Is Cork a good Material?

Not all cork is good…

Cork is an amazing natural material. However, not all cork material has the quality standards that BENT&BREE requires, especially when it comes to handbags and accessories. Our factories in Portugal only use superior quality. Actually, only 1% of the cork extracted during the harvesting season is chosen to be used on our collections.

Image: Property of BENT&BREE

Cork quality can vary significantly, particularly concerning its suitability for different uses and applications:

  1. Density: Higher density cork generally indicates better quality. Higher density cork tends to be more durable, resilient, and able to resist wear and tear. The density of cork refers to how closely packed together its molecules or particles are.
  2. Harvesting methods: Properly harvested cork maintains the integrity of the cork oak tree and allows for regeneration, ensuring sustainability. Cork is harvested from cork oak trees, typically every 9-12 years, once the tree matures. The outer bark is carefully removed without harming the tree.
  3. Age of the cork oak: Older cork oak trees tend to produce better quality cork. As the tree matures, the cork becomes thicker and more uniform.
  4. Processing techniques: Proper processing ensures better quality cork, while shortcuts or improper treatment can degrade its quality. The harvested bark is stacked and left to dry for several months, allowing it to cure naturally. This process helps improve its quality and makes it easier to work with.

Testing of cork material

At BENT&BREE, our commitment to quality goes the extra mile. While our handbags are expertly crafted by skilled artisans in Portugal, we’ve taken additional measures to guarantee top-notch products. We’ve gone the extra step by partnering with a U.S.-based laboratory to rigorously test both the cork material and the craftsmanship of our bags. Yes, it meant sacrificing a few bags along the way, but the results speak for themselves. Quality is our priority, no matter what it takes!

Each of our bags has undergone testing and clearance in the following areas:

  • Zipper strength, functionality, and reliability
  • Durability of snaps, fasteners, and small attachments
  • Reinforced stress point assessment
  • Handle durability and strength
  • Seam resilience and strength
  • Detailed examination of workmanship
  • Evaluation of lead content, including adherence to California Proposition 65 regulations
Cork Material Testing for BENT&BREE

The cork material we use has undergone and passed tests for:

  • Color steadfastness 
  • Flexibility resistance
  • Resistance to abrasion
  • Tensile strength
  • Flammability
  • Water resistance
Riley Small Backpack

Ultimately, the choice becomes clear. Why opt for leather when you can embrace a handbag that’s not only durable and functional but also crafted from one of the most sustainable materials in the world?

Remember, our purses and accessories are: Lightweight, durable, vegan, water-resistant, sustainable and easy to clean