How to Identify an Authentic Hermès Kelly Bag

The Hermès Kelly bag is a highly coveted luxury item that is often targeted by counterfeiters. To ensure that you are providing your customers with genuine and valuable pieces, it's important that as a professional luxury reseller, you know how to identify the authenticity elements of a Hermès Kelly handbag.

In this guide, we will explore the key characteristics to look for, including the quality of materials, the structure of the bag, the hardware, and more. With this knowledge, you'll be able to spot the signs of a fake Kelly and ensure that your luxury items resale business is offering only authentic Hermès handbags.

However, it is important to note that lately, some counterfeits have been so perfect that it is difficult to tell them apart from original handbags with just a physical inspection, that’s why we will show you another detail to verify the authenticity of a Kelly bag and be 100% sure of its originality.

  1. Materials
  2. Structure
  3. Handle and strap
  4. Sizes
  5. Hardware
    1. Padlocks and keys
    2. Metal engraving
  6. Date stamps
  7. Internal zipper and pockets
  8. Prints
    1. Special symbols
  9. Packaging
  10. Invoice



When inspecting the authenticity of a Kelly handbag, it is important to examine its materials, especially the leather from which it is made. To check that Kelly's material is authentic, you should use all your senses, such as touch, smell, and sight.

The texture and general appearance of the Hermès Kelly bag can vary depending on the type of leather it is made of, the vast majority of the Hermès handbags are made with calfskin, which features a grainy texture, but it can also be smooth in some kinds of leather. On the other hand, when a Kelly is made of exotic materials, such as crocodile, alligator, lizard, or ostrich skin, you should always look for the texture of scales, or pores and a rich smooth finish.

The scent plays an important role in determining if a Kelly bag is authentic, since the smell of natural leather or skin is very distinctive, often varying depending on how new the bag is. If you inspect a Kelly and it exudes a strong synthetic smell and the material looks and feels like plastic, then it is a really bad counterfeit.

It is also important to emphasize and examine the handbag’s weight. When lifting a Kelly it must be a little bit heavy since leather is a thick material, which must feel dense enough alongside the hardware, which is made of brass plated with precious metals.

It should be noted that sometimes counterfeits are so precise that it is very difficult to tell them apart just by focusing on the materials and general appearance. This is because counterfeiters create bags with genuine leather from high quality sources.




The Kelly handbag has an iconic silhouette that must be perfect to be considered an authentic handbag. The Kelly has a trapezoidal shape, with a thick handle on top, a straight and uninterrupted flap, and two closing straps that connect to the classic turning closure. The bag must be symmetrical and perfectly proportionate. This handbag is firm and sturdy and must be able to sit perfectly straight when put down on a surface.

The structure of the Kelly bag can vary depending on the construction style used to make it, that means if it is a Sellier or Retourné Kelly handbag. If it is a Sellier, the structure is firmer with sharper edges, and the stitches are visible through the exterior of the bag. If the Kelly is a Retourné version, it has a slouchier and relaxed appearance, and the stitching is made with the piping system, which means it cannot be seen from the outside.

On the other hand, the seams are very important elements to look up to when determining the authenticity of a Kelly bag; they must be consistent, symmetrical, and diagonal. The seams are made with high-quality linen thread and must not show any unraveling or signs of being glued on. 

The base of the Kelly bag has a rectangular shape and features 4 base studs created with the same material and plating as the rest of the bag. These studs must hold the bag perfectly when it is put down on a surface, so an original Kelly shouldn’t tumble.

The inner lining of the Hermès Kelly bag should be of superior quality and durable, commonly made of either goat or lambskin. The stitching must be flawless with no loose threads or unevenness. 


Handle and strap


The characteristic handle of the Kelly bag is extremely important at this point, only this part of the bag takes about three and a half hours to make since it is made using six pieces of leather aligned one on top of each other, this makes a convex handle at the top and a concave shape at the bottom. The handle must be firm, thick, and sturdy since it's made to offer a perfect grip to the arm or hand.

