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Hermes Leather and Skins Guide

The rare and high quality leathers and colors used on Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are among the signature features of these icons, contributing to making the bags so unique when compared to other luxury handbags. Hermès have led the way for many years when it comes to utilizing only the best and most exotic leathers and skins on their bags.

Finding the perfect leather for your Hermès bag is a challenge. There are many different leathers, exotic skins, and colors to choose from, each of which have their own characteristics and qualities. This guide is designed to help you make that all important decision with information and tips on all Hermès leathers.

Hermes designs their bags with only the finest leather materials. Trying to decide which one is right for you? Take a peek at some of the most popular leathers Hermes has to offer.

Hermès Barenia Natural Leather

Originally used for Hermes saddles, this high quality calf leather is undoubtedly one of the best. It has an impeccably smooth exterior with just the right amount of gloss to make it dazzle and shine. It’s typically mixed in with white top stitch, which only adds to its great appearance and durability. But besides its flawless exterior, this handy bag is also completely scratch resistant thanks to the oil absorbing material, and also works wonders during the rainy seasons as it is resistant to water. This type of leather does, however, develop patina over a series of time.

Benefits of Barenia Natural Leather:
-Stunning exterior that is smooth and glossy.
-Very durable material that is resistant to scratches. A few swipes with finger can remove the scratches.
-Also resistant to water, so no worry of water marks.

Hermès Box Calf Leather

The oldest type of leather used in Hermes bags, box calf leather (or veau leather) has an incredibly smooth finish that offers a glossy and sophisticated finish. And while box calf leather is quite a sensational site, there is one downfall you have to watch out for: blemishes such as scratches and water marks are easily noticeable on this bag, but after time the deformities blend into the bag and create almost a mirror-like texture.

Tips for handling box calf leather:
-Be careful when handling this bag in rainy weather, as water marks will undoubtedly stain the bag.
-If you end up with scratches or other blemishes, try lightly buffing the bag to blend.

Hermès Canvas

Canvas differs from other leathers immensely. In fact, Canvas isn’t even a true leather; it’s actually an incredibly sturdy and durable cloth. However, in the world of Hermes fashion, canvas is treated and combined with several other leathers to create a strong exterior that can withstand just about anything. You’ll find canvas on many of their bags, one of the most popular being the Hermes Herbag which is made up almost entirely of Canvas material.

Benefits of Hermes Canvas:
-Incredibly durable, making it a long-lasting bag that can withstand the elements.
-Typically easy to clean. Most spills and marks can be removed at home.

Hermès Clemence Leather

This popular type of leather has been around since the 1980’s, and is quickly becoming a classic. The grain type is a bit bigger and flatter than other available leathers (like the grainy Togo), which may result in cracking around the edges of the bag, although is can easily be refurbished to as good as new. Made from baby bull, ‘veau taurillon clemence’, or just simply ‘clemence’, is a durable and heavy material which is why it is one of the slouchier leathers- although many women see that as a great advantage. Much like everything else in life, there is one downside to the Hermes Clemence Leather: water can produce unsightly blisters on the bag, so being careful around rain and other water is a must.

Tips for handling Clemence leather:
-Be careful around water, as water can cause water blisters that are almost impossible to remove. Always wipe down immediately after contact with water.
-If the heavy yet durable leather starts cracking around the edges, get it refurbished.

Hermes Togo Leather

Togo leather is an incredibly popular leather for one simple reason: it is almost entirely scratch resistant and can be refurbished to as good as new condition if veining starts to appear. Made from a baby calf (also known as a veau), Togo is a beautiful leather that appears to be raised, yet has a smooth and fine texture that glides across your fingertips. Many women enjoy the pronounced graininess of this leather, yet some think Togo is a bit too heavy.

