums with their tanning solution for no less than 30 days, which is the only method that is able to deliver the durability, feel, and eventual patina for which Ghurka products are so well known.
Kingston II in Black is a beautiful, single handle women's handbag from our new, Lock & Dowel group. This silhouette features an intricately folded design and detailed top-stitching. Made in Italy using French, calfskin leather, this handbag is uniquely crafted with our signature, Patina. Over time, the luxe leather surface produces a patina that is individually yours - elegantly telling the stories of your travels with every imperfection.