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how to recognize a real Hermès from a fake ?

37% of consumers have purchased a counterfeit product without knowing it.

The counterfeiting market for luxury goods is growing year after year, with a loss of nearly 8 billion euros for the luxury sectors concerned.

The techniques used by counterfeiting factories are becoming more and more sophisticated. For 4-digit amounts, you can get a Hermes bag that looks 99% like the original and sometimes exceeds the original, for example by offering 100% hand-sewn bags (and yes, a Hermes bag is not entirely hand-sewn, only 10 to 15% of the seams are hand-made).

Counterfeiters use the same tools, the same skins from the same tanneries and are sometimes even trained by the houses themselves before joining one of these factories.

So to help you identify a Hermes bag, a Birkin, Kelly, Constance, Toolbox or other, I have created a mini guide, which I hope you will find useful.

retrouvez ce guide en vidéo


Before we get into the details, it is important to know the vocabulary of Hermès bags and therefore to know the name of each piece of leather. Most of these terms come from the leather goods vocabulary.

Below is the Birkin which has the most pieces and the most complexity.

hermès lexique sac birkin
Then the Kelly, which turns out to have a little less complexity
hermès lexique sac kelly


Hermès bags require extensive craftsmanship and training to make one of these iconic bags.

The bag must hold up well even in the softest of skins. See article on Hermès leather types.

  • The body of the bag must not have any "bloating" and must have a beautiful silhouette.

  • The handle should be perfectly round. This is one of the most complex pieces to make, requiring real expertise from the craftsman. It must stand straight.

  • We can see below that the fake Kelly bag does not display a nice silhouette from the front, we notice a slight "bulge" on the body of the bag and a handle that does not seem to be perfectly realized (hence the collapse of it).

hermès structure sac vrai faux


The hot stamping is done by a machine dedicated to this task. The craftsman places a sheet of gold, silver or other material on the hide and uses his press to "stamp" the leather with the Hermès brand.

  • The inscription must be clear and precise regardless of the leather used.

  • On the fake, we can see that the marking is not very precise, sometimes too thick, too thin or too spaced.

hermès marquage à chaud vrai faux

hermès marquage à chaud vrai faux

There are several types of hot stamping over the years.

  • The illustration below shows the evolution of hot stamping over the years.

  • Attention, some recent bags of size 20 or even smaller, has a hot stamping on a line (because no space).

hermès marquage à chaud

On exotic skins, the rule is the same, the hot marking must be clear and readable.

The marking is then equipped with a symbol that will represent the type of skin from which the bag is made. I refer you to my article on the Hermes leather ranges to learn more.

  • A ^ (circumflex accent) for the Crocodile Porosus

  • A □ (square) for the alligator

  • A - (dash) for the lizard

  • One = (equal) for the varan

  • Two dots °° for the Niloticus (Nile) crocodile

hermès peaux exotiques crocodile alligator varan lezard

Other, rarer hot stamping:

  • The horseshoe, which means the bag is a special order. This type of bag is offered to a VIP customer and allows them to customize the bag of their choice.

  • The shooting star is a very special case. Hermès artisans can make the bag of their choice on their own time, using the company's materials, up to a limit of one per year. They agree to keep it for themselves and never resell it (as you might expect, some of them break the rules 😉 ).

hermès fer à cheval étoile filante


If the Hermes bag you spotted is sold with a box:

  • The logo must be perfect and match the logo that can be seen on the house's website.

logo hermès
  • Look closely at each space between the letters of the logo and feel free to compare!

boite orange hermès vrai faux


The straps are the leather straps that will close the bag with the reel (see Lexicon at the top of the page if you are lost).

The differences between a real and a fake bag can be seen in the straps, at the back, they are sealed to the bag with a seam and can show a lack of technique on the counterfeit bags.

  • On the real bag, the stitching is regular, and the edges do not stick out, they are perfectly executed.

tranche hermès
  • Lexicon point: an edge is the upper part that is formed when two pieces of leather are joined together. You can see it on the picture below, it is the "shiny" part of the leather.

  • An edge is aesthetic but also adds strength to the bag. It prevents the seam of the two pieces of leather from getting damaged.

  • To obtain an edge of a certain color, the edge must be sanded to make it as smooth as possible, then apply an edge dye (specially designed for this purpose), then pass a threading iron over it to shape and seal the dye (a step that must be done several times to get a nice curvature) and then apply a wax or other to make it shine (depending on the result you want to obtain).

  • On industrial pieces (except luxury houses), the edges are applied with a machine and are made of plastic.

  • Edge dyeing is not easy to master and it is here that we can see on the counterfeit bag that the edge dye has smudged. This is due to a lack of technique on the part of the person who applied them.

sanglons tranche hermès vrai faux


The plates are the elements that allow to pass the reel and close the bag.

