Shagreen in the spotlight


At OKA, we have always loved the aesthetics of shagreen.  We are thrilled to have found such a beautiful, yet sustainable way to create the shagreen effect, without the huge price tag and the negative environmental consequences.

What Was Shagreen Originally Made From?

Shagreen was originally crafted from the hides of horses or donkeys, but from the late 17th century onwards the skins of sharks and stingrays were favoured for their natural bead-like pattern.

The History of Shagreen

Shagreen has always been a symbol of good luck and prosperity; it has been traced back to 2000BC after it was discovered in the tombs of ancient pharaohs.  Japanese Samurai decorated the hilts of their swords and armour with the material during the Middle Ages.  In the mid 1700s, Galluchat, a tanner in Paris, became the first European shagreen expert.  Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s famous mistress, was so enamoured by Galluchat’s shagreen creations that it quickly became a luxury court material.

During the 1930’s a famous designer, Jean-Michel Frank (Anne Frank’s cousin), revolutionized the use of shagreen.  Recognising the beauty in the luxurious and exotic material, Frank began to craft shagreen furniture.  Frank’s shagreen creations are renowned for their simple elegance and exquisite beauty.

The shagreen effect has intrigued and enticed for centuries, its exceptional appearance and feel has made sure it has never been forgotten. 

Our Shagreen

Our shagreen pieces are an integral part of our range.  We particularly love these faux shagreen pieces from our collection:

Faux Shagreen Coasters 

Faux Shagreen Waste Paper Bin (Available in a range of colours) – £125.00

Faux Shagreen Boutique Tissue Box Holder

Colonne Faux Shagreen Table Lamp

Delano Console Table in Faux Shagreen 

Take a look at our full Faux Shagreen Collection, perhaps you will join the samurai, designers, pharaohs and royalty and become a shagreen junkie?

*The OKA shagreen Collection is all faux shagreen