Just when choosing the colour, style or leather for your new Hermès bag was enough to send you into a decision-making frenzy, there is still one key element that should not be overlooked - the hardware. Hermès hardware is bag’s jewellery and deserves as much of your attention as the other deciding factors.
The devil is in the details, and your Hermès hardware is no exception.
What is Hermès Hardware?
Everything that shines. Inside and out. Hermès hardware is every metal detailing on your bag including the zips, key, front plate, feet and of course the signature H clasp.
Pick and choose from Gold, Palladium, Diamonds (yes) or even Ruthenium to name a few. Your hardware of choice will normally run throughout the bag, with a few rare exceptions.
How to Choose Your Hermès Hardware?
Whilst there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to Hermès hardware, your decision will hugely impact the look of the bag. For example, if you’re after that vintage vibe, the combination of gold hardware with noir leather can work beautifully together.
It can even come down to if you would like your hardware to compliment the jewelry you wear. If you’re dripping in Silver, stick to Palladium. Or throw in some contrast and pick Permabrass hardware instead.
Don’t be afraid to ask your SA to recommend which one suits your style best, as different hardware works with different colours, occasions and lifestyles.
Can Hermès Hardware Help You Authenticate a Bag?
It most certainly can! One of the most important factors when buying a preloved bag is checking the authenticity. And one of the easiest ways to do that? Check the hardware. The Hermès hardware should be consistent throughout the bag, you can’t have a silver plaque and gold feet – this screams red flag, and worth a deeper dive into checking the authenticity of the bag.
Another red flag? Peeling hardware. Whilst Hermès hardware can experience some tarnishing, some professional polishing is enough to get it back to sparkling new. The hardware should not peel and would not peel. This means the plating of the brass is low quality and below the brand’s standards.
More Tips to Check the Hermès Hardware Authenticity:
- Check that your bag has all the legitimate hardware: lock, keys, clochette, buckle and studs on the bottom.
- The lock and keys have matching Hermès engravings as well as two corresponding sets of numbers.
- Check the studs underneath. A genuine Hermès will sit perfectly balanced on four feet and the screws should not screw off easily, or even at all.
- Check the clochette cover for the keys. This should only be made from one single piece of leather.
What are the Different Types of Hermès Hardware?
Gold Hardware (GHW)
One of the most popular choices of hardware, Gold, (or GWH to Hermès fanatics) is plated in either 18-karat or 24-karat gold. Adding warmth to pretty much any and every colour, it offers a bright, timeless finish to the bag.
Palladium Hardware (PHW)
All that glitters is not gold! Whiter and brighter than silver, Palladium is even more precious than gold. Boasting a muted, luxurious look, Palladium is a great contrast when paired with pinks or blues. Palladium hardware is used on all limited edition Birkins and Kellys.
Brushed Hardware (Gold & Palladium)
This comes in both Gold and Palladium and creates a more contemporary, matte finish and despite being 18-karats, the brushed effect notably tones down the shine of the hardware. You won’t have many brushed hardwares out there unless they have been a custom order. Do note that scratches might be more visible on this type of hardware.
Permabrass Hardware (PBHW)
The perfect combination of gold and palladium, Permabrass offers a champagne hue and is a great choice if you find pure gold a little bit too gold. This hardware glistens brightly and works well with dark blues and greens. Permabrass is only used for custom orders, so it might be hard to get your hands on.
Rose Gold Hardware (RGHW)
Although introduced relatively recently, Rose Gold hardware is fast becoming a popular choice. The rosy pink hue comes from mixing gold with copper and sometimes silver, creating a unique tone which is very popular against neutral shade leathers. Most likely to be found as hardware on Constance.
For those looking for something a bit different, Guilloché hardware is one of the rarest and lesser known options. Guilloché is palladium hardware engraved with a very fine diamond pattern, durable and distinctive.
Ruthenium Hardware (RHW)
Ruthenium is one of the rarest metals on the planet, offering a much edgier look to your Hermès. Think dark gunmetal grey. You can find Ruthenium on bags made between 2004-2007 and it is a must-have for collectors.
Unveiled in the So Black Collection by Jean-Paul Gaultier, PVD is a unique coating that transforms the metal to nearly black. The most collectible editions of the Birkin and Kelly come with PVD hardware and can now be found only in limited runs including the Midnight Faubourg Birkin.
It doesn’t get any more shiny than this - 18-karat white gold-plated diamond-encrusted hardware! The crème de la crème. If you’re extremely lucky, you might even find a yellow gold diamond edition. The Diamond hardware can be found on exotic skin Birkins such as the Hermès Himalaya.
How to Care for Your Hermès Hardware?
If you’re going to use your Hermès bag regularly, you need to take extra care of its hardware. Despite durable metals, small scratches are unfortunately inevitable.
Our Tips to Caring for Your Hermès:
- Invest in a professional jewellery polishing cloth and buff your hardware.
- Avoid using chemicals to clean your hardware, as these can subsequently damage the leather.
- Storage is key. Keep your Hermès bag in a dry place, avoiding humidity.
- If you’re worried to care for your Hermès at home, take your bag to an official Hermès store for a professional clean.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to maintain your bag, check out our article on how to care for Hermès leathers.
The BIG Discussion: Should I Keep the Plastic Sticker On or Off?
The question that seems to split us all… When should the plastic sticker protecting the hardware be removed? To keep or not to keep? Really, the only person that can answer that is you.
The plastic film will certainly help protect the bag from scratches and fingerprints. Some prefer the feeling of keeping their bag pristine, and keeping the plastic film on can also increase the resale value. On the other hand, wouldn’t you want to enjoy wearing your new piece plastic free?
Hermès themselves actually recommend removing the sticker. The SA’s say that keeping the sticker on might tarnish the hardware. Also, keep in mind that the Hermès spa can repair and replace hardwear if signs of tear become apparent.
Whatever team you’re on, we can all agree that a Hermès bag is one of the best things to have in your closet.
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READ OUR ARTICLE ON HOW TO CARE FOR HERMÈS LEATHERS HERE.