The Hermès Birkin bag is considerately young amongst all the classic bags, standing at just over 30 years old. Despite this, Birkin bags have always been exceptionally exclusive; one simply cannot walk into a store and ask for Birkin – as you may have seen in Sex in the City!
You can only imagine the extent of the word ‘exclusivity’ when a diamond-encrusted variation pops up on the market. The exquisite Diamond Birkin bag is certainly a feast for the eyes, with its key feature being the eye-catching 18k diamonds adorned on the clasp. Very few of these bags are made by Hermès adding to their exclusivity factor.
Last year in June, a 2008 Diamond Crocodile Birkin was sold at Christie’s for £162,500, breaking the highest record in Europe. The overall world record goes to Hong Kong in 2016, when a similar Birkin was sold for £253,700. The Birkin is one of the smartest choices that can be made, showing a higher return than stocks or gold. So, why exactly are pieces like the Diamond Birkin worth so much?
Excellent quality comes with a price tag and Hermès is a notable example of being masters of leather. In 1837, nestled in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris, was the workshop of Thierry Hermès, crafting harnesses for his elite clients consisting of European nobleman. His workshop received many accolades for his impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail, raking in numerous awards. From harnesses and saddles, to handbags and ready-to-wear fashion, Hermès carried their mastery into the 20th and 21st centuries. The fashion house went on to create iconic bags such as the ‘Kelly’ named after Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco and of course, the ‘Birkin’, named after British-French actress Jane Birkin.
The origination of the Birkin bag began in the 80s when two creatives met on a flight between Paris and London; English-French actress and singer Jane Birkin and Hermès’ then-chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas. The two were seated next to each other when the contents of Birkin’s bag flew out, sending out a flurry of paper. Birkin explained her woes of being unable to find a weekend bag that would aptly suit her needs. Dumas assured her that he would design the perfect handbag for her. After taking a few notes, they had a sketch at the end of the flight. Dumas and Birkin later reconvened in the Hermès workshop in Paris to begin the craftwork of the bag.
Some of the distinguishing features of the Birkin included a polished plaque, a swivel clasp and the brand’s signature saddle stitching. The suppleness of the bag matched with its 40-cm size makes it the perfect bag to fit all your necessities (and unnecessities). With its tote-like structure, the bag is built to be held by its two top handles. Based on Birkin’s requirements, it was designed for the use of travel and initially came with a lock and key so it could be secured at the flap. The bag was the perfect combination of utility, elegance and effortless style and it was no wonder why it was so coveted.
Hermès has consistently been a symbol of style and wealth. As well as the Diamond Birkins being encrusted with jewels, the body of the bag is made up usually of supple leather from crocodile skin. Hermès are well-known for their use of exotic skins, such as crocodile, alligator, ostrich and lizard. Some of the standout Birkins we’ve seen in the news include the White Himalayan, crafted from matt Niloticus crocodile skin, which is harvested from the Crocodylus Niloticus crocodiles, a species native to the Nile River. The Porosus version, however, is identified through its smaller scales and has slightly more irregularities in its scale pattern. The Porosus leather is harvested from the underbelly of Crocodylus Porosus crocodiles in Australia, but this species is also found in most of the Indo-Pacific region. The sourcing of materials is an exceptionally integral part of the creation process for each of Hermès’ products, and it can often be years until the exotic leather is available for use in the workshop.
Recently, Chanel have made the decision to ban exotic furs and skins in its collections. This means the French brand will prohibit the use of animals such as crocodile, stingrays, lizards and snakes and will instead be focusing on more sustainable materials. As well as considering the conservation, it has also become increasingly difficult to source exotic skins and furs that meets the brand’s ethical standards.
PETA have been putting a lot of pressure on Hermès to follow suit, particularly being a stakeholder in the fashion brand. Whilst Hermès haven’t yet banned exotics like their competitors such as Chanel, Gucci and Michael Kors, we can’t be sure when the ban will be implemented on Hermès collections too. An exotics ban will obviously mean the production of prime pieces such as the Diamond Himalayan Birkin will come to a halt and will push the prices of existing ones on the market sky high.
Our limited edition Ficelle Shiny Porosus Crocodile Leather Diamond 30cm Birkin is a beautiful yet undeniably classic piece. A notable feature of this stunning piece is of course the hardware, consisting of approximately 170g of 18k white gold and approximately 10.87ct of brilliant, colourless diamonds. The body of the bag in brown leather is of the Porosus variety, which sports a smaller, compressed scale pattern, making it extremely stylish. Porosus leather is polished with agate to achieve a “Lisse” or “smooth” finish, giving it luxurious gleam. The leather is sourced from salt water crocodiles inhabiting Australia and Southeast Asia. This skin can be identified with the ^ symbol found somewhere on the finish. The diamonds really elevate the bag and adds another layer of opulence and elegance.
For those wanting to add a pop of colour and femininity to their collection, we also have the same Birkin in a vibrant Fuschia colour. The Fuschia Birkin also showcases the same astonishing colourless diamonds on 10.87ct and 168.25g of 18-carat white gold. The pink interior carries the colour theme beautifully and is the same width at 30cm, smaller than the original from 1981. It is the perfect size for any special occasion – just remember to keep it away from water to protect the leather!
Considering Birkin bags’ track record of being a great investment, these highly sought-after Diamond variations are even rarer and will only increase in popularity as soon as any exotics ban is implemented by Hermès. Both pieces are incredibly exclusive and in excellent pre-loved condition.
Discover our full range of Hermès Diamond Birkin bags online at Xupes here.