Benefits of Togo leather:
-Almost completely resilient to scratching.
-Easy to clean and can be refurbished incredibly quickly.
-Has a raised grainy appearance, yet is very smooth to touch.
-The grain is finer than Clemence

Hermes Epsom Leather

Unlike other leather, Epsom leather is an embossed leather, which simply means that the pattern pressed into the leather is not the actual; grain, giving the bag a laminated appearance that is rigid and structured. This compressed type of leather holds true to its shape in all instances and is completely resilient to scratches. With the ‘laminated’ exterior, cleaning an Epsom leather bag is as simple as wiping it with a damp towel, making it a very simple and handy type of lightweight leather.

Benefits of Epsom Leather
-Completely resilient to scratches.
-Incredibly easy to clean, grime wipes right off.
-Lightweight and easy to handle.

Hermes Fjord Leather

With a much wider and flatter grain from other types of leather (like Clemence), Fjord (A Vache or adult cow leather) is a gorgeous matte-like leather made from adult cow hide. It has a very soft texture that is elegant and sophisticated, and its rather heavy exterior is completely water resistant- which means you don’t have to worry about dealing with unsightly water marks. Although some say this type of leather is a bit heavy, its classy and matte texture is well worth the weight.

Benefits of Fjord leather:
-Completely water resistant.
-Gorgeous flat grain that has a matte-like appearance and texture, soft to touch.

Hermes Gulliver Leather and Swift Leather

Gulliver Leather, which was discontinued in the year 1999, was reintroduced in 2005 to what we all know as Swift Leather. This type of brilliant leather not only has a fine grain that is amazingly soft to touch, but is also a luminous type of leather that seems to shimmer in the sunlight. Swift Leather has the ability to reflect light brilliantly while also being a superior dye absorbent, making colors appear brighter and more vibrant. Although this type of leather may be scratched easily, small scratches can be whisked away by a mere swiping of your fingers.

Benefits of Gulliver/Swift Leather:
-Enhanced luminosity, making colors appear brighter and more radiant.
-Glistens against the sunlight.
-Is very soft to touch, which makes scratching easier (but minor scratching can be rubbed off).

Hermes Chevre de Coromandel Leather

If you’re worried about scratches and other flaws, Chevre de Coromandel is an excellent option. This type of goathide leather is extremely resilient and strong, while also being a lightweight leather that can be carried around with ease. Women adore the soft texture of this goathide leather, and love even more how tough it is against scratches. This is certainly what long-lasting bags are made of.

Benefits of Chevre de Coromandel Leather:
-Completely scratch resistent.
-A very soft-to-touch type of leather.
-Lightweight and easy to carry around.
-Typically a long-lasting leather that can withstand the elements.

Hermes Chevre Mysore Leather

If you like the Chevre de Coromandel, then it is only natural that you’d also have a love affair with Chevre Mysore Leather. Following in the footsteps of the Chevre de Coromandel, Chevre Mysore is made from goathide and is completely resistent to scratching. However, Chevre Mysore has a more refined grain than its sister leather Chevre de Coromandel, thus making the grain more visible.

Benefits of the Chevre Mysore Leather:
-Completely resistent to scratching!
-Very lightweight and easy to handle.
-More visible grain, which many women prefer.

Hermes Crocodylus Niloticus Shiney Leather

This fine leather comes all the way from Africa’s Nile River region located in Zimbabwe. Derived from the Nile Crocodile, this gorgeous leather comes with a very large scale pattern that is very visible and remarkable, definitely a head turned. Compared to other leathers, the Crocodylus Niloticus in not only larger in scale size, but is also glossier and shiny thanks to the continuous buffing- thus giving it the ‘shiny leather’ name. You can easily note when a Hermes bag is made with this type of leather as you’ll see two apostrophes located somewhere on the bag. And care must be taken when rain.

Benefits of Crocodylus Niloticus:
-Extremely shiny and glossier than other leathers.
-Has large, very visible scales that many women are fond of.

