Handbags and Accessories

Hermès Crocodile and Alligator Bag Buying Guide

By Lucy Bishop
Hermès Crocodile Bag at Sotheby's, Available for Immediate Shipping
Hermès Crocodile bag

Hermès Crocodile and Alligator Bag

When it comes to Hermès bags there is a hierarchy of materials. Most of Hermès’ products are made of full-grain leather, though most designs are also produced in very limited quantities with bodies of exotic skins like Lizard, Ostrich, Crocodile or Alligator. Often retailing for multiples of their leather counterparts, Alligator or Crocodile Hermès occupy their own level of luxury, and crocodile sits atop this group. To help collectors learn more about these highly-valued Hermès bags, we’ve put together a guide to Hermès’ most luxurious and expensive materials:

Crocodile Hermès Birkin 25 Jaune Bourgeon Matte Porosus

Hermès Crocodile Bag

Currently Hermès Crocodile bag are made using two different species of crocodile. Each type Hermès Crocodile has a unique set of features. The most highly-valued Hermès Crocodile is Porosus and is sourced from Australia. Hermès crocodile Porosus scales tend to have the most distinct pores in the center of each scale. Appearing as a little dot, these pores are what give Hermès Crocodile Porosus its name. An Hermès Bag in this species are marked with a ^ next to the Hermès logo, whereas Hermès Crocodile Niloticus (Nilo for short) is marked with a = and are sourced from North Africa. Niloticus Hermès Crocodile bags sometimes have pores similar to Porosus Hermès crocodile but tend to have longer, more rectangular scales compared to the tight small square scales expected on an Porosus Hermès crocodile bag. In decades past Hermès has also used Caiman crocodile, marked with an O by the brand stamp. Caiman Hermès crocodile bags tend to have big square scales, though this material was discontinued when Hermès found it difficult to reliably source high grade Caiman skins.

Alligator Mini Kelly Hermès

Hermès Alligator Bag

Hermès uses Alligator sourced from the USA, though mostly for smaller bags and accessories. Large alligator skins often have wild uneven scales, which tend not to make it through Hermès’ quality control. Hermès Alligator bag is marked with a small square by the Hermès brand logo.

Alligator Hermès Birkin 25 Beton Matte

Hermès Crocodile vs Alligator Bag Finishes

Hermès crocodile and Hermès alligator bags have two distinct finishes. Shiny, or Lisse bags are buffed to a near mirror finish using a smooth agate stone. Shiny Hermès crocodile and Hermès alligator bags have a glossy effect without using any actual gloss. A matte finish for an Hermès crocodile and Hermès alligator bag is achieved through repeatedly rubbing the skin with a piece of wool felt. A Matte Hermès crocodile or Hermès alligator bag have been increasing in popularity and value recently. Matte finish Hermès bags are less likely to show scratches or water marks on the exterior.

Earlier this year Hermès crocodile and Hermès alligator items were released with a new finish dubbed Boreal Satin. This finish is similar to Matte with silkier touch, and so far has only been spotted in a few colors. Mostly seen on small accessories, Boreal Satin bags are extremely rare on the secondary market.

Alligator Kelly Hermès Shiny Gris Tourterelle and Anthracite

Hermès Crocodile vs Alligator Bag Colors

Hermès may be known for its fabulous colors, but certain hues are made exclusively for exotics. Aside from the world-famous Himalayans, other exotic-exclusive colors include Vert Emerald, Mimosa, Gris Paris and Rose Scheherazade, as well as others. The variation in scales gives these colors incredible depth and vibrancy that simply cannot be achieved on regular leather.

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