A Hong Kong collector has set a fashion record after bidding for “arguably the rarest, most spectacular, and most jaw-dropping Birkin to ever be made” at Christie’s Auction house on Monday.
The Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin, which was designed in 2008, is encrusted with 245 diamonds and an 18-karat white gold clasp. The purse itself is crafted from the skin of an almost-albino pale crocodile specially bred for Hermès to give it a “white Himalaya” color.
After a reportedly heated bidding war, a Hong Kong buyer who chose to remain anonymous won the bag for a total of $300,168, making it the most expensive bag sold at auction in history.
Last year, a fuchsia diamond-studded Birkin bag sold for a previous record-setting price of $222,000.
A pre-sale press release from Christie’s explained:
“The diamond pieces created by Hermes are exceptional, but none are nearly as iconic as the Himalaya.
“It is believed that only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year, globally, making it one of the lowest production runs for handbags.”
The particular model of the high-end bag already belongs to celebrity owners like Victoria Beckham and reality T.V. star Kim Kardashian.
In 2014, Hermes collector Jane Finds told Vogue of the Nilo Crocodile Birkin:
“The 30-centimeter diamond Himalayan Birkin is possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world. This bag is made of Nilo crocodile, rendered in a subtle coloration that is meant to evoke images of the majestic Himalayan mountains. This dyeing process is painstaking and takes many hours to complete—the lighter the hue, the more difficult the process.
“This is arguably the rarest, most spectacular, and most jaw-dropping Birkin to ever be made, and it is likely the only time a bag of this caliber will be offered on the luxury resale market.”
The iconic French fashion house keeps the number of Birkin bags produced and sold a year a tightly held secret. Waiting lists for the bag reportedly last up to six years while the bags themselves, which easily start in the five figures, often appreciate in value.