Hermes Crocodylus Niloticus Matte Leather

Much like its sister leather Crocodylus Niloticus Shiny Leather, this particular leather comes directly out of Africa’s Nile River in the region of Zimbabwe. However, although they are derived from the same type of crocodile, Crocodylus Niloticus Matte Leather is not given hours of continuous buffing. Instead it is left with a matte finish, giving it a more distinct pattern. This leather also has the larger scales that are highly sought after in the fashion industry. You can also decide whether or not your Hermes bag is made with this type of leather by finding the two apostrophes signs somewhere on the purse. This leather must not get wet, care must be taken in rain. Stain or wet can create a permanent damage.

Hermes Ostrich Leather

You can probably guess what this leather is made out of by looking at the name, but we’ll go ahead and tell you anyways: Ostrich leather comes from ostrich and has very significant characteristics that make it stand out from other leathers. For starters, Ostrich Leather has several pores throughout. And here is where the fun part comes in: Ostrich Leather darkens when it comes into contact with skin, yet will become lighter when it is exposed to light- whether it’s sunlight or a lamp. Only a cloth is needed to wiped down the rain, if you care and maintain enough, it can last for years. And needless to say, this ever-changing leather is a beauty

Hermes Veau Grain Lisse Leather

Veau Grain Lisse, or simply known as ‘VGL’ Leather, is very similar to the Epsom. In fact, many believe the Epsom replaced this leather when VGL was discontinued in 2002-2003. However, many bags are still circulating with Veau Grain Lisse- so what is it? Basically it is a very lightweight leather with obvious grains, although the grains are less angular than those found in the Epsom. It is another type of popular embossed leather, which means it is completely scratch resistant and easy to clean.

Benefits of Veau Grain Lisse or VGL:
-Scratch resistant.
-Easy to clean thanks to the embossed leather.
-Visible grains.

Hermes Crocodylus Porosus Leather

Another popular leather from crocodile, the sensational Crocodylus Porosus Leather is a stunning and vibrant leather that shines for miles. It’s dazzle, much like the Crocodylus Niloticus Shiny, is brought on by hours of continuous buffering. However, unlike its cousin Crocodylus leathers, this particular crocodile leather is farmed in the area of Australia and Southeast Asian, one of the most common locations being Singapore. To decide whether or not your Hermes bag is made with Crocodylus Porosus Leather, search for the ^ symbol. Care must be taken to avoid getting wet or rain.

Hermes Veau Tadelakt Leather

If you were just to take a glance at Veau Tadelakt Leather, you might assume it’s Box Calf- and don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, Veau Tadelakt and Box Calf leather share a lot of the same qualities and features, but the exterior of Veau Tadelakt is much softer than Box Calf. It also has no visible grains on the outside, which gives it its utterly smooth and sensational appearance.

Benefits of Veau Tadelakt Leather:
-No visible grains which makes for a very smooth exterior.
-Extremely soft exterior. Might be hard to believe it’s actually leather!

Hermes Vache Natural Leather

Vache natural is the name of leather from the hide of a mature cow. This classic leather from Hermes is untreated, thus having a very delicate and smooth finish. However, this also means that the leather will darken over time and can stain rather quickly. It is not rain-proof and will spot if it comes into contact with water. If vache natural is maintained properly and is cared for professionally often it will turn into a gorgeous patina over time.

Hermes Etoile, Toile Leather

If you’re seeking a bag that is different from the rest appearance wise, then Etoile, Toile Leather is a great choice. Specifically, Etoile, Toile Leather is used a complementing material to leather in some handbags. It is made of linen, thus giving it its linen/canvas appearance. Many women are highly fond of this sophisticated style, and as an added bonus, the linen is as strong as a fire hose which means it can last for several years without flaws. Be careful though as this type of material may stain easily.

Benefits of Etoile, Toile Leather:
-Distinct outer exterior.
-Incredibly strong and durable material that can withstand the elements.

