What Are Hermès Birkin Bags And Why The Heck Are They So Expensive?

Customers wait for years on waiting lists just to purchase these bags.

Cover image via Faairy

The Hermès Birkin bag has become even more "famous" thanks to a recent investigation into Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's loot

Image via Hameitu

284 boxes filled with designer bags were recently confiscated from the former prime minister's house to use as evidence into the 1MDB scandal.

Apparently, amongst the stash included the much-coveted Hermès Birkin designer handbags.

Hermès Birkin bags are notoriously known to be one of the most expensive handbags in the world

Hermes bright red Porosus crocodile Birkin bag

Image via The Independent

One particularly expensive Hermès Birkin created by Japanese designer Ginza Tanaka was said to cost USD1.9 million. That's about RM7.5 million… for one bag.

Why the exorbitant price? The bag is said to be made of 100% platinum and is adorned with 2,000 diamonds - including an eight-carat pear-shaped rock.

This Birkin made of 100% platinum was created by Japanese designer Ginza Tanaka.

Image via Kyluc

To make it "worth your money", the removable strap and diamond can double up as a necklace or bracelet too. :D

Even the simplest of Birkin bags start at about USD10,000 and are famous for their years-long waiting lists to purchase.

For the price they pay, it's no surprise that celebrities like Nicole Richie and the Kardashians are often seen sporting their Birkins.

Image via Runwayribbons

Legend has it that back in 1983 on a Paris to London flight, French actress Jane Birkin's diary fell out of her bag scattering her papers everywhere. A gentleman helped her pick them up and introduced himself to her as Jean-Louis Dumas.

Image via Upsize

It turned out that he was chairman of luxury fashion brand, Hermès. 

He saw her carrying a tattered straw handbag and suggested that she could use one with pockets. That conversation eventually led them to work together to develop a new handbag, the first Hermès Birkin bag.

Jane Birkin holding the first Hermès Birkin bag ever.

Image via Telegraph

So, why are these bags so expensive?

It is said that Hermès artisans train for a minimum of five years before they're allowed to create a Birkin on their own.

Image via Pinterest

Once he has mastered the skill, he creates a Birkin by hand from start to end. Each bag is hand-sewn, buffed, painted, polished, and takes 48 hours to create.

Another reason for their high cost is that they're scarce to find, with only 200,000 bags in circulation around the world

Sources show that Rosmah owns quite a few of her own.

Image via Financetwitter

Due to its scarcity and years-long waiting list, reselling Birkin bags is a booming business and that's what makes these bags so valuable.

You can even rent a Birkin for a week for 250 Euros (about RM1,172)!

To add to their price tags, the premium bags are said to come in a variety of exotic hides - crocodile, calf, lizard, and ostrich

The white Himalayan crocodile bag that is the most expensive bag sold at an auction to date!

Image via Pinterest

One Hermès Birkin made out of white Himalayan crocodile skin and diamond encrusted buckles broke the world's record for being the most expensive bag sold at an auction for about USD380,000 (RM1.5mil)!

Not sure how she got her hands on it, but Rosmah was seen sporting this exclusive bag.

Image via Finance Twitter

The long waiting lists means getting one of these bags is no easy feat. So, how do you buy a Birkin? You gotta have "connections" first.

Image via Jetsetway

You need to have a purchase history at the store to get started or know someone who has bought a Birkin before.

"Then they meet with you, assess how serious you are about spending, and then you go on their list," according to Michelle Goad, CEO of luxury personal shopping app P.S. Dept, as told in Telegraph.

Forget about the stock market or gold, Birkin bags prove to be great investments too

Image via GQ

In a study, researchers compared the value of gold to Birkin bags over a span of 35 years.

The Birkin beat gold as a better investment - increasing its value by 14.2%!

Looks like someone has been extremely clever with her investments this whole time! ;)

In case you're wondering, this is how expensive they can get:

In other news, people are going crazy over Tun M's "humble" Bata footwear: