How to Spot Fake Hermès Bags: 6 Ways to Tell Real Purses

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Hermès bags are some of the most coveted in the world. Signature Hermès bags such as the Kelly and the Birkin can go for tens of thousands of dollars, but are definitely worth the price due to its first-class design and quality that lasts decades.

Even if you can’t shell out hefty amounts of cash for the most popular Hermès bags, the brand offers other kinds of bags at lower prices, with the same level of craftsmanship you can expect from them.

Kim Kardashian carrying an authentic black Hermes Birkin bagKim Kardashian carrying an authentic black Hermes Birkin bag

Be careful with counterfeit bags, though. Last year, 22 people were caught by the U.S. Department of Justice smuggling millions worth of counterfeit luxury goods to the U.S.A. from China.

With counterfeit designer bags becoming more of a problem these days, it’s good to know what separates the real bags from the fake.

Where to Purchase Authentic Hermès Bags

Hermès bags are sold at the brand’s official website and all over the world at various physical retail stores, though getting a specific bag you have in mind may be tricky.

Hermès boutiques offer different collections based on what’s ordered by the store director twice a year, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for new arrivals during these times.

Kylie Jenner holds up her blue Hermès Birkin bag while shopping at Barneys New York in 2016Kylie Jenner holds up her blue Hermès Birkin bag while shopping at Barneys New York in 2016

It is also possible to buy Hermès bags from stores unaffiliated with Hermès, but these places are generally where counterfeits can be sold as well.

So, if you’re looking to buy a Hermès bag from one of these stores, here are some tips to help you figure out if what you’re buying is the real deal or not.

1. Make Sure It Doesn’t Come with an Authenticity Card

One of the easiest ways to tell if a Hermès bag is a counterfeit is to check if it has an authenticity card. Funnily enough, Hermès bags with authenticity cards are actually fake.

This is because Hermès bags do not come with authenticity cards at all. They never have, and likely never will.

2. Check the Leather

Hermès bags use genuine, high-quality leather, and different bags can come in different leather variants. Some Hermès bags are made with calf and buffalo leather, while the more exotic pieces are designed using crocodile, alligator, and ostrich leather.

Regardless of leather type, though, Hermes leather has a few things in common. Inspect the leather and make sure it’s soft and has a somewhat uneven pattern.

Animal rights organization Peta and German actress Alexandra Kamp protesting against the use of crocodile skin outside the Hermes fashion show in Paris, FranceAnimal rights organization Peta and German actress Alexandra Kamp protesting against the use of crocodile skin outside the Hermes fashion show in Paris, France

Hermès bags use genuine leather, and genuine leather doesn’t have perfect patterns, so if you spot a Hermès bag with leather that looks manufactured, take that as a red flag.

3. Look for the Logo

Another good place to inspect is the logo of the bag. Hermès bags have their brand name located on the bag’s hardware plate. Key features of a genuine Hermès bag’s logo are its perfectly centered position on the plate and the font of the logo itself.

Introduced in the early 1950s, the iconic orange logo of Hermes features a Duc carriage attached to a horseIntroduced in the early 1950s, the iconic orange logo of Hermes features a Duc carriage attached to a horse

As a general rule of thumb, newer versions of Hermès bags have slightly thinner fonts than their older counterparts. Keep an eye out for the accent on the second letter “e” of the Hermès title as well.

4. Inspect the Blind Stamp

One of the more popular ways to check for the authenticity of a Hermès bag, especially for Kells and Birkins, is a blind stamp. The blind stamp is an indicator of the bag’s manufacture date.

Printed beside the date is a letter that corresponds to that specific year, as well as a symbol such as a circle, square, or rectangle typically surrounding the letter.

Demet Oger shopping at Hermes on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, CaliforniaDemet Oger shopping at Hermes on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California

One important thing to note about the blind stamp is that it also coincides with the type and color of the bag’s leather. Certain leather types and colors are only used in certain years, and you can tell if a Hermès bag is genuine if the leather, color, and blind stamp coincide with each other.

5. Pay Attention to the Stitching

One aspect of a bag that many counterfeits just can’t seem to replicate is the quality of the stitching.

Immaculate stitching on a Hermès bag in Epsom calfskin with one pocket, two compartments and permabrass plated hardwareImmaculate stitching on a Hermès bag in Epsom calfskin with one pocket, two compartments and permabrass plated hardware

Hermès bags have first-class stitching done on their bags, meaning that any inconsistencies or flaws in the Hermès bag’s design can be an indicator that the bag may be a counterfeit.

6. Examine the Hardware

Lastly, make sure to take a look at the hardware of a Hermès bag. Hermès bags (especially the signature Kellys and Birkins) are made with high-grade metals such as gold or palladium.

Aside from this, the material used is consistent throughout the bag, so if you see any differences in the material on the bag, then that bag may just be a fake.

Hardware on a clutch in Swift calfskin with interior back pocket and palladium plated Collier de Chien closureHardware on a clutch in Swift calfskin with interior back pocket and palladium plated Collier de Chien closure

If you’re buying a used bag, you can also look for any sort of wear on the material. For example, palladium on Hermès bags show black when worn, so if you see any other color such as gold, then it’s probably not the real deal.

Questions Regarding Hermes

Q: What is Hermès?

A: Named after its founder, Thierry Hermès, Hermès is a luxury goods manufacturer that designs items such as jewelry, leather bags, and perfumes, among other products.

The brand was founded in 1837 as a horse harness making shop in Paris and is most well-known for its handbags, such as the Kelly and the Birkin.

Q: What is a Birkin?

A: A Birkin is a popular Hermès handbag variant that is named after famous actress Jane Birkin.

The bag was originally designed in the 1980s by Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas, who was seated next to Jane Birkin on a flight to London. Jean-Louis Dumas designed the bag based on what Jane Birkin described as the dream bag.

Q: Where can I find the Hermès bag that I want?

A: It’s difficult to get the Hermès bag you’re looking for. As mentioned earlier, Hermès stores have their own collection of luxury goods that varies from store to store.

This is due to the fact that each store director orders independently, meaning that even Hermès itself doesn’t know which bags will be available for sale next.

Generally, store directors place orders twice a year, so make sure to check at the nearest outlet if you can to see what they’re selling.

What is the most expensive Hermès bag?

According to Barrons, a new world record was set in 2010 when a rare, limited edition matte black niloticus crocodile Birkin sold for HK$1.625 million (US$208,000) at British auction house Christie’s in Hong Kong.

How much is a new Birkin bag?

The cost of new Birkins ranges from around $14,000 to more than $200,000. It’s not known how much Kim Kardashian paid for her custom Birkin featuring a nude painting by a famous contemporary artist, George Condo.

Credit: Michael Wright / WENN / Winston Burris

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