Tom Barrington Stingray Wallet Review
I remember when I touched a stingray for the first time. Our local zoo had set up a petting area for aquatic creatures, so that curious kids could walk up and touch all their favorite animals they like to eat at Red Lobster. I was a little less eager, owing to the fact that stingrays were distantly related to sharks and had also permanently cancelled my television idol. Rest in peace, Steve Irwin.
Full disclosure, stingrays are actually pretty amiable fellows who’d prefer flight to fight. And since the zoo had been nice enough to remove that scary barb from the stingray’s tail, I decided I could give the species another chance. Besides, who hasn’t wanted to touch a slimy stingray? But when I finally bit my lip and took the plunge, I was surprised. Not because of how slimy the fish felt, mind. I expected it to be slimy. My expectations simply fell short of experiencing the real thing. I’d felt slime and hide both – I added them up like a math equation and reached my hand out expecting what the solution would feel like. I touched it, some numbers crunched, and when I pulled my tingling hand back in, I had sensation. Glorious watching Star Wars for the first time sensation. You can know something, but you can’t know it until you’ve tried it yourself. Like skydiving, but with more leather and less post-flight nausea.
At First Sight
That’s a bit how I’d describe my first few moments opening up this lovely package sent to us by our friends at Tom Barrington. Butterflies, suspense and one heck of a view, all wrapped up snug inside a tiny leather wallet. I’ll admit, stingray’s always caught my eye before. I liked to imagine what it would feel like. I’d touched stingray. I’d touched leather before that. But I’d never touched stingray leather before. Turns out, stingray leather is largely different from its donor, owing to the fact that one is slimy and the other is smooth as a pearl. Aside from that mucus covering that gives stingrays all their graceful agility in their element, their skin is made up of very intimately woven beads. These beads are remarkably resistant to both fire and water, hold up well against abrasion, and almost impossible to tear. Yet apart from its tough-as-nails substance, stingray leather has an almost unnatural glimmer and beauty to it, the kind that you’d imagine yourself staring at for minutes at a time inside a gallery or museum, and come back later at night in a black ski mask to steal.
The Crown Jewel
So here I was, watching helplessly as this Venus or Aphrodite of leather wallets sauntered seductively out of its pouch and molded into my hands like a shiny Japanese katana (which coincidentally often used stingray leather for hilts back in the day). Seriously, who ships their wallets with separate pouches so classy they’re a stand-out prize on their own? Tom Barrington, that’s who.
But let’s talk more about the wallet. One thing you’ll notice right away if you’re the type who likes to spend hours at a time obsessively google image searching this exotic leather (call me) – the jewel is camouflaged. For the uninitiated, I’m talking about a distinctive eye-shaped mark called a jewel that’s a typical attribute of any stingray product. The jewel’s a bit of a spotlight hog, so depending on how it’s used, this mark can either make or break.
Tom’s a guy who plays things smart. He likes simplicity and he likes symmetry. After decades of watching jewel after jewel dominate the aesthetics of every stingray novelty on the market, he decided the spotlight needed a new celebrity. He wanted the beads and a rich, uniform color to stand out for themselves – show that real stingray leather doesn’t need to distract you with fancy tattoos to look dazzling. It’s like reading a Joss Whedon movie script. Behind all those cool special effects and flawlessly choreographed fighting sequences, there’s a script so infinitely nuanced it’ll blow you away every time you look at it. Tom puts the spotlight on the real delicacy behind stingray leather: the constellations and chemistry of the beads themselves. I can honestly say that sensation is a word that falls utterly short here. Don’t trust Google. Own one yourself.
Apart from the beads and patterns, there were a few other characteristics to soak in. The second thing I noticed after the luxurious beads was how well the wallet retained its natural scent. The thing actually smelled like a stingray! It was subtle enough not to give your pocket a sailor’s reek, but so rich and redolent that I felt half an inclination to buy an aquarium for it. I even had hay fever when I got this pearly love, but even my nostrils quivered in euphoric bliss as I breathed it in. If I didn’t know any better, I’d be listing hay fever reducer as one of its many fabulous features.
Up to Scratch?
For the practical walleteers among us, further inspection convinced me this minx wasn’t just another pretty face either. Thing comes outfitted with two cash slots, 6 card pockets and two additional hidden pockets underneath those. Simple enough not to complicate things, but coordinated and flexible enough to give it lots of room for your knickknacks and a little extra space on the side. Everything I carry with me fit pretty naturally, which was impressive. I tend to carry a lot. Those exact measurements are about 9″ x 3 1/2″ inches while open, and 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ x 3/8″ inches while closed, so it won’t have any problem slipping into your pocket nice and comfy like.
Nice thing about stingray is that these leathers will typically last you a good long while, too. Stingray leather has a reputation for being pretty easy to take care of, requiring minimal maintenance and even caring for itself on most occasions. Considering the pebbles are made of calcium (the same thing holding together those chompers underneath your gums), it goes without saying it can take a little beating. The downside is that it doesn’t hold dyes in as well as other wallets can, but it’s still surprisingly resistant to tarnish in spite of this.
Lightening Wallets Everywhere
Speaking of dyes, that’s another flavor of the Tom Barrington pizzazz. I got wallet in a navy blue shade, but there are infinite colors and variations you can deck your own wallet out with. While most companies that sell exotic leather don’t bother to mess with variety, Tom’s got the treasure trove of glittering gemstones to make a rainbow blush. If you’re looking for a wallet with a little more life and character, then Barrington selection is bound to have something tailor-made just for you. So do yourself and check them out. And bring a toss coin with you. Picking just one wallet out of this olympian selection is slightly near impossible – I speak from personal experience.
You can find the wallet featured here on Tom’s shop for a generous $79.95. In addition to stingray, Tom also specializes in numerous other equally remarkable exotic leathers, including ostrich, snakes and even tilapia. If you’ve already got a wallet, you might be tantalized by their stylish selection of belts, keychains, watch straps, bracelets and tablet cases. Whatever your fancy, just remember – life only happens once, but Tom Barrington can happen as many times as you want. Get with the sensation and make your life an exotic one.