Pad and Quill's Aria iPad mini case: A masterpiece

In musical terms, an aria is an expressive melody usually sung by one singer. In classic opera, an aria is one incredible, soaring experience that brings an audience to its feet. For an iPad mini, an Aria (US$99.99, pre-order price $89.99) is a beautiful leather iPad mini case crafted by the artisans at Pad and Quill.

Brian Holmes, aka "Mr. PQ", was kind enough to send me one of only three Aria prototypes in existence so I could give it a try. What I found upon opening the box was a symphony of wood and leather that is really quite breathtaking.

The Aria, which folds into a traditional landscape-mode stand, is made of a thick full-grain American leather -- boot leather, if you will. That's quite different from the thin leather veneers that are usually used in concert with book binder's board to make a stiff cover. The leather has small embossed decorations on the cover and spine, with the cover decoration done in an "apple branch" motif.

Pad and Quill's Aria iPad mini case A masterpiece

The Aria comes in three color schemes: coffee spine and onyx black cover, chestnut (lighter brown) spine and onyx black cover, and an onyx black spine with chestnut cover. The cover, by the way, has those little magnets to turn your mini on and off automatically. There's also an elastic band to hold the cover closed in transit, and a red "bookmark" ribbon to ease removing your mini from the case.

Holding the iPad mini in place is one of Pad and Quill's hand-finished Baltic Birch frames, perfectly form-fitting and beautifully finished. There are large cutouts for the earphone jack, orientation lock, volume controls, speakers and Lightning port.

Pad and Quill's Aria iPad mini case A masterpiece

If you've been holding off on buying an iPad mini case, there's no reason to wait any longer. I honestly don't believe that you're going to find a more stunning or well-made iPad mini case anywhere.

Owners of "regular" iPads will be happy to hear that a full-sized version of Aria is in the design phase now and should be available later this year.