This handle has two rings made of the same hardware as the rest of the bag, these are located on each side of the handle, to connect a strap to them and allow the bag to be carried on the shoulder. When it comes to the Kelly II model, it has 4 rings attached to the handle, two in the original location, and two more attached to the original rings. This feature was added to stabilize the attachment of the strap to carry the Kelly on the shoulder or crossbody wise. 

The strap of the Kelly bag must be made of the same leather and color in which the handbag was made. The metal pieces, such as the clasps to connect the strap to the rings, must be plated with the same metal as the rest of the bag. The stitches in the strap and handle must be diagonal, symmetrical, and consistent.




Hermès Kelly bags come in a great range of sizes and models, however, there are five sizes to the standard Kelly handbag, 25, 28, 32, 35, 40. To verify the authenticity of a Kelly bag, it is important to measure the base and ensure that it corresponds with the size indicated by Hermès. Checking the dimensions is a vital step in ensuring that you are purchasing an authentic Hermès Kelly bag and not a counterfeit.




As with any other Hermès bag, the hardware of the Kelly bag is made of high-quality materials. It is created with a base of brass that is later plated with gold, palladium, permabrass, or ruthenium, although there are many other Hermès precious metals to add to the handbags. 

The most important piece of hardware in the Kelly handbag is the turning closure, which should turn smoothly and be perfectly functional alongside the hardware of the closing straps. Hermès hardware is created to last if properly cared for, that’s why if you come across hardware that tarnishes and peels too easily, or if the material under the pealing is from a different color, then you’re facing a bad counterfeit of a Kelly bag.

When examining the hardware of a Hermès Kelly bag, you need to make sure that every single piece of metal is made and plated on the same material. For instance, if the bag has gold-plated hardware, it should be gold in every single piece of metal, it cannot be a combination of gold and palladium. Keep this in mind.


Padlocks and keys


The Hermès Kelly clochette stores the padlock and keys, these pieces of hardware are of extreme importance, not only to secure the items inside the handbag but also to tell the authenticity of the Kelly. 

The padlock must be plated on the same material as the rest of the bag. This padlock features a simple design with the representation of an “H” made with minimalist lines on both faces of the padlock. This piece must have an engraving of the word “Hermès” at the bottom, as well as an engraved number that matches the one in the keys, this indicates that the padlock can be unlocked with said keys. It must be noted that the word “Hermès” engraved at the bottom of the padlock must contain the “e” with a French accent mark.

The keys are also important elements that you must check, both of them must be equal, which means, they should have the same distribution in their teeth, the same numbers engraved, and the same design of simple lines at the top. They should also match the hardware on the rest of the bag.


Metal engraving


Hermès is a brand that focuses on every single detail, which means that they put effort into engravings that show the true authenticity of their products, something that some counterfeiters can’t replicate with such precision.

The Hermès Kelly bag features an engraving of the words: “Hermès - Paris” on the front of the plaque of the left closure strap. This engraving should be in capital letters and the typography cannot be too small or too big, it is just the right size to fit the space in which it is located. 

Aside from the brand’s name engraving, there is also another detail that can be spotted in handbags with hardware plated in gold, it doesn’t matter if it is yellow, rose, or white gold. Every single Kelly bag with gold hardware should have the engraving of a small square symbol next to the words “Hermès - Paris” on the left plaque. This symbol indicates the gold in the plating is 100% real. It must be noted that this symbol must not be present if the bag has any other type of hardware that is not gold.

In the case of the Kelly bag, the strap also has some engraving in the clasps that are meant to be attached to the handle rings. The engraving must read the word: “Hermès” including the French accent mark. It must be located at the bottom of the clasp.


Date stamps


Another important aspect that contributes to the authenticity of a Kelly handbag is the date stamp. These codes indicate the year of creation and the serial number of the craftsmen who worked on each piece.

You can find the date stamp heat-stamped inside the upper left side of the bag, and it consists of three letters and three numbers, with two additional letters below. The first letter indicates the year of creation of the bag. Keep in mind that although the stamp can sometimes be difficult to read due to the type of leather and color intensity, it should always be legible.

Learn about which Hermès date stamp represents which year.

It is important to note that for vintage Hermès bags produced from 1945 to 2016, the date stamp is located on the interior of the left closure strap, so be sure to check carefully, especially if you’re dealing with pre-loved or older Kelly bags.