  • The attributes can be gold, silver, rose gold, covered with diamonds etc.

  • The engraving on the plates must be clean and precise. Over the years, engraving has evolved.

  • The beading or perlage in french (a technique that allows the plate to be sealed to the leather strap with small nails) must be perfectly executed. This is an exclusive Hermès technique, but more and more counterfeit factories know how to do it as well.

  • The nails must be the right size and positioned in the right place. We can see that over the years the location of the beading remains the same.

  • The counterfeit plates shown below do not have the right placement and size of the beading.

plaques hermès vrai faux

The plates must be perfectly positioned on the strap.

  • We must be able to see the leather because the plate is positioned perfectly in the middle of it and is smaller than the strap.

  • Below, on the counterfeit strap, we can see that we see very little leather, the plate seems to be too big for the strap.

sanglon hermès vrai faux


Inside the recent Hermes bags, there is a pocket with a zip. This one has a slider which is a small piece of leather, but very worked.

  • The slider must have a non slobbering edge dye

  • The slider must have a double thread (this is the line that we see on the piece of leather). It must be perfectly done, we must not see that the double fillet is composed of 4 lines.

  • On the fake slider, we can see that the size is too small, too round and the double thread is not perfect, we can see that the person who worked on the slider has gone too far.

curseur zip hermès vrai faux


A myth circulates among many people that Hermes bags are entirely hand-sewn.

Unfortunately, this statement is completely false. Hermes bags (even those made of exotic skins) are hand sewn to the tune of 10 to 15% overall, the rest is machine stitched leather.

This myth also circulates among counterfeit factories because I have seen some factories claiming that their bags are 50% or 100% handmade. I find this completely crazy, because a bag must take them several days or weeks to make.

couture main sellier hermès

Here is a brief introduction to explain how to spot a hand seam from a machine seam on your Hermes bag.

It is important to know that the hand sewing technique used by Hermès is called saddle stitching and was originally intended for... horse saddles. In view of the solidity of these seams, the Hermès house decided to apply it to its Haut à Courroie bag (ancestor of the Kelly) and then to perpetuate the tradition until today.

It is an extremely strong seam, stronger than the machine seam, because each seam forms a knot and "lives independently". If you cut a piece of thread in the middle of a seam, the rest of the thread will not come off when you pull it.

Saddlery sewing is practiced with several tools: a round awl (to start and finish the seam), a diamond awl (to pierce the holes on the bias, previously marked), two needles and waxed linen thread (to prevent it from splitting).

couture sellier machine main hermès
  • Seams should be even and neat. There should be no large gaps between each seam.

hermès coutures vrai faux

coutures poignets hermès

Also pay attention to the arrangement of the seams versus the double net.

  • Example of a double thread below. This is a process of marking the leather with a threading iron. It is only aesthetic.

  • It is present on all pieces of Hermes bags.

Double filet hermès
  • On the image of the fake Hermes bag, we can see that there is a difference in the gap between the seam and the double net.

  • The house of Hermes calculates precisely the gap between these two elements on the cuffs and other elements of the bag.

poignets double filet hermès


  • Prior to 2016, the serial number on a Hermes bag was on the back of one of the straps, behind the plate.

  • After 2016, the serial number is on the inside of the bag.

blind stamp numéro de série hermès

  • The serial number (or blind stamp) consists of :

    • The signature craftsman (craftsman or group of craftsmen) corresponds to a series of letters or letters and numbers

  • The date is in the form of a letter:

    • From 1945 to 1970, the letter is alone, for example "XX A"

    • From 1971 to 1996, the letter is surrounded by a circle

    • From 1997 to 2014, the letter is surrounded by a square

    • From 2014 to the present, the letter has no shape, it is similar to what was done until 1970.

  • Attention, the letter S will never be present on the bags. This letter corresponds to the Hermes sales. There is no leather goods in these sales.

numéro de série blind stamp hermès

To recognize a real Hermes bag, it must already have a serial number, if it does not have one, run away (except for bags made before 1945).

  • Also, the letter corresponding to the date must be listed and be in agreement with the look of the bag. For example, a very recent looking bag will not have a serial number on the back of the strap.

hermès blindstamp numéro de série vrai faux


  • The double fillet must be perfectly mastered. Each double net must not go all the way to the end, but follow the contours of the leather without crossing.

  • We can see on the picture of the fake bell that the double threads cross each other and show a lack of expertise in this technique.

double filet hermès clochette


The shoulder strap must meet the requirements of Hermès bags:

  • Perfect stitching, without large gaps between the seams, the hot stamping must be perfectly centered, legible and neat.

hermès bandoulière vrai faux

You can't authenticate your Hermès bag? True ? False ?

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