Hermes Evergrain Leather

This beautiful leather is known as the embossed version of the ever-popular Evercalf leather. However, unlike other embossed leathers that can feel rough or stiff, Evergrain Leather has a softer feel that many women are drawn to. However, one flaw about this soft leather is that it is prone to scratching thanks to its incredibly fine grain. Small scratches can easily be removed by rubbing of the fingers, while larger scratches may have to be buffed out by a professional.

Benefits of Evergrain Leather:
-Very fine grain that is soft to touch.
-Small scratches are easily removable.

Hermes Negonda Leather

Neogonda Leather can easily be described as being ‘overly matte’ or feeling rather dry to touch, but that certainly works in this leathers favor, seeing as how it is only used in Garden Party bags. The specific reason for this? This matte type of leather is completely resistant to water. It could stand in pouring rain all day, become completely drenched, and still hold up without problem. Designed in 2007 specifically for the Garden Party Collection, it differs from other Garden Party leathers thanks to its unique colors.

Hermes Veau Sikkim Leather

Veau Sikkim Leather is undoubtedly one of the softest leathers on the market, and gives handbags more of a slouched appearance. It is so amazingly soft that many women refer to this calf leather as feeling like ‘butter on their fingertips’. Others have remarked that Veau Sikkim Leather resembles Box Calf leather, although the Veau Sikkim has little to no grain, thus giving it its ultra soft feel. It is also a lot less stiff than its sister leather the Box Calf.

Benefits of Veau Sikkim Leather:
-Ultra smooth.
-Gives bags a trendy slouched look.

Difference Hermes Togo

The difference between Hermes Togo and Clemence is rather subtle, seeing as how they are both from bull. However, Clemence is made from the hide of a young bull while Togo is made from baby calf. This changes the texture, giving Clemence a softer feel that is a bit slouchy and relaxed. It is also heavier than the Togo, which has a smaller grain and a crispier, rougher feel. Togo holds the shape of bags better than Clemence, which is why most women choose Togo for larger bags. It is really a matter of personal choice though. If you like a slouchier look, Clemence would be preferred to Togo.

Difference Hermes Clemence

The difference between Hermes Togo and Clemence is rather subtle, seeing as how they are both from bull. However, Clemence is made from the hide of a young bull while Togo is made from baby calf. This changes the texture, giving Clemence a softer feel that is a bit slouchy and relaxed. It is also heavier than the Togo, which has a smaller grain and a crispier, rougher feel. Togo holds the shape of bags better than Clemence, which is why most women choose Togo for larger bags. It is really a matter of personal choice though. If you like a slouchier look, Clemence would be preferred to Togo.

Difference Hermes Epsom

Togo is a bit heavier than Epsom and has a distinct veiny appearance. It has pronounced grain which gives the bag a raised appearance, although the texture itself is smooth. It’s a better option for slouchy looks. Epsom, on the other hand, is an embossed leather that is structural and stiff. It’s certainly the easier of the two to clean thanks to the ‘laminated’ exterior, although both are resistant to scratching.

Hermes Chamonix Leather

Chamonix is known as the ‘matte version of boxcalf leather’. It has a very distinct matte appearance that gives off an almost plastic appearance. This type of leather stands up to scratches much easier than boxcalf, which means you won’t have to worry about scuffs or blemishes. However, Chamonix can NOT handle the rain (it is not water resistant) and may blister over time. It’s a great choice for an everyday handbag as it is not prone to scratching.

Hermes Peau Porc Leather

Peau Porc is undoubtedly a classic leather of the Hermes’ brand; however it is no longer being produced. It is a gorgeous pigskin with a distinct, textured appearance. It’s super lightweight and extremely durable, a great choice for your everyday bag that you carry everywhere.

Hermes Courchevel Leather

Courchavel is extremely similar to Epsom leather; however it is notably glossier at the top of the grain and a bit darker as well. Courchavel is super lightweight and a cinch to clean, removing any dirt or scuffs with ease. It’s a beautiful leather with a subtle even grain for just a touch of texture.

