Here are some things to look out for in order to tell the difference between an original Hèrmes Birkin bag and a replica.
#1 Shape: The shape of the bag should be firm and pronounced. It should not slouch or bulge at all regardless of its position.
#2 Leather: The leather of a Hèrmes Birkin bag is of the finest quality and should feel smooth and firm. It should not feel coarse. A replica bag usually has a plasticky feel to it.
#3 Stitching: All Hèrmes products are hand-stitched which means the stitching is going to be meticulous but it will not be absolutely perfect. The stitches should be neat and tight with no loose threads. The colour of the stitching typically matches the colour of the bag. Replica bags are usually machine-stitched so the stitching is uniform with the same distance apart and of the same size.
#4 Hardware: All hardware on Hèrmes bags – the lock, front buckle, zipper and bottom studs - are plated with either palladium or gold to prevent tarnishing. The hardware should look polished and of high quality. All of the hardware on the bag should match. The brand name engravings on the hardware such as the front clasp and zipper should be delicate, thin and refined. Fake Birkins usually have deeper, wider engravings with letterings that are further apart.
#5 Closure: The toggle at the front has a smooth turn to it. There is no interruption as you turn it and it should not feel grainy. The toggle of a replica bag does not have the same smooth quality. The metal plate should be perfectly centered on the leather strap. It also has a clear and refined ‘HERMÈS - PARIS’ stamp. The rectangular cutout on the strap should be neat. On fake Birkins, the cutout is usually rough.
#6 Lock & Key: The lock and key is one of the signature features of a Hèrmes Birkin bag. The lock has a H logo on the front and a pristine ‘HERMÈS’ engraving at the bottom. The weight of the lock should be substantial, not light. The lock should match the other hardware of the bag and it has a number engraved at the bottom indicating the batch number. The key is tied to a leather string, not attached via a metal ring, and is tucked away in a leather lanyard.
#7 Front stamp: The stamp at the front of the bag should say ‘HERMÈS PARIS MADE IN FRANCE’. Note the capital letters. The colour of the stamp should match the colour of the hardware e.g silver stamp matching palladium hardware. The stamping should be clear, uniform and highly legible. It will never be irregular or smudged.
#8 ID: All Hèrmes Birkin bags have a stamp on the reverse side of the right strap. The series of digits and letters identifies the craftsman who made the bag while the letter inside the square marks the year the bag was made. “L” indicates the year 2008, “M” is 2009, “N” is 2010 and so on. Bags made between 1971-1996 are encased in a circle instead of a square and bags made between 1945-1970 have no geometric shape.
#9 Lining: A Hèrmes bag should be lined in chevre leather which typically matches the colour of the exterior of the bag.
#10 Inside Zipper: The leather zipper pull should be smooth and firm and match the bag. It should also have contours on it, which fake bags usually don’t have. The zipper pull should not hang down at a 90 degree angle from the zipper line. It should remain parallel to the zipper line as the high quality zipper mechanism holds it in that position to prevent it from dangling around. The brand name engraving on the zipper should be refined. At the end of the zipper line inside the bag, there is a metallic H logo. The zipper should be smooth – it should close and open easily.