HOW TO SPOT A FAKE BIRKIN
Below are a few tips to help you recognise a fake Hermès Birkin bag
Each year, Hermès produces lists of colors and leather options. They ensure that the leather matches with the color so keep in mind that all colors are not made in every type of leather.
Birkins come in a variety of leathers, including taurillon novillo, box calf, Chamonix, togo, taurillon clemence, veau swift, epsom and fjord. Exotic leathers include alligator, crocodile, lizard and ostrich. You may also come across what is known an as Hermès HSS. These are bags made under special order, and the color/leather combination may be different than other types of Birkin handbags.
The way the Birkin stands is a good indicator of authenticity. It stands up straight thanks to the quality leather that keeps the Birkin in constant shape. With any type of leather the Birkin always has a beautiful ‘posture’ and the same goes for the handles, which stand straight up and down no matter what.
Birkins has two interior pockets, a zipped pocket and an open pocket. As for the measures they are usually 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm and 50cm centimeters but the latter is less common as it is quite heavy, and the smallest size is considered one of the hardest to get your hands on in an Hermès store. The Kelly bag however has the following sizes: 20cm, 25cm, 28cm, 32cm, 35cm, 40cm.
Stitching is handmade by experienced artisans, so the thread may have some minor irregularities. Please refer to the picture, , and you will notice the stitches are slightly angled, tight and very precise.
THE TURNSTILE LOCK/KEY/CLOCHETTE
Since 2000, both the lock and keys have been stamped with the brand’s name and numbered. The numbers on the lock correspond with those on the keys. Don’t be misled by the style of numbering which has changed throughout the course of Hermès’ history.
Counterfeiters normally use the numbers 121, 212, and 102. When you twist the toggle on the bag, it opens smoothly. Toggles on fake bags will have some resistance and won’t feel as smooth when twisted. The usual rule of thumb: if it doesn’t feel ‘right’, it probably is fake.
Hermès attaches keys directly to a leather band: they are enclosed in a leather clochette that loops through the bag’s handle. Last thing to check, on real bags the clochettes are always made from one piece of leather only, folded at top and sewn on the sides. You should be able to tell that the bag is fake if the clochette is made up of two pieces of leather sewn together on three sides.
Hermès hardware is made in either palladium, plated gold or rose gold that features small markings indicating that it’s gold plated. Rarer bags feature brushed gold, silver, brushed silver, or ruthenium finishes.
The lock and keys feel heavy and are made of high quality, it should never tarnish or look cheap. The engraving on the authentic bag’s hardware, is thin and refined, but the engraving on the fake bag’s hardware is deeper, wider, and the letters are further apart.
On the zipper of an authentic Birkin, the name Hermès is engraved on the metal pull with its lower half toward the leather pull. Hermès zips never flop down or hang down at a 90 ° angle from the zip line: they should always remain parallel to the zipper . This is an important element to check as usually that’s a very easy sign that you are in front of a fake Hermès bag. Remember: if the inner zipper hangs down while the bag stands up straight, you’ll know what you’re seeing isn’t an authentic Hermès Birkin handbag.
HERMES LOGO: THE STAMP
The Hermès Logo is a stamp on the bag that reads “Hermès Paris Made in France”. It is featured in a delicate, uniform and neat font that is not affected by the texture of the leather, and is properly centered. Red flag if it looks spotty, irregular blocky and placed unevenly.
The position of the logo can also be a giveaway: it should always be embossed just below the stitching. Many stamps of fake bags may be printed on or positionned too far from the stitching.
The label stamp can have additional markings, such as those indicating an exotic leather or a SO ( stands for Special Order - marked by a HorseShoe Sign, see picture) known as HSS.
Another secret giveaway of the Birkin’s authenticity is the accuracy of French grammar. The Hermès accent must always be grave, that means pointing to the left and upward: “è.” If you see it written ‘e’ instead of ‘è’, you would know you’re in front of a fake handbag.
THE SECOND “BLIND” STAMP
A secret stamp was introduced by Hermès in 1945, they started dating bags with letters of the alphabet and all their leather items should have a ‘blind’ stamp.
Hermès started with the first letter of the alphabet A and ended, 25 years later, in 1970, with Z. From 1945 to 1970, no shapes were used back then. Then the cycle began again, with the addition of a new notation From 1971 to 1996, a circle shape is used. From 1997 to present, a square shape is used. On the Birkin this information was found on the underside of the tab strap. But everything changed in the last couple of years, surprising collectors, and confounding counterfeiters.
Below is the list that shows the year made, and the letter that would be stamped on the bag based on that year. At the top of every list is the shape that the letter would be framed inside.
Additional numbers/letters appearing next to the blind stamp indicate the section at the atelier (leather manufacture) where the artisan bag maker works.
HERMES AUTHENTICATION AND BLIND STAMP GUIDE
This “blind” stamp also featured the artisan’s ID and an indicator of exotic skins (if applicable); “square” for alligator, ‘••’. for Niloticus crocodile, and the symbol used for Porosus crocodile is a caret (^) next to the Hermès (see picture), Made in France logo displayed on each product and finally “-“ for lizard.
Hermès date stamps help to authenticate Hermès bags but be careful as date stamps can be faked! Always make sure you purchase from a recommended and trusted supplier like Duke of Luxury.
All bags should come with the original receipt, box and accessories and if the price is too good to be true, it is probably a fake.
NO AUTHENTICITY CARD & SERIAL STICKER
Hermès never has provided customers with ‘authenticity cards’ .If you are offered one by a reseller, that’s a big red flag as these ‘cards’ do not exist.
DUST BAG & RAIN COVER
Birkins handbags come in a high quality dust bag, with a neat stitch count. Post-2007 dust bags are a beige and light brown Herringbone Toile. They usually have a brown Hermès logo printed on the recto. Depending on when the dust bag was made, some may feature the Hermès logo inside either one or two rings. Regarding the accessories, you will find in your Hermès orange box a rain cover, which is soft to the touch. On a separate note, the rain cover cannot be purchased in store and is only given when you purchase a bag. If the bag your reseller offers you doesn’t have it, it probably is either fake, or vintage handbag.