I published a blog post yesterday titled “I got myself a new stingray wallet” where I explained why I got rid of my Louis Vuitton Gaspar Wallet made out of canvas and replaced it with a custom-ordered, hand-crafted leather wallet with stingray exterior and kangaroo interior. After posting, one of the questions I got was how I knew I would like stingray. There’s actually a very simple and straightforward answer to that. Early this year, I purchased a white smoke hornback saltwater crocodile belt from Jacob Hill Leather Co., and after I received that belt and was satisfied with it, I made a repeat purchase. The next purchase I made with Jacob Hill Leather Co. was an Indonesian stingray rowstone belt. It was made with the same level of high-quality materials as my crocodile belt, and after feeling the stingray skin, I knew that stingray would be my leather of choice. You may notice that this stingray looks noticeably different than the stingray that I posted yesterday on my wallet. My wallet is made out of completely polished stingray (to create an entirely smooth and mirror-like finish), while my belt only has the center rowstone area polished. That means that the center is similar to my wallet, but the outer edges of the belt are far more bumpy. If you were to run your finger down the sides of the belt (the black part), it would feel close to extremely coarse sandpaper with extremely low grit, but with each of the nodes being much larger and not as aggravating as real sandpaper. It’s not exactly painful to the touch, but if you apply enough pressure, it will definitely make the stingray push into your skin. As a reminder, the little bumps on stingray skin are made out of calcium deposits. Stingray leather doesn’t quite get affected by a traditional patina, but the way that stingray does undergo a patina-like process is when the belt is used enough that day-to-day wear will grind down on the calcium a tiny bit such that it sort of creates a natural, subtle polish on the remainder of the belt. This grinding process obviously only happens when the belt comes into contact with harder materials though, and your pants definitely are not harder than stingray. As a result, a little bit of extra care is needed when wearing stingray belts as to not damage your belt loops—this belt isn’t just going to smoothly slide off your waist with little effort. At first it was a bit inconvenient, but it barely takes several extra seconds, it’s easy to get used to it, and it ultimately will be a non-factor once the belt goes through its “patina” evolution. Another question I got about stingray is how the texture doesn’t “weird me out.” I imagine that this question is in reference to trypophobia, or the fear of the sight of clusters of small holes or bumps, especially on the human skin. Even though having some form of trypophobia is actually considered biologically normal, my senses don’t actually really respond too much to trypophobia-triggering patterns, and I usually only have any kind of reaction at all when I see those pictures of a lotus seed head Photoshopped onto someone’s face. So, apologies in advance if you’re with me in-person and I take out my wallet or you get a glimpse of my belt and you’re repulsed, but I think stingray skin is mesmerizing. I would get more stingray belts, but I very recently spent US$359 on the wallet I posted about yesterday, so I’m on my “exotic leather goods cooldown period” so I don’t end up spending an irresponsible amount of money on luxury products.