Spotting the real Hermes Birkin Barenia leather-Luxbags

Spotting the real Hermes Birkin Barenia leather

The hunt for my first Birkin is tough. I have been scouring the internet and luxury resellers in search of my perfect bag. The more research I do, the more factors I discover: the size, color, leather type, and price. Then, I spotted a picture of a vintage Birkin made of Barenia leather, and I instantly knew that was the one. She is my dream bag. I love the personality that comes with Barenia leather, like wine that only gets better with age.

Hermès Barenia leather is a durable, natural calf leather with a distinctive matte finish that develops a unique patina over time. It is known for its strength, softness, and resilience. It is the most prestigious leather of the Hermes house. One shortcoming, a Barenia Birkin comes with a steep price tag.

So when I spotted a Barenia Birkin 35 on sale for only 9000 USD, I knew I had to snatch it up. Only problem, I'm not sure if it really is Barenia. In this post I'm going to explain the top 3 tips for Barenia authentication. Please note that I am not a certified authenticator and the information in this post is only based on my own knowledge and experience. 

There are two other leather types that are similar to Barenia and they are Vache Naturelle and Chamonix. They are all matte finish and when they come in the natural color sometimes it can be a little confusing, especially when only looking at the pictures. 


Tip 1. The resin

It is easy to spot a Vache Naturelle because it has one telltale sign that makes it distinct from other leather that is the gomma arabique, which is a resin that is used to finish and protect vache naturelle leather. It is transparent and you can tell from the edges of the bag, like this one below here. 


Whereas Barenia and Chamonix are usually coated with a brown resin, shown below


Tip 2. The color and the patina

Now we can rule out Vache Naturelle and another quality that sets Chamonix and Barenia apart is the color and how the patina develops on both bags.

Generally speaking, Hermès Barenia leather develops a deeper patina over time compared to Chamonix leather. Barenia leather is known for its ability to develop a rich, deep patina that enhances its natural beauty and character. This is due in part to the fact that Barenia leather is not heavily treated with chemicals, allowing it to age naturally and develop a unique character over time.

Chamonix leather, on the other hand, has a smoother and more uniform surface compared to Barenia leather, which can result in a more subtle patina development.

When the reseller claims that this bag below is Barenia, the color tells me something is not right here. Despite it being a vintage item, the handle is miraculously light. 


A real Barenia Birkin should look at this beauty: 

Tip 3. The smell

Hermès Barenia leather is known for its distinctive, earthy aroma. The leather has a natural, woody smell that is often described as similar to the scent of fresh-cut hay, with subtle hints of vanilla and spices. This aroma is due to the natural tanning process used to create Barenia leather, which involves vegetable tanning with oak and birch bark extracts. 

Compared to Barenia, Chamonix has a more delicate and understated scent.

If you have the chance to see the bag before buying it, try to see if you can detect this smell. 


Having done all these research and posting on a "help identify the leather" thread on purseforum. I concluded that this bag is not Barenia as the reseller claimed it to be, saving myself 9000 USD.

My hunt for my first Birkin continues... 

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