It may resemble Beluga caviar, but the tiny natural enamel beads you see above are actually the stunning textured skin of dyed stingray, also known as shagreen (pronounced sha-GREEN) which will be assuming an appetizing position as a fashion and decor delicacy.
Often mistakenly referred to as shark skin, stingray leather comes from a family of rays related to sharks. The rays are found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide and are neither endangered nor threatened. The shagreen used now is coming primarily from Thailand, where the fish are farmed and the meat of the animal is eaten.
Once used in Asia for grips on daggers to provide a non-slip surface, stingray is surfacing on purses, like the Alexander McQueen Shark Teeth Skull Minaudiere, $2,295, from Neiman Marcus, below.
Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Gucci…they’re all in a race to configure stingray leather into something new and now. Left raw and pebbly or polished into a smooth glassy reflective shine, shagreen is where it’s at. Keep your eyes open for this exotic skin in fashion and decor for months, and years, to come.