The “crème de la crème” of luxury handbags is the Hermès brand. You can expect top-notch craftsmanship, sophistication, exclusivity, and quality from their handbags. Hermès bags are sold at their official website https://www.hermes.com/us/en/ and all over the world at their physical stores.
Signature Hermès bags like the Birkin can go for tens and thousands of dollars. A Birkin bag ranges anywhere from $9,000 to half a million dollars. Its first-class quality and design allow the bag to last for decades. Even if you can’t shell out hefty amounts of money for the popular bag, the brand offers other kinds and styles of bags at lower prices, with the same level of craftsmanship you can expect from a Birkin.
But buying a Birkin bag can be complicated. It’s not like visiting a store, looking for the handbag you want, then paying for it in the cashier. You can’t walk in a Hermès boutique and buy a Birkin bag immediately. It must be ordered, and there’s a waiting list. Some people sell their pre-loved Birkin bags, and a carefully used bag can sell up to 120% the original price, making it an excellent investment.
However, knock-off Birkin style bags are becoming more and more sophisticated. You might be a victim of counterfeiting, as you can shell out thousands of dollars only to find out that your Hermès Birkin is fake. Always buy from an Hermès store or an authorized dealer. But if you’re buying at an auction or an individual seller, you have to know how to prove the bag is authentic.
Be a wise shopper and know how to tell a real Birkin bag from a fake one. These are the things to look to know if the bag is authentic:
One of the easiest ways to spot a fake Birkin bag is by checking its “posture.” A real Birkin can stand up straight, never slouching. The bag remains erect due to the quality leather material that keeps it in constant shape. The handles must also stand straight when left unattended.
Birkin bags use genuine, high-quality leather and can come in different leather variants. Some are made of buffalo or calf leather, while more exotic pieces come in alligator, crocodile, or ostrich leather. Regardless of the leather type, it must be soft and must have somewhat of an uneven pattern. Genuine leather doesn’t have a perfect pattern – otherwise, it’s a manufactured leather and a knock-off.
The scent of the leather is one of the first giveaways if the bag is an original. A Birkin bag’s quality is so refined that it must never have a strong scent of glue or adhesive. Also, note that any color dyed in the leather must match the highly limited and exclusive Hermès color palette.
The logo stamp on the inside of an Hermès bag must-read “Hermès Paris Made in France.” The markings must be precise and clear and in a delicate, neat font that is unaffected by the texture of the leather. It’s always embossed on the leather using a method called heat stamping. Many fake Hermès bags come with a logo that looks irregular, big, blocky, or crooked.
The fonts have changed over the years, so don’t worry if yours is a little different from another Hermès bag you’ve seen. Recently, the brand made newer versions of Birkin and other bags with slightly thinner fonts.
The logo stamp must sit right below the stitching, centered, and not too far down. Also, keep an eye out for the accent on the second letter “e” on the Hermès name.
Each Hermès handbag is hand-crafted by professional artisans. When examining the stitching, look for the signature saddle stitch that is customary to their handbags. It must be slightly angled, precise, and tight. Though each bag is perfect in appearance, there must be subtle signs of imperfections in the stitching to indicate that it’s made by the hand and not by a machine. But since professional artisans make it, there will never be any uneven, messy, or hanging stitches.
The stitching on the bag’s interior must be made with just as much care as the exterior of the bag. You must also notice the double stitch in the saddle stitching at the base of the handles. Some counterfeit Birkins do not have this double-stitching.
The lining in every Hermès Birkin and Kelly bag’s interior is made with much care as the rest of the bag. Many of the bags come with a chevre leather interior – a goatskin that’s grained and not smooth. Some bags may use other materials as a lining, but they must always be of high quality. In most cases, it’s made of similar leather to the exterior.
Authentic Hermès bags are made of high-grade metals like palladium or gold. On rare, more expensive Birkin bags, you can find brushed gold, brushed silver, silver, or ruthenium finishes.
