Buying Your First Hermes Birkin Bag? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

hermes birkin bag black

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Have you ever wondered how the Hermes Birkin bag became the most coveted bag and has remained so for over three decades? It has become the most iconic ‘it' bag in the fashion industry, famed for its outstanding craftsmanship and jaw-dropping prices that continues to grow.

As one of the world's most sought luxury bags, the Birkin has long been the ultimate sign of status. From their iconic orange packaging to the long waiting lines, the Birkin bag is unrivaled in the luxury handbag world.

Buying your first Birkin bag is an excellent investment. But where do you start? How can you get your hands on a Birkin bag? What style, material, color, and size should you go with? Is it preferable to look for a brand-new or pre-loved bag? We answer all these questions and more in this guide.

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A Brief History of the Hermes Birkin Bag

The Hermès Birkin bag is a fashion icon, widely sought after by celebrities and handbag connoisseurs alike. Style icon Jane Birkin and Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas collaborated on the design of the Hermès bag.

In 1984, they met on a trip from Paris to London. Birkin admitted to Dumas that she needed a purse that was useful enough for her fast-paced lifestyle. The Birkin 40 in stylish calf box leather was conceived from this discourse. The Birkin's functional design, which includes two wrapped handles, a locking clasp, a flap top, and ‘clou' feet, is still popular today.

What makes a Hermès Birkin bag so special?

Because of its trademark Hermès workmanship and uniqueness, the Birkin remains a sought-after Hermès handbag. A Hermès bag takes at least 18 hours to make by trained artisans and is inscribed with a code that identifies the year of production, the workshop where it was manufactured, and the artisan who made it.

Customers must have a purchasing history with Hermès to purchase a new Birkin straight from the brand. Hermès tightly controls inventory and only permits shops to acquire a limited quantity of Birkins every two years. The kind of Birkin given to boutiques is a Birkin secret. As a result, buyers must accept the Birkin bags offered or patiently wait for the desired style to become available.

Therefore, you need to have a relationship with a sales associate at your closest Hermès boutique to get the scoop anytime particular Birkin bags are available for purchase.

An Hermès Birkin bag is an excellent investment piece because of its timeless elegance. Birkin bags cost anything from $10,000 for a typical leather Birkin design to more than $200,000 for a crocodile and diamond design. The bags are among the most sought-after Hermès bags.

What are the standard Birkin bag sizes?

Birkin bags are available in four sizes: Birkin 25, Birkin 30, Birkin 35, and Birkin 40. The length of a Birkin across the base in cm determines its size.

A Birkin 30, for example, measures 30 centimeters across the base of the bag. The Birkin 25 is spacious enough to hold your daily essentials, like your keys, makeup, etc., while the Birkin 30 may hold your essentials and your laptop or tablet.

The Birkin 35 can hold your necessities and a small laptop, while the Birkin 40 is widely used as a travel bag because it's spacious. The interior of all Birkins has one side pocket, and the rest of the bag is a single compartment. Even after years of usage, the bottom part of the bag retains its form and does not buckle.

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Materials used to make an Hermes Birkin Bag

Since Birkin's debut in 1984, the Birkin has been recreated several times with the use of leathers, exotic skins, and limited edition editions. The bag initially emerged in calfbox leather, a heritage leather, and Hermès' oldest leather. This leather has a remarkably smooth surface, lending Birkins an additional luxurious appearance.

The material is prone to scratches and watermarks, yet these flaws merge into the bag with time, providing a mirror-like texture. Ensure you store your calfbox Birkin away from moisture and softly buff any blemishes to blend them into the leather to keep it in good condition.

Togo leather is another traditional material for Birkin bags. This calfskin leather is named after the Togolese Republic in Africa and first appeared in 1997. Togo is a supple, matte textile that gradually gets shinier and softer. This material is also scratch-resistant, a big plus for collectors and anyone looking for a durable Hermès bag.

Other materials include Clemence, Epsom, and Fjord leather. Clemence Birkins frequently lose form with time. Epsom leather is the polar opposite of Clemence: it is incredibly firm and will keep the Birkin's structure over time. Fjord leather is durable, supple, waterproof, matte, and heavy. Evercolor leather which appeared in 2012 and is satiny, adds suppleness to a Birkin and is available in a broad range of “eternal” hues.

Birkins may be tailored to each unique buyer's preference because of the range of Hermès leathers.

Hermes Birkin Bag Hardware

Hermès Birkins are normally made with either palladium hardware or 18-karat gold-plated hardware. The front-facing lock closure, the zipper, a lock and set of keys, and metal feet called “clou” allow the Birkin bag always to stay upright are all part of the Birkin hardware.

Special edition Birkins may come with more distinctive hardware; 24-karat gold, permabrass brushed gold, brush palladium, ruthenium, guilloche, matte black, or rose gold hardware are rarer metals.

The 18-karat white gold-plated diamond-encrusted hardware featured on highly beautiful “Diamond Birkins” is the rarest. Hermès only makes a few Diamond Birkins each year, and are generally made of beautiful crocodile leather.

Buying a new vs. pre-loved Hermes Birkin bag

Because getting a Hermès bag directly from Hermes is difficult, the decision of whether to acquire a new or pre-loved bag dependent on how long you want your Hermes journey to be. Birkin bags are not cheap, and to buy an Hermes Birkin bag in-boutique is quite literally one of the hardest goals to achieve as a handbag connoisseur. What is understood is you should spend a considerable amount of money at an Hermes boutique and cultivate a relationship with a sales associate in order to be “offered” an Hermes Birkin bag.

If you opt for the pre-loved route, you cut to the chase and there's no wait time… so long as you have the cash. Buying an Hermes Birkin bag on the pre-loved market will likely cost you double (if not triple) the original cost of the bag. However, you don't have to play the Hermes “game” as it's called by buying a bunch of Hermes products that you don't necessarily want just to be offered a handbag.

The financial potential of Hermes bags has developed a market in which investors buy new Hermes bags with the express goal of reselling them. These bags are marketed in excellent condition at an auction or on the resale market and are the equivalent of purchasing a brand-new bag straight from the Hermès store. You can get your hands on excellent condition handbags by shopping preloved.

Sara Sargon is a self-proclaimed handbag connoisseur living in sunny California. She's a published journalism graduate with eight years of luxury fashion experience. Her work has contributed to Vogue, InStyle, Nylon, Marie Claire and more.

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