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Deconstructed: The Hermès Himalaya

Why collectors are in thrall to the extraordinary craftsmanship behind the creation of the ultimate bag

The ravishing Hermès Himalaya Birkin Bag is considered the Holy Grail in a Handbag collection, while the Himalaya Kelly is fabled as ‘The Rarest Handbag in the World’. How did this handbag achieve such cachet? The answer lies in the construction of this wearable work of art, a striking blend of superlative design with fabulous materials.

A rare, Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2012. 35 x 25 x 18 cm. Estimate HK$600,000-800,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories  on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

A rare, Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2012. 35 x 25 x 18 cm. Estimate: HK$600,000-800,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

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  • A gradation that resembles the majestic, snow-capped Himalayas

The Himalaya Birkin is crafted from Nilo crocodile hide. The designation ‘Himalaya’ does not apply to the origin of the bag, but rather to the delicate gradation of the colour. The smoky grey fades into a pearly white, resembling the majestic, snow-capped Himalayas. The process of dyeing a Crocodile hide is time-consuming and exponentially more difficult as the shades lighten — to create the immaculate white of the snow and the gradation to rocky grey requires great skill and a fine eye.

A rare Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2015. 35 x 25 x 18 cm. Estimate £60,000-80,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories on 12 June 2017 at Christie’s in London, King Street

A rare Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2015. 35 x 25 x 18 cm. Estimate: £60,000-80,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories on 12 June 2017 at Christie’s in London, King Street

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  • The ultimate expression of artistry

The finished product is wondrous to behold. Marrying precious materials and craftsmanship with the Hermès equestrian heritage, the Himalaya Birkin is the ultimate expression of the artistry and tradition of the storied Hermès House.

A rare Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 25 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2014. 25 x 19 x 13 cm. Estimate HK$550,000-750,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories  on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

A rare Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 25 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2014. 25 x 19 x 13 cm. Estimate: HK$550,000-750,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

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  • A collecting phenomenon

The introduction of the original series of Himalaya Birkins spawned a collecting phenomenon. Handbag collectors around the world recognised the rarity and exquisite craftsmanship behind the Himalaya. Therefore, in a resounding response to the appetite of collectors, Hermès began to craft very few Himalaya Kelly Bags for top clients. 

A rare Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourné Kelly 25 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2015. 25 x 18 x 9 cm. Estimate HK$600,000-800,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories  on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

A rare Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourné Kelly 25 with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2015. 25 x 18 x 9 cm. Estimate: HK$600,000-800,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

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  • The Himalaya Kelly

Produced in the most limited of numbers, the Himalaya Kelly is a perfect marriage of the subtle gradation of the Himalaya and the elegance of the Kelly. The Himalaya Kelly is both an heirloom and a work of art.

An exceptional Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 with 18K white gold & diamond hardware. Hermès, 2014. 30 x 22 x 15 cm. Estimate HK$1,500,000-2,000,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories  on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

An exceptional Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 with 18K white gold & diamond hardware. Hermès, 2014. 30 x 22 x 15 cm. Estimate: HK$1,500,000-2,000,000. This lot is offered in Handbags & Accessories on 31 May 2017 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

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  • The most desirable handbag in existence

In 2016, Christie’s 30th Anniversary Hong Kong auction sold a Himalaya Birkin Bag with White Gold and Diamond Hardware for an auction world record price of $300,168. This incredible result solidifies what handbag collectors worldwide already know: the Diamond Himalaya Bag is the most desirable handbag in existence.