Hermes Varanus Niloticus Leather

An exotic leather, Varanus Niloticus is extremely delicate and high maintenance. It must be handled with care and annual cleaning is highly recommended to keep this bag in tip top shape and to lessen the occurrence of dry scales. Leaving this gorgeous, iridescent matte-like leather unmanaged will lead to dryness and scales flaking off the bag. If you can give Varanus Niloticus the attention it needs, it looks fabulous on accessories- but not recommended for items used often.

Hermes Varanus Salvator Leather

Extremely similar to Varanus Niloticus, this fragile and exotic lizard skin is made up of small hides and small scales that can flake if not taken care of. Has a beautiful glossy surface that must be handled with care and treated professionally by Hermes at least once a year.

Hermes Amazonia Leather

Amazonia may appear to look like real leather, but in fact it is simply rubber coated canvas. The great thing about this material is it is completely waterproof- an awesome choice if you live in an area where rain occurs often. However, it’s also prone to scratching and blemishes so try to handle it with care.

Hermes Rodeo, Veau Rodeo Leather

A rather interesting material of veau or calfskin, with a beautiful exterior that’s made up of small grains and deep veining. The most amazing part about this leather is it is completely scratch resistant, which makes it a wonderful option for accessories that will see plenty of wear. It smells good and has an elegantly silky finish that glides on the tips of your fingertips.

Hermes Vibrato

Vibrato is an incredibly unique and divine material. The pattern is created by gluing multiple leathers of different colors in an alternating fashion to create a stunning work of art that’s colorful and durable. Whether or not your vibrato is prone to scratches will depend on the type of leather used, but most combinations are tough and won’t blemish with ease. Vibrato typically comes with a handy pen to clean your bag.

Hermes Vibrato

Vibrato is an incredibly unique and divine material. The pattern is created by gluing multiple leathers of different colors in an alternating fashion to create a stunning work of art that’s colorful and durable. Whether or not your vibrato is prone to scratches will depend on the type of leather used, but most combinations are tough and won’t blemish with ease. Vibrato typically comes with a handy pen to clean your bag.

Hermes Vache Liegee Leather

If you’re looking for a leather that will stand the test of time, vache liegee is your answer. It’s known as being the thickest, sturdiest and most durable leathers of all time out of the Hermes leather collection. It has a beautiful grained leather exterior with a delightful two-tone effect that’s eye-catching and appealing. The subtle luster gives this leather an elegant touch while its low-maintenance characteristics make it a go-to choice for everyday accessories.

Hermes Vache Hunter Leather

Vache Hunter is typically not used to adorn an entire handbag, and is seen mostly on trims because of its stiffness and roughness. It has an unfinished underside and is extremely prone to scratching and scuffing.

Hermes Herringbone Linen

When linen is woven into a chevron pattern, it is known as herringbone linen.

Hermes Suede, Doblis

Suede is a gorgeous, velvety leather that’s incredibly soft to touch; however, it’s probably one of the most finicky leathers on the market. It must be handled with great care as this leather is prone to scratching, scuffing, dirt, grime, color fading, and all sorts of other unsightly blemishes. It cannot be taken near water and may slouch over time. Not ideal for an everyday accessory, but highly luxurious for items you’ll only use on special occasions.

Tips & Facts

Only the finest leathers and exotic skins are used to craft each Hermès bag. All stitching on the leather is done by hand, with every minute detail considered during the process.

An Authentic Hermès bag will feature very few, or no, bulges in the leather or skin. It will sit upright on its own accord and offer a smooth silhouette.

All exotic skin Birkin and Kelly bags are sold with a CITES, used for transportation. There are some countries which will not allow entry with an exotic bag unless it is accompanied with a passport.

Tri-color and exotic skin marriage bags are among the rarest Birkins and Kellys.

The leather strap at the front of the bag will always have clean edges.

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