A Buyer's Guide to Hermès Alligator and Crocodile Bags

A Buyer's Guide to Hermès Alligator and Crocodile Bags
Courtesy of Pinterest 

Bag with Crocodiles and Alligators by Hermès

Materials are arranged in a hierarchy in Hermès bags. Hermès' products are mostly made from full-grain leather, but some designs are also made from exotic skins such as lizards, ostriches, crocodiles, and alligators. Often priced several times more than their leather counterparts, Alligator and Crocodile Hermès occupy a unique level of luxury. 

Crocodile sits at the top of this group. In order to help collectors understand what makes Hermès' most luxurious and expensive bags, Rich Report created a guide to its most expensive materials:

Crocodile Hermès Birkin 25 Jaune Bourgeon Matte Porosus, Courtesy of Sotheby’s 

Bag with Crocodile Print by Hermès

There are currently two types of crocodile used in the manufacturing of Hermès Crocodile bags. Hermès Crocodiles come in a variety of types, each with its own characteristics. Australian Porosus Crocodiles are the most highly-valued Hermès Crocodiles. Among the Hermes crocodile Porosus scales, the center of each scale has the most distinct pores. 

The Hermès Crocodile Porosus gets its name from these pores, which look like tiny dots. Hermès bags of this variety bear a ^ symbol alongside the Hermès emblem, while Hermès Crocodile Niloticus (referred to as "Nilo") bears a = symbol and is procured from North African sources.

The pores on Niloticus Hermès Crocodile bags are sometimes similar to those on Porosus Hermès Crocodile bags, but the scales are longer and more rectangular rather than the tight, square scales on Porosus Hermès Crocodile bags.

The brand stamp of Hermès also indicates that Hermès used Caiman crocodile in the past. As a result of Hermès' difficulties in reliably sourcing high grade Caiman skins, Hermès discontinued its Caiman Hermès crocodile bags.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s 

Hermès Alligator Bag

Although Hermès uses a lot of smaller bags and accessories in its collection, it also uses alligator sourced from the USA. Hermès' quality control department often doesn't pick up on wild uneven scales on large alligator skins, which is why Hermès often fails to sell these skins. The Hermès brand logo is placed in a small square on the side of the bag to identify it as an Alligator bag from Hermès.

Alligator Hermès Birkin 25 Beton Matte. Courtesy of Sotheby’s 

Finishes of Hermès Crocodile and Alligator Bags

A Hermès crocodile bag and an Hermès alligator bag have a different finish. Buffed with a smooth agate stone, shiny bags or lisse bags look nearly mirror-like. There is no actual gloss used on Hermès' shiny crocodile and alligator bags. 

The matte finish is achieved by repeatedly rubbing a wool felt piece over the skin of an Hermès crocodile or alligator bag. Recent years have seen an increase in popularity and value of Hermès matte crocodile or alligator bags. Exteriors of Hermès bags with matte finishes are less likely to show scratches or water marks.

Boreal Satin is the new finish Hermès introduced earlier this year to its crocodile and alligator items. As of now, this finish has only been spotted in a few colors, and is similar to Matte with a silkier touch. The secondary market is extremely rare for Boreal Satin bags, which are usually found on small accessories.

Alligator Kelly Hermès Shiny Gris Tourterelle And Anthracite. Courtesy of Sotheby’s 

Hermès Crocodile vs Alligator Bag Colors

There are some hues that are exclusive to exotics at Hermès, even if the brand is known for its fabulous colors. Additionally to the world-famous Himalayans, we offer exotic-exclusive colors such as Vert Emerald, Mimosa, Gris Paris, and Rose Scheherazade. Unlike regular leather, these colors have incredible depth and vibrancy because of the variation in scales.

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