Notes on the Name Shell Cordovan.
The practice for producing the illustrious shell cordovan leather material originated in Cordoba, Spain. For centuries, Cordoba was famous not only for its leather production but for its gold and silver work as well. The word cordovan qualifies objects or practices of or relating to Cordoba. But let’s reach back a bit further. The city was founded in ancient Roman times as Corduba. When it was seized by the Moors in 711, it was known by the Arabic transliteration, Qurtubah. In later years, the city came to be known as Cordoba or Cordova. Thus today we have the name cordovan leather, vegetable-tanned. The word shell refers to the circular sheets of leather produced from the hindquarters of a horse.