On a Birkin bag, the hardware on the front straps where the lock sits must be engraved with “Hermès-Paris” in a neat, thin, crisp, and evenly-spaced font.
If you’re buying a used bag, look for any sort of wear. It must never show too much peeling, but there can be slight tarnishing with extended use. Palladium show black when worn, so if you see any other color, then it’s probably not real.
On the zippers of a real Birkin bag, the Hermès brand is engraved on the metal pull in the lower half closer to the leather pull. The zip pulls must not flop down or hang down from the zip line – it must remain parallel to the zipper at all times.
The hardware on a real Hermès zipper must be more of a matte finish and not shiny. It should be easy to use and not require too much pulling to open or close.
8. Lock and Key
Birkin bags come with its distinctive padlock and key design on the front. The padlock must have an Hermès engraving on the bottom like the other hardware pieces on the bag. Since 2000, both the lock and keys have been stamped with the brand and numbered. The numbers on the lock correspond to the number engraved on the keys.
The keys are directly attached to a leather band, and it must sit neatly inside the leather clochette that loops through the bag’s handle. If there are key rings, it’s fake. A fake bag also tends to have a key that’s sticking out of the bottom of the clochette, and will not be entirely concealed when fit in fully.
Finally, the clochette in an authentic Birkin must be made of one piece of leather folded in half and stitched. If it’s made up of two pieces of leather sewn together, it’s fake.
9. Blind Stamp
For checking the authenticity of a Birkin and Kelly bag, it is also essential to check the blind stamp. Since 1945, Hermès used blind stamps to date bags with the letters of the alphabet. It indicates the manufacture date of the bag. Beside the date, there is a letter that corresponds to that specific year, as well as a shape like a circle, square, or rectangle surrounding the letter.
The blind stamp also coincides with the type and color of the bag’s leather. Specific colors and leather types were only used in certain years, so you can tell if a Hermès bag is real if the color, leather, and blind stamp coincide with each other.
This stamp can be found either behind the strap on the front of a Birkin bag or inside the bag on the right hand side. Fake Hermès stamps would be found very deep in the leather, and the cut of the leather trip isn’t as neat as on a genuine Birkin.
Birkin and Kelly bags come with a number associated with the product to indicate the exact measurement of the bag’s base in centimeters. A knock-off may say it’s a “Birkin 35,” but if the base’s length does not measure exactly 35 centimeters, it’s a fake. It’s also useful to note what sizes the Birkin bags do not come in. They usually come in sizes 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 centimeters. If the bag states “Birkin 20” or “Birkin 55,” you’ll know they are fake.
11. Dust Bag
The Hermès logo on the dust bag for Birkin bags must be set in one or two rings, depending on when the dust bag was made. The color of the dust bag will also vary depending on the year. Vintage ones are a tan velour, while newer dust bags are in orange cotton flannel. Post-2007 dust bags are beige and light brown. Usually, fake dust bags have a gray color, with a burgundy-colored stamp.
The drawstring is always brown and purely made of cotton. The dust bags also come with a rain cover that’s soft to the touch.
12. Authenticity Card
Here’s an easy one – a real Hermès bag doesn’t come with an authenticity card. They never have and likely never will. If you purchased a Birkin with an authenticity card, they are overcompensating because it’s fake. You may use this info as a trick to spot a fake and a genuine one. If the seller is legitimate, they’ll correct you and say Hermès never puts authenticity cards with their handbags.
Let’s face it – a genuine Birkin costs big bucks. If it’s listed for a price that seems too low, it’s probably a fake. If you’re buying a pre-loved or a secondhand Birkin, the most affordable ones may range around $10,000. Meanwhile, the most exotic ones are found at around $150,000. Many fake Hermès bags are priced at a couple of thousand dollars and are of very excellent quality. Just think why someone would sell a real Hermès at a low price when they could get much money for it.