How to Spot a Fake Hermès Kelly Bag

The most expensive designer bag in the world, Hermès has captured the hearts of thousands across the world with their stunning designs and incredible craftsmanship. With the increase in demand for these bags over the years, there are now multiple fakes in the market. How do you spot a fake Hermès Kelly bag from an authentic one?

What makes Hermès stand out from other designer bags that are available in the fashion market? Besides the high-quality product the brand promises, these bags, like the Hermès Kelly, are known to be hand stitched and handmade, increasing its value tenfold. The brilliance of this product lies in the exceptional material the brand uses to make sure it’s the best handbag a woman will ever hold. Hermès now has a line of Hermès women’s hobos, Hermès women bags, Hermès totes, and Hermès clutches.

Here’s an authentication guide to help you identify the hidden and noticeable red flags.

1. The Handle

spot a fake Hermes Kelly
Hermes Cognac Ostrich Leather Gold Hardware Kelly Sellier 28 Bag

The challenging part of creating the Hermès Kelly bag is making the top handle. Made from six pieces of leather, this handle takes a craftsman three and a half hours to create. It takes at least 10 attempts to get the handle right for a novice artisan, which should explain the difficulty level of mastering the art of making this bag.

The handle of the Hermès Kelly bag has a curved topside and a flat underside, making it well-constructed and rigid. The Hermès Kelly bags that were made before 2001 have simple D-rings. However, the bags after 2001 started to use custom double D-rings. These rigs are just split D-rings – one side is attached to the handle and the other side is attached to the shoulder. The Hermès Kelly bags include a shoulder strap. These straps have the same heat stamp in the same foil colour.

2. The Plaque and Spindle

A Hermès Kelly bag has metal plaques on either end and the bag is closed securely with straps, also known as sangles. “Hermès – Paris” will be engraved on the right-side plaque. However, vintage Hermès Kelly bags have “Paris” below the brand name. The spindle on the bag shouldn’t feel too tight or loose, as it compromises the quality of the bag. This spindle should have even tension when it goes all the way around and should be well-secured as well.

3. The Blind Stamp and Heat Stamp

spot a fake Hermes Kelly
Hermes Blue Marine Porosus Crocodile Gold Hardware Kelly Sellier 32 Bag

“Hermès – Paris” is engraved on the back of the right sangle on the blindstamp. Hermès used to use letters in alphabetical order to date their items. However, many shoppers became aware of their system and demanded the latest. Hermès now uses a secret proprietary code with just a singular letter that bears no shape or has no obvious order. You’ll find the secret stamp under the front flap. This heat stamp will read “Hermès Paris Made in France”. Vintage bags from 1954 do not share the same design. These heat stamps are either stamped in gold or silver. They also have a colourless debossed stamp.

4. The Lock and Keys

Every Hermès Kelly bag is accompanied with a lock and key. The finish of the lock and key should be the same as the bag’s hardware. The bag’s hardware has a gold-plated or palladium plated finish for a rich, tarnish-free look. You’ll see that the keys and locks are also debossed with matching numerical codes. If these numbers aren’t clean, the bag is fake. The numbers should be hand-graved or etched. The reason Hermès Kelly bags follow a certain pattern is to allow you to differentiate between a fake and an authentic bag.

5. The Zipper

spot a fake Hermes Kelly
Hermes Kelly 32 Taurillon Clemence in Yellow

Another way to spot a fake Hermès Kelly bag from a real one is by paying close attention to the zippers. Hermès bought the patent for the zippers they use and have exclusive rights to them. When you observe a Hermès Kelly bag, you’ll notice that the zipper pull always lies parallel to the teeth. It will not dangle vertically into the pocket. Should you notice a difference in the zipper, that bag isn’t authentic.

The folded piece of leather that acts as the tab on the zipper is in the same material and colour of the bag. This tab is cut into a diamond shape for a distinctive quality. The zipper also has “Hermès” marked on it. Since 2001, Hermès has been using an H-shaped zipper instead of the standard square shape.

There are other ways to know if your Hermès Kelly bag is fake or authentic. When you’re checking for red flags, look at the stitching and the lining of the bag. If you see closely, you’ll notice a definitive pattern, that’s missing in a fake bag. The quality of the leather will also feel different if the bag is a fake. Feel the grain of the bag to determine if the texture is rich or low-quality.

The above checklist is a great and thorough way of authenticating the bag yourself. Now that you know how to identify fake Hermès women handbags, you won’t have to worry about being stuck with an imitation! Go ahead, shop now.

Swati Talwar

Global Content and India Office Head

Seasoned lover of the written word. Travel junkie and Hogwarts alumni. Currently composing notes for the upcoming fashion week. You can also call me Licorne Magique (don't ask me why!).

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