Continuing a streak of hot auction records, Christie’s on Wednesday sold what is now the world’s most expensive handbag for $379,261. The 2014 white Himalayan crocodile diamond Birkin went up for bidding in Hong Kong, fetching well above its pre-sale estimates of $193,432 to $257,909.
Despite its name, the Himalayas have nothing to do with the origin of the bag but is instead a reference to the gradation of color, with the blending of smoky-gray into a pearly-white meant to resemble the snow-capped mountain range.
“The most valuable bags are the diamond pieces, and the top collector pieces are the ones from the Himalaya family,” said Matt Rubinger, Christie’s international director of handbags and accessories. “This example, with white gold detailing and 245 diamonds, combines the two. It is a Himalaya with diamond hardware, and thus the apex of the market.”
He added that there have been rumors that Hermès might stop the production of Himalaya Birkins and this could have contributed to its record-making price.
There is currently a six-year waiting list to acquire a new one, and each bag takes at least 48 hours to create by hand.
“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 gray requires great skill and a fine eye,” Christie’s added.