What is Fish Leather?

Fish Leather, Icelandic Fishing Industry

From Waste to Work of Art

Eco-friendly Fish Leather is an exotic leather made from fish skins that are discarded by the seafood industry (non-endangered food species). This natural byproduct is repurposed into a luxurious leather by our tannery in North Iceland, utilizing renewable hydro and geothermal energy. The month-long process is similar to tanning other types of animal skins, and produces a durable, odor-free leather that is stronger than cow leather. The distinctive scale pattern of each fish is unique, highlighted with metallic finishes to create an incredible array of vibrant colors and textures.

Our designer, Meredith Lusk, travels to our tannery in Iceland annually to hand-select new leathers and custom color combinations for our collection. Back in our studio, this fascinating material is shaped into an exquisite element of artistic design, handcrafted with pride in Cape Charles, Virginia. Moonrise Jewelry is the largest producer of Fish Leather jewelry and accessories in the United States, and we currently stock over 125 different colors in six types of leather:

    • Salmon Leather (farm-raised, Faroe Islands)
    • Wolf Fish Leather (wild-caught, Iceland)
    • Cod Leather (wild-caught, Iceland)
    • Tilapia Leather (farm-raised, Kenya)
    • Perch Leather (farm-raised, Kenya)
    • Stingray Leather (wild-caught, Thailand)

Ancient Material for Modern Design

Making leather from fish skins is an age-old craft historically used by many coastal cultures, now revived with contemporary tanning and dyeing methods. Native Icelanders made their shoes from wolf fish leather, and reportedly measured distances by how many pairs of shoes would be worn out walking over the path! In Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, water-resistant salmon leather was used for bags, parkas, and clothing. The Hezhe ethnic tribe from northeast China was also known as the “fish leather tribe” because of their traditional fish skin dress.

Fish Leather Care

Fish Leather requires the same care as any leather product. Spot clean with mild soap and water or use a suede brush. Use a polishing cloth on silver and gold settings. Avoid swimming in your jewelry or prolonged saturation in water (hand washing is fine). Bracelets with copper cores are adjustable; squeeze and shape for a comfortable fit on your wrist.