How do I Know I'm Buying an Authentic Hermès Bag?

How do I Know I'm Buying an Authentic Hermès Bag?

The best way to guarantee your Hermès bag is authentic is by purchasing it from a reputable dealer, like Madison Avenue Couture. But if you’ve been gifted or purchased a bag elsewhere, you will want to check it for the following features.

The Embossed Logo 

Hermès Logo


First thing to check is the iconic Hermès logo, an embossed stamp located on the front of the bag under the flap, below the stitching.

It should read “Hermès Paris Made in France” on three lines, with the lettering smaller on each line. Authentic logos are of block letters that are equally spaced, as are the spaces between the lines.  However, since the letters are embossed on the bag, the lettering may be affected by the texture of the leather or skin.  As a result, there may be parts of the logo where the embossment is lighter or absent or has spread to the letter next to it or beneath it.

In contrast, most fake Hermès bags have printed or pressed-in lettering. The letters are often not consistent in font, size, or direction and the spacing between the letters may be uneven. Also, the accent over the second E in HERMÈS may be too light or absent.


The Leather or Skin

Hermès Birkin Detail of Veins

Authentic Hermès bags are made from the highest quality leathers and skins.  The sources and tanning processes vary so that bags will have unique characteristics.  For example, one Togo leather Birkin may have many veins, while another may have none.  A minor imperfection in an Hermes leather bag is not unusual.

Variations in authentic Hermès exotic bags are even more common.  Scales on virtually every crocodile and alligator bag are different.  In fact, people can often identify their bag by the pattern of the scales.  Hermès collectors often select bags based on the number and pattern of the scales.  Minor creasing or lines through scales are also common to authentic Hermès crocodile and alligator bags.

In comparison, counterfeit bags often are too “perfect.” For example, counterfeit “Togo” leather bags are typically highly textured with an unusual consistency throughout.  Crocodile bags are often not made of skin but of embossed leather and have perfect and consistent scales.  


The Stitching

Hermès Birkin Stitching Detail

Every Hermès bag is handmade and painstakingly hand-stitched. Due to the handcrafting, the stitching will not be perfectly symmetrical all over the entire bag, giving authentic Hermès handbags a unique touch.  Stitches typically have a slight upward sweep and while stitches are singular, there may be some double stitches notably on the clochette and back of the bag where the handles are attached.  Hermès artisans finish the stitching in the inside of the bag under the flap so don’t be surprised if that area is less than perfect.

In comparison, counterfeit Hermès bags are typically machine stitched and will have uniform straight small stitches.  Even hand-stitched counterfeit Hermès bags lack the pattern typical of an authentic bag.


The Hardware

Hermès Birkin Hardware Detail 

Authentic hardware on Hermès bags is always plated or finished in a genuine precious metal, typically palladium or gold. On rare bags you might find brushed gold, rose gold, or ruthenium finishes. The hardware on new bags is sealed in plastic. The plaques, or hardware on the front straps of Birkin and Kelly bags are engraved with HERMÈS-PARIS.  On gold plated bags, there is a symbol after the PARIS which is not present on palladium plated bags.  The font and spacing of this engraving can vary but counterfeit bags cannot achieve the same lettering as authentic bags.

The rest of the hardware can also indicate if a bag is authentic or not. On authentic Birkin and Kelly bags the feet are secure and cannot rotate or come off.  Similarly, the toggle and back plate should also be secure and the toggle should turn smoothly.

Finally, the rivets that hold the hardware in place have a particular shape that is almost impossible to replicate on counterfeit bags.


The Lining

Hermès Birkin Lining Detail

Almost all recently produced Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are lined in chevre or goatskin, a lightly textured and very durable leather with a touch of sheen. Fake Birkins and Kellys are lined in leather or faux leather and do not have the richness of chevre.


The Date And Craft Stamp

Hermès Birkin Date Stamp Detail

Authentic Hermès handbags have a Blind Stamp embedded into the leather that include the year that the handbag was manufactured and the code for the artisan that produced the bag. Location of the Blind Stamp depends on the handbag style and year. Toward the end of 2015, Hermès relocated the Blind Stamp on Birkin and Kelly bags from the back of the closure strap to inside of the bag on the left gusset.  Current Blind Stamps start with the Date Code (year of production), followed by a series of numbers and letters with two letters below.  


The Inside Zipper

Hermès Birkin Zipper Detail

Hermès makes its own zippers that feature the HERMÈS name engraved with its lower half towards the end of the metal zipper pull.  A matching metal letter “H” is at the end of the zipper.

Zipping a Hermès bag should feel like a luxurious experience, it should never catch or be difficult to open or close. Similar to the rest of the bag’s structure, the zipper pull should not hang down at a 90 degree angle from the zip line. It should remain parallel to the zipper at all times. The metal used on an authentic Hermès zipper would be more of a matte finish as opposed to a shiny metal.


The Lock And Keys

Hermès Birkin Clochette Detail

Authentic Birkin and Kelly Hermès bags will include a lock and set of keys. 

The lock is engraved with “HERMÈS” on the bottom, matching the other hardware on the bag. The number on the lock should match the number engraved on the accompanying keys. The keys should be attached on a leather string and fit neatly inside the leather clochette. On a fake Hermès bag, the lock and keys may not match the hardware of the bag and will feel lighter weight than authentic Hermès lock and keys and may not fit entirely fit in the clochette. 


The Accompaniments

Hermès Dust Bag Detail

Hermès’ current dust bag is a beige herringbone of high quality durable cotton. 

The signature “Le Duc” logo is on the front encased in a double circle.  On authentic bags, the logo is crisp, whereas it tends to be blurred on fake dust bags.  The strings at the top should also be thick and durable.

Similarly, counterfeit bags are often sold with fake accompaniments, such as the rain hat, the tissue paper, the box, and authenticity cards. Unlike many other designers, Hermès bags DO NOT include an authenticity card. Hermès has never issued an authenticity card, and most likely never will. Many counterfeit Hermès bags come with an orange plastic credit card that says “Hermès” on them. If the bag comes with one of these cards, it is most definitely a fake. 

Ultimately, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Hermès is a luxury brand, and unsurprisingly it has a luxury price tag.  An authentic excellent used Hermès leather bag will not cost below $10,000, with most new ones being upward of twice that amount.  Authentic new crocodile bags typically cost more than $50,000, with the premium bags like the Himalaya in the six figures.

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