Hermès handbags have been on the wanted list of many individuals who desire the best in quality and craftsmanship. Perhaps none more than the famous Hermes Birkin Handbag named after the famous actress Jane Birkin who posed nude alongside Brigitte Bardot in the late 60’s. The Hermes brand name and especially the birkin bag is one of the few that holds their value and even increases in value as an investment vehicle. Finding a place to buy a Birkin Handbag can be almost impossible.
Hermès Birkin handbags are hand-crafted by experienced craftsmen, taking up to 48 hours to manufacture. Most Hermes boutiques have a waiting list that can have a wait of up to two years to get a Birkin bag. The boutiques never know when a new shipment of Birkin Handbags will be delivered or how many they may get in which creates the exclusivity and shortage. Therefore, it can be difficult to buy a Birkin Handbag for lack of finding one to buy.
The inside lining of a Hermes Birkin Handbag is usually made with goat skin with an exterior matching color. The exterior leather is chosen from crocodile, goat, ostrich and calf hide and is processed using the finest methods available today. These skins have an extremely soft look and feel which sets them apart form many of the fake look alike handbags. Make sure you know your bag before you buy a Birkin Handbag you do not want to get ripped off. Perhaps the most expensive Birkin Handbag are the ones made out of saltwater crocodile leather with the smaller scales.
Even though there are a few people fortunate enough to be able to special order a Birkin Handbag expect a good one to two year wait if you get it at all. So where do you go to buy a Birkin Handbag? Well, you might try a friend you know has one and see if they will sell it to you. Good luck with that! You could fly over to Paris and try a Hermes Boutique but there are no guarantees with that either. Or you could hop over to an auction and see what is being auctioned off at the moment. Just be careful to make sure that you buy an authentic Birkin Handbag and not a knock-off. Unless of course you want to save a bunch of cash and pick up a look alike.
The exterior of the bag can be made of a variety of leathers. One of the most expensive variations of the bag is made of saltwater crocodile skin. The price of these bags depends on the size of the scales. Bags with smaller scales cost much more than those with larger scales.
Typically, a Birkin bag’s lining is made of goat skin and its color will match the bag’s exterior color. The bags can also be special-ordered from custom leathers and colors, but order privileges are granted only to certain established Hermès clients, and again, on an unpredictable basis. Orders are reportedly submitted to Paris twice a year, with “special-order” bags coming back anywhere from a year to 2 years later.
The metallic hardware on a Birkin bag (the lock, keys, buckle hardware and feet studs) are typically plated with gold or other precious metals, such palladium, which, unlike silver, will not tarnish. The metal lock may be covered with leather as an option when custom ordering. Some clients have paved buckle hardware with diamonds, notoriously resulting in one black crocodile skin Birkin which notably sold for close to $65,000 at auction in 2005.
Birkin lock keys are enclosed in a type of leather lanyard known as a “clochette” which is typically, but not necessarily, carried by looping it through one of a Birkin’s handles. The Birkin bag may be locked by closing the bag’s top flaps over all buckle loops, wrapping the buckle straps, and closing the lock on the front hardware.
Because of the high profile of the Hermès brand and the high prices attached to their products, there is a significant amount of counterfeit Hermès merchandise produced and sold, some of which ends up on online retail and auction websites such as eBay.
Authenticity can sometimes be determined by the presence of these characteristics:
- Appropriate pricing – a Birkin in any vendable condition will never sell for less than 50% of its original value.
- Even stitching
- Gilt or blind stamped in the front face under the tap: “Hermès Paris, Made in France”
- Craftsman’s marks and letter year of manufacture stamped in a square underside of right belt. The year of manufacture should be consistent with condition and history of bag
- Interior leather zipper tag parallel with zipper hardware, not perpendicular
- Feel of superior leather. The touch and weight of fine leather are not easily duplicated.
It is OK to buy a designer bag via eBay or other online services you just need to be careful that it is an authentic Birkin bag.