Hermès stands out as an exceptional brand that adheres to the meticulous handcrafting of leather bags, employing traditional techniques to uphold the highest standards of craftsmanship across their leather goods. Yet, amidst this dedication, one often overlooked aspect is the critical role of hardware, precisely securing the leather components in place.
The process of selecting metal hardware is conducted with meticulous care, aiming to enhance each specific Hermès bag, warranting its own consideration and attention. The timeless and versatile hardware pieces serve as Hermès’ distinctive signatures.
Rooted in centuries-old craftsmanship, the creation of a handmade leather bag entails a multitude of intricate steps. Artisans, well-versed in the traditional craft of saddle making, possess an eye for detail and strive for perfection. Hermès, celebrated not only for its acknowledged accomplishments in leatherwork but also for substantial investment in hardware, ensures that each bag evolves into a worthy heirloom. To ensure unparalleled quality, Hermès collaborates with a designated silverware workshop for all hardware prototypes. The development and production of a new hardware piece requires at least one year, and presently, there are over 1,500 frequently used hardware types for the Maison’s leather goods, most of which are proprietary.
Exploring Hermès Hardware
Hermès meticulously designs its hardware, encompassing all metal elements both inside and outside your bag. Specifically, for the iconic Birkin and Kelly bags, you’ll find the touret, Birkin’s pontets, D-rings lock, key, plaque, and clous or feet, along with zippers and clasps. In the realm of Kelly and Birkin bags, the hardware boasts a front plate stamped with ‘Hermès-Paris,’ and the lock, key, and even the zipper pull are engraved with the iconic “Hermès” logo.
Crafted from solid brass, all Hermès hardware exudes weight and durability. Afterward, each piece undergoes plating with a precious metal chosen to best complement the bag. Typically, all hardware within a Hermès bag is plated in the same metal, with rare exceptions- permabrass and rose gold hardware usually pairs with gold zippers.
Over the years, Hermès has employed various precious metals, from ruthenium to white gold, for its exquisite hardware. While gold and palladium are classic choices, other metals are selected for specific seasons or special orders. Delve into the individual nuances and personalities embodied by each type of Hermès hardware:
Known as GHW within the Hermès circle, gold stands as a timeless choice for Hermès hardware, widely employed across their collection. Typically, GHW features 18-karat gold plating, while rarer styles or special-order bags may boast 24-karat gold. The allure of gold hardware emanates a warm, radiant gleam, exuding true elegance.
Referred to as PHW, palladium belongs to the platinum group of metals, possessing a lustrous and brighter appearance than silver. Its opulent charm surpasses that of gold, offering a cool and sleek contrast. Typically Limited edition Birkins and Kellys exclusively sport palladium hardware.
BGHW, an 18-karat gold plating, receives a modern twist with a satin finish achieved by meticulously “brushing” micro-fine scratches into the surface in one direction. This matte aesthetic presents a contemporary take on gold, boasting a subtle shine and increased resistance to scratches.
BPHW undergoes a similar surface treatment as brushed gold, offering palladium hardware with a brushed effect that creates a more contemporary, toned-down matte finish.
If you find yourself torn between gold and palladium, consider adding Permabrass to your wishlist. This champagne-hued option gracefully balances between the two tones, offering a versatile choice for your handbag collection—particularly if you prefer a subtler touch compared to the opulence of Hermès’s GHW. PBHW exhibits a brilliant sheen, particularly complementing dark blues and greens, adding a touch of allure to these shades.
Made of genuine gold blended with a touch of copper and occasionally silver, Rose Gold (RGHW) hardware is a stunning, distinct pink-toned gold. The addition of copper enhances the scratch resistance as well as durability of pink gold. Despite its recent introduction, RGHW is gaining popularity. RGHW beautifully compliments especially neutral shade leathers.
One of the rarest metals on Earth, Ruthenium (RHW) gives Hermès hardware an edgy, deep, gunmetal gray tone, evoking a more masculine, contemporary aesthetic compared to palladium. Initially, this unique hardware option was predominantly offered on lizard Hermès bags. Additionally Ruthenium hardware is known for its resistance to corrosion as well as overall durability.
Constance bags often feature an enamel lacquer primarily for safeguarding the iconic “H” clasp, providing not only protection but also introducing colour and enhanced durability with a glossy finish.
Hermès employs PVD coating on hardware, darkening the metal to an almost black shade. This coating has been exclusively utilised in the avant-garde So Black collection, offering a distinctive and bold look.
Among Hermès’ most exclusive hardware options for Birkins and Kellys, Guilloché stands out. Guilloché represents palladium hardware meticulously engraved with an exquisite diamond pattern, ensuring both durability and a distinctive aesthetic. Featuring an intricate diamond pattern, Guilloche boasts a unique texture that pays tribute to the artistry of fine metal smithing.
Undoubtedly the most extraordinary in the Hermès hardware spectrum, 18-karat white gold-plated hardware adorned with diamonds characterises the Diamond hardware. “Diamond Birkins” are exceptionally rare and highly coveted, featuring VVS F diamonds and 18K White Gold. A Diamond Birkin 35 boasts over 10 carats of diamonds on the hardware. Vintage Diamond Birkin bags may showcase yellow gold hardware, and there are scarce examples of Birkins with coloured sapphires instead of diamonds.
Find Your Hardware Match at LovedBags
The exquisite hardware serves as the jewellery for your bag, enhancing its beauty and presence. Choose hardware that reflects your style and taste or create a diverse handbag collection with a variety of hardware options. At LovedBags, we are dedicated to helping you find your dream bag and guiding you through the intricacies of Hermès hardware. Explore our immaculate Hermès collection for a curated pre-loved selection that suits your style.