The Birkin Guide: 11 Ways to Spot an Authentic Hermès Bag
Hermès Birkin bags are among the most expensive handbags in the world, ranging from ₱400,000 to approximately ₱63 million. Even if these bags are on the high-end scale, the price point doesn’t stop fashionistas and bag collectors from getting their hands on one of the world’s most coveted bags.
What makes this purse a must-have is its iconic look, made possible by the precise craftsmanship required in producing the piece. Its luxurious leather material escalates its value as well. However, since millions of luxury fashion lovers are looking to add this Hermès bag to their collection, counterfeiters take this as an opportunity to create copies of this prized bag.
The quality of fake Birkin bags ranges from poorly done to almost a lookalike. The fashion market is filled with sophisticated Birkin counterfeits, which is why spotting authentic Hermès bags is becoming increasingly difficult. But, don’t fret! There are ways you can tell the real Hermès from a fake one.
11 Signs an Hermès Birkin is Authentic
Fake Hermès bags may be sophisticatedly done, but there are always tells in counterfeits. If you know what you’re looking for, you can spot the authentic Hermès bag from a sea of fakes. Here are some tips on how to tell if an Hermès Birkin bag is authentic.
1. The Birkin comes in four main sizes
Source: Madison Avenue Couture
Birkin sizes are standardized. The bag’s width across the bottom comes in 25, 30, 35, and 40-centimeter sizes. Typical counterfeit sizes are 30 and 35.
Birkin Sizes (in cm)
- 25 – 25 x 20 x 13
- 30 – 30 x 22 x 16
- 35 – 35 x 25 x 18
- 40 – 40 x 30 x 21
One way to know if a Birkin is authentic is by measuring the bag. Hermès artisans are precise with their measurements, producing every genuine bag with exact measurements. If a Birkin is a couple of centimeters off, the purse may be a fake.
2. The bag’s shape is crisp and pronounced
An authentic Birkin handbag looks elegant with its unmistakable silhouette and crisp lines. When standing, it should be neat without any section bulging or slouching.
Check the handles if they can stand straight up and rigid on their own. Fake Hermès bags can have misshapen handles. You can also measure the distance between the top of the bag and the top of the handles. If you’re looking at a real Birkin, it should be 12.7 cm.
3. The hardware is refined and doesn’t tarnish
Birkin bags have two types of hardware: palladium and plated gold. The hardware should have an evenly laser-etched “HERMÈS PARIS” font. In gold hardware bags, there’s a hallmark after the “PARIS,” whereas palladium-finish bags don’t have one.
Sources (left): Chelsea Vintage Couture, World’s Best (right)
Precious metals cause authentic Hermès bags to be quite on the heavy side. Check the hardware by feeling the weight of the bag’s studs, lock, and keys. If the hardware feels light, it’s a red flag.
Hermès also uses hardware with a clean matte finish. Birkins with shiny hardware are most likely made from cheap metal. Whether your bag is Hermès or Louis Vuitton, always remember that authentic hardware doesn’t tarnish.
4. The lock is smooth and has no blemishes
Hermès Birkin bags have a padlock and key in front. Take a close look at the lock. It shouldn’t have any blemishes or burrs. The Hermès engraving should be clear and precise, too.
The number codes on the padlocks represent the batch number when the locks were made, meaning it can be the same for hundreds of other bags. Early Hermès bags only had one number on the bottom of the lock, but in recent years, the company added a second number on the stamp.
The lock’s finish should also be the same as the other hardware of the bag. It should feel heavier than a fake one since it’s made from precious metals.
5. The keys are made of high-quality metal
The key in an original Birkin is made of high-quality metal, like the rest of the bag’s hardware. Fake Hermès keys look toy-like as they’re much bigger. The details are also not as bold as the authentic ones.
Additionally, you can see that the fake number code is in a larger font than the original. You should also check if the number on the keys corresponds to the number on the lock. The number engraved on the lock and the keys should be the same.
6. The words in the signature stamp are evenly lined up
If you don’t know how to look for the authenticity of an Hermès brand stamp, you can easily be deceived. The Hermès signature stamp is heat-pressed on the bag. Counterfeiters heat-press the logos too but will do it deeper than the original, leaving a messy indent on the leather.
Run your fingers along the bag’s logo and feel if it’s on top of the leather, not pressed into it. Further, the logo’s font should be consistent, evenly spaced, perfectly centered, and reads “Hermès Paris Made in France.”
7. The cutout of the inside seam is clean
For an authentic Birkin bag, the sew lines and cutouts should be flawless. Fake bags have rough cutouts as if they’re hastily cut without care.
8. The stitches are slightly angled from one another
Source: Legit Check by Ch
Hermès bags are handmade and hand-stitched, which means there would be imperfections, but not to the point that the stitches are out of place or out of line. Authentic Hermès features a saddle stitch, a kind of stitch where the lines are slightly angled from one another. If the stitches are perfectly in line with each other, it’s probably machine-stitched and a sign that the bag is a fake.
9. The blind stamp is crisp and neat
Hermès uses date codes to authenticate their bags. These codes are called blind stamps or date stamps. If the bag has letters from A to Z and is not surrounded by a shape, it means that your bag was made between 1945 and 1970. For blind stamps surrounded by a circle, the bag was made between 1971 and 1996.
Recently, Hermès stopped using shapes in their blind stamps but have added more letters and numbers, which will indicate the atelier or workshop where the bag was created. Counterfeit Birkins will either have no blind stamp whatsoever or have blind stamps but with large shapes or deep embellishments. So, make sure you double-check the bag’s date code and quality to know if it’s authentic.
10. The date stamp is often embossed on the inside of the bag
As mentioned, Hermès Birkin bags come with codes indicating when they were manufactured. These codes are often found inside the bag or a place where it cannot be readily seen from the outside. In particular, they are embossed on either the interior panel of the bag, on the strap, or under the tab, depending on the model.
11. The piping lasts for decades even if the bag is well-used
Hermès bags are made from high-quality materials, so they aren’t easily damaged or worn down. Even after years of use, a Birkin bag should age gracefully and not look fretted. You can tell that the bag is fake if the black cord shows from the piping after several months of regular use. This wouldn’t happen to an original bag.
Buy the Real Deal
The Hermès Birkin bag is one of the most coveted and expensive bags in the world, making it a must-have for luxury item collectors. As the great desire for this bag increases, its counterfeit versions continue to flood the market, too. Therefore, knowing how to authenticate a Birkin makes it less likely that you’ll fall for a fake.
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