Internal zipper and pockets


Inspecting the inner features of a Kelly handbag is essential in verifying its authenticity. An original Kelly should contain two inner pockets, one with a zip closure at the back panel and another without a zipper at the front panel.

The back pocket zipper should be aligned with the zipper teeth, and positioned horizontally. The leather material used for the inner zipper should be soft and refined, unlike the rough and thick material found in counterfeit bags. The leather piece on the zipper mechanism should match the color and skin of the bag and have a unique diamond-like shape. Additionally, the zipper should glide effortlessly without getting stuck.




When examining the authenticity of a Hermès handbag, one important element to check is the print. In the case of the Hermès Kelly bag, the print can be found under the closing flap, above the turning closure, a few millimeters below the top seams. The print should read: "Hermès - Paris - Made in France" in capital letters.

The font used for the print should be consistent and clear, with the second "e" in "Hermès" having the French accent mark. It is important to note that the print color should match the color of the hardware, for example, if the hardware is made of palladium, the print should be silver. 

In the case of the Kelly bag, the strap also features a print that reads: “Hermès - Paris - Made in France", it is located closer to one of the clasps. The print should also be of the same color as the hardware of the bag.


Special symbols


Each Hermès Kelly bag is a unique and exclusive piece, and some feature special symbols that indicate important information about the bag. These symbols are typically found near the "Hermès - Paris - Made in France" stamp and can denote specific details such as the type of exotic skin used in the bag's construction or whether the bag was a custom order for a client.

It's important to closely examine these symbols when verifying the authenticity of a Kelly bag. Lear more about the meaning behind each special symbol.




When it comes to verifying the authenticity of a Hermès Kelly bag, examining its packaging is just as important as examining its physical features. While not every Kelly sold in the luxury resale market will come with a box and dust bag, it's important to look out for these elements to avoid purchasing a counterfeit or stolen handbag.

The classic orange Hermès box should have a small Hermès logo printed on the lid and should fit the size of the handbag comfortably. Meanwhile, the dust bag should be wide and dense, and its color is either white or light beige. The dust bag will have the Hermès logo, a double circle design featuring the letter "H" as a reference to the brand, and a detailed illustration of a horse, a cart, and a standing man.

The cord that closes the dust bag should be light brown and the space where the cord goes is precisely 2 centimeters wide. Additionally, the pendant or clochette that contains the key and padlock of the Kelly bag will come with its own small dust bag, exclusively for storing these components.

To make sure that the box is authentic, you can also use the UV light test, shining a UV flashlight on the surface of the box, you should be able to see several Hermès logos in invisible ink covering the box. The opacity of the logos may vary from box to box.

The packaging of the Kelly bag should also include a raincover made for the exact size of the bag.




The invoice is the most important element to authenticate a Hermès Kelly handbag, providing important details such as color, size, hardware, and skin, and enabling comparison of the date stamp inside the bag to the code shown in the invoice. All of these details can help corroborate that the Kelly bag previously examined fits the description as the one shown in the invoice.

While many Hermès handbags sold on resale markets lack invoices, the invoice, payment receipt, and live proof of the bank transaction are the three definitive elements that establish the true authenticity of a Kelly bag.

The date, time, and amount paid shown in each of these documents can corroborate the authenticity of a physically inspected Kelly bag. It is vital to obtain these documents to ensure safe and authentic purchases, as well as to instill trust in future transactions and clients.

Hermès Kelly handbags are highly sought-after luxury items that require a meticulous examination of their authenticity. From physical inspection to verifying invoices and other documents, every aspect is crucial in determining the genuineness of a Kelly.

As professional luxury resellers, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of Hermès' authenticity elements to ensure that you are providing your customers with authentic products.

By following the guidelines provided in this guide, you can confidently identify an authentic Hermès Kelly and uphold the credibility of the luxury items resale market. Always remember to carefully verify every detail and only work with reputable sources when purchasing Hermès handbags to ensure their authenticity.

If you're looking to broaden your knowledge of Hermès, take a look at our blog for resellers.

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