Founded in 1837, Hermès has become a luxury brand that is as exclusive as it gets on the accessories market. That is, every new handbag regardless of colour, size, or model, is met with such high demand that buying a handbag from the original retailer is near impossible.
Like many of the most successful luxury brands in the world, Hermès feeds the second hand and preloved accessories market with an endless supply of Birkin, Kelly, and other handbags – but there is one which remains an elusive, rarely seen, and highly sought-after model. One which fetches exceptionally high prices at auction and on the second hand market, and which is renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship, quality, and material.
The Himalayan handbag is a Hermès Birkin and is considered by many the holy grail of luxury bag ownership. In this article, we’re looking at the standout features of this bag and why it’s so popular with investment buyers and handbag enthusiasts alike.
A short history of the Hermès Birkin
The Hermès Birkin has a story that is intrinsically linked with the late actress Jane Birkin, who sadly passed away earlier in 2023 – reigniting this story and bringing new publicity to the Hermès Birkin collection.
Jane Birkin was sat on a plane next to the then-CEO of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, lamenting the lack of functional and accessible storage space in her existing handbag. As a young mother, she had needs relating to storage as well as style, and talked Dumas through her ideal bag – ideas which ultimately became the Birkin bag.
Over time, this has become arguably the most popular Hermès bag in the entirety of the brand’s history, and continually collects high prices at resale and auctions. So, what’s different about the Himalayan Birkin?
Features of the Himalayan Birkin and why it’s so valuable
The standout feature of the Himalayan Birkin is the material from which it is made. Contrary to popular belief, the bag is not made in Himalaya, and neither does the material originate in Himalaya – rather, the name itself comes from the aesthetic look of the material in position across the bag.
But more on that in a moment. First to the actual origin of the material, which comes from the skin of a Nile Crocodile – also called a Crocodile Niloticus. The scarcity of this material means that only a couple are made every year, with specific models bringing new features to the table which further elevate the cost; for example, the Himalayan Diamond Birkin bag which features diamond detailing as well as the exclusive material.
Back to the Himalaya name then, which is inspired not by origin but by the natural pattern on the bag which is said to resemble the snowy mountains of the Himalayas. One of the most impressive things about the skin of this crocodile, and thus the presentation of the bag, is the incredible symmetry of the material. This mimics the perfection that Hermès strives to deliver on every bag.
Of course, there is some variation in terms of the fabric and its natural patterning, as is always the case with a bag made from exotic skin. The exact presentation of the bag in term of colours and pattern is often a case for subjective taste and preference, as is the size of the bag and its hardware finishes.
All of this contributes towards the Himalayan Birkin being one of the most successful handbags on the luxury market, creating a huge buzz through its rarity, enjoying price hikes of around 14% every single year.
Buying a Himalayan Birkin bag
The popularity of the Himalayan handbag first took off when Hermès showcased it on the runway – with the scarce and exclusive nature of each individual bag making it one of those ownership goals that those with the money are itching to buy.
Finding an authentic Himalayan Birkin bag is best done through a reputable boutique reseller who has access to the best handbags on the market and a wealth of experience and expertise when it comes to authentication and valuation. With a bag as expensive as the Himalayan Birkin Hermès bag, you want to ensure that your investment is protected throughout the process.