How to Authenticate a Hermès Bag and Spot a Fake
Undeniably the “crème de la crème” of all luxury handbags is the Hermès. Craftsmanship, exclusivity, sophistication, and quality are what you can expect from Hermès, but what if these expectations have been compromised? What if your purchase isn’t the real deal? Chances are if you don’t leave it up to the experts, you’re purchasing a fake!
Knock-off Hermès bags are becoming more and more sophisticated creating a serious problem within the luxury handbag industry, especially for online consignment stores. But don’t lose hope!! With companies like Lux Second Chance taking the time and effort to rigorously authenticate each piece in our inventory, we thought we’d share quick tips and tricks for authenticating Hermès for yourself. Besides the obvious signs in appearances of a fake Hermès such as poorer quality in color, structure, and fabric, here are the nitty-gritty details that can really help you spot a real vs fake Hermès bag!
1. Check the Logo Stamp
The logo stamp on the inside of any Hermès should read “Hermès Paris Made in France”. The marking should be clear and precise. The logo stamp is always embossed on the material using a method called heat stamping. Many fakes will feature stamps that have been printed or pressed on very deep into the leather. The fonts have changed over the years, so don’t panic if yours is different from another Hermès you’ve seen. In most recent years, the fonts have become very thin. The placement of the logo stamp should also sit right below the stitching and not too far down, otherwise that could be an indication of a fake.
2. Examine the Stitching
Each bag is hand-crafted by professional artisans thoroughly trained in constructing luxury goods; specifically Hermès goods. When examining the stitching on a Hermès bag you are going to look for the signature saddle stitching that is customary to their handbags. You would expect a luxury item such as a Hermès to have completely flawless stitching; this is not the case. If the saddle stitching is completely flawless that could be a sign that it is factory made by a machine as opposed to a human hand. Although each bag is crafted by professional artisans and are perfect in appearance, subtle signs of imperfections in the stitching demonstrate that it is made by the hand and not by a machine. The stitching on the inside of the bag is made with just as much care as the outside of the bag. There should be no loose threads and should still be neatly done by hand.
In addition, you will notice the saddle stitching on the base of the handles is a double-stitch on a real Hermès. Some fakes will not have this double-stitching which would be a dead giveaway, however, really good counterfeit products may include this detailed feature.
3. Check the Hardware
Each piece of hardware on a Hermès bag will feature unique details which can help authenticate the bag. Generally speaking, most Hermès bag feature hardware with a palladium or gold plated finish. On rare bags you might find brushed gold, silver, brushed silver, or ruthenium finishes. The hardware should never show too much wear or peeling, but slight tarnishing is possible over time with extended use and wear. On a Birkin or Kelly bag, the hardware on the front straps where the lock would sit are engraved with “Hermès-Paris” in neat, crisp, and evenly spaced font directly under the rectangle opening for the lock. Gold-plated hardware will have a hallmark on the left of the Hermès-Paris stamp. Non-gold hardware plates will not have this hallmark stamp.
4. Inspect the Zipper
Zippers on the inside of Hermès bags come with a distinct design element. An ‘H’ will be found at the exact end of the zipper. This should be a clean, even, sans serif upper case ‘H’. However, older models of Hermès bags may only have a neat square at the end of the zipper. If your bag has a square at the end of the zipper, that doesn’t necessarily make it a fake, but rather just an older model.
Additionally, the metal on a real Hermès zipper would be more of a matte finish as oppose to a shiny metal. The zipper on a real Hermès would be easy to use and should not require too much pulling to open to close. The zipper itself should remain parallel to the zipper line at all times. If the zipper hangs at a 90 degree angle from the zipper line or flops down, that is a sign of a fake. The mechanism used on an authentic zipper is of superior quality and is set to hold the zipper in a parallel position.
5. Examine the Padlock and Key
Birkin and Kelly Hermès bags will come with a padlock and key on the front. The padlock would have a Hermès engraving on the bottom like the other hardware on the bag. The number on the lock corresponds to the number engraved on the accompanying keys. The key should sit neatly inside the leather clochette attached to the same leather strap as the padlock and be totally concealed when not in use. On a fake Hermès, the key will be sticking out of the bottom of the clochette ever so slightly and will not entirely fit in fully concealed. Additionally, the clochette on a real Hermès bag should be made of one piece of leather folded in half and stitched, not two pieces.
6. Verify the Date Stamp
Depending on the year of the bag, each Hermès will have a unique date stamp with a letter accompanied by either a circle, a square, or no shape depending on the year it was made. For your reference, we have included a chart of Hermès date stamps according to year below. The stamp will also feature the artisan’s ID and an indicator of exotic skins if applicable. You can find the date stamp in one of two places, behind the strap on the front of a Birkin or in the inside of the bag on the right hand side of newer models. A fake Hermès date stamp would be very deep in the leather and the cut of the leather trim isn’t as neat as on a real Birkin.
7. Measure the Hermès Bag
Birkin and Kelly bags will come with a number associated to the product such as a ‘Kelly 35’ or ‘Birkin 40’ bag; this is the exact measurement of the base of the bag. By simply measuring the length of the base of the bag you should get that exact number in centimetres. A knock-off may say it’s a ‘Kelly 35’ bag, but if the length of the base does not measure to exactly 35 centimetres, it’s a fake. It is also useful to note what sizes Kelly or Birkin bags do not come in. If the bag states ‘Birkin 55’ or ‘Kelly 20’ you will know they are fake because Hermès does not offer bags in those sizes.
8. Examine the Dust Bag
The Hermès logo on the dust bag for Birkin or Kelly bags should be set in either one or two rings, depending on when the dust cover was made. To authenticate the small details of the Hermès logo on the dust bag, compare it to a picture of the genuine Hermès logo. The color of the dust bag will vary depending on the year. For example, vintage dust bags are a tan velour, newer dust bags are orange cotton flannel, and post-2007 dust bags are a beige and light brown Herringbone Toile. Fake dust bags often come in a grey color and feature a burgundy colored stamp.
9. Authenticity Card
This may be the easiest feature to distinguish a fake Hermès from the real deal. Hermès does not issue authenticity cards with their bags. They never have and likely never will. If you’ve purchased a Hermès bag and received an authenticity card with it that looks very legitimate, it is most definitely a fake. Use this trick and ask about it when inquiry about the authenticity of a bag. If the seller is legitimate and knows their stuff, they’ll correct you and say Hermès never includes authenticity cards with their handbags.
We hope this helps you authenticate your latest finds and have peace of mind that you are getting the quality you paid for! For easy, authentic Hermès bags shop Lux Second Chance now for previously loved luxury goods!