Why do women covet and lust after expensive handbags?

How did handbags become SOOO much more than a carry-all for your phone, purse and lipstick?

It’s a complex mixture of celebrity culture, fashion culture and the power of the brand.

But it is mainly an expression of ultimate prestige, a conveyer of status. It’s also to impress other women!

Some are blatantly branded, others are bags that you will need to have ‘the knowledge’ to recognise. It’s THE signature accessory. You can be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but the statement handbag shouts ‘I’m here, and I’m VERY special’!

So, what is it about a handbag that makes it into 5, 6 or even 7 figures? It’s all in the materials – the softest calfskin leather, or white crocodile skin. It’s in the handmade craftmanship. The expensive handbags at Chanel and Hermes are crafted by artisans who have spent years perfecting their craft. They take many, many hours to craft just one bag, so numbers are limited, adding the ‘scarcity’ factor to up that value!

Let’s take a look at some handbags that will make your eyes water, if not only from their beauty, but from their price tags!

Birkin Bags

Created by the fashion house of Hermes, Birkin bags are highly covetable and collectible, considered by many to be an investment due to their high resale value. They are named after the English actress and singer, Jane Birkin. She met Hermes executive Jean Louis Dumas flying from Paris to London and regaled him with her woes when her bag tumbled out the luggage compartment and spewed its contents all over the plane.  She couldn’t find a big enough tote, because, you know…KIDS…a Mom needs to carry SO much stuff.

Lo and behold, a legend is born! Hermes has created and released many Birkin bags since then, handmade from fine leather, made to order with customisation as required, including extra diamonds, if that’s your thing!

Recognition tip: A Birkin bag always has 2 handles, while the other popular Hermes handbag line, the Kelly, only has one.

The Birkin bag is so iconic of fashionista and wealth status that it has popped up significantly in the plot lines of popular movies and series, such as ‘The Primates of Park Avenue’, ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Gilmore Girls’ and ‘Will and Grace’.

 Let’s take a look at some of the MOST expensive Birkin bags shall we? Go on then…

Blue Crocodile Hermes Birkin Handbag

Eyewatering Price tag: $150 000

It’s the white gold and diamond embellishments that hiked up the price!

Hermes Birkin Bag by Ginza Tana

Eyewatering Price tag: $1.4 Million


That’ll be because it is made of platinum and diamonds, over 2000 of them! Detach the diamond strap if you want and use it as a necklace or bracelet. Nifty! It seems this one doesn’t have the two handles. Oh well, rules ARE made to be broken.


Niloticus Crocodile Himalaya Birkin

Eyewatering Price tag: $379,000

The Nilo Crocodile skin is painstakingly and subtly dyed to get this stunning light hue.

 Fuchsia Diamond-Studded Hermes Birkin

Eyewatering Price tag: $222,000

There’s nothing shy or retiring about the knock out colour, white gold and diamonds on this baby. Not recommended for the wallflower type!

Hermes Exceptional Collection Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile Birkin Bag

Eyewatering Price tag: $203,150

It’s those details again, you know, the diamonds and white gold? Plus the deep red crocodile skin!

Chanel Handbags

These are all about instantly recognised heritage and were originally designed by the iconic rebel and feminist Coco Chanel herself. They have a classic quilted look, a chain strap and of course, the interlocking ‘C’ logo.

Chanel “Diamond Forever” Handbag

Eyewatering Price tag: $261,000



Here we have diamonds and matte white alligator skin to keep the item pricey!

Let’s mosey on and take a look at a few other crackers in the high-stakes handbag market.


This is a luxury brand that takes the cake in the relentless ache for perfection. The brand specialises is amazingly beautiful and intricate jewellery, timepieces and accessories. The 1001 Nights Diamond Purse holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive handbag in the world (2011).

Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse

Eyewatering Price tag: $3.8 million


For your $3.8 big ones you could own this hand-crafted, heart shaped jewel of a ‘bag’ with a total of 4517 differently-coloured diamonds!

Lana Marks Clutches

We couldn’t talk about prestigious handbags without mentioning their small, red-carpet-frequenting sister, the Clutch. Designed to be held in the palm of the hand and only contain essentials for a glamourous night out.

Lana Marks designs individual clutches for leading ladies, with diamonds, gold and sapphires adorning these special accessories, as coveted as the Best Actress Oscar!

Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch

Eyewatering Price tag: $400 000



Kate Winslet clutched hers close at the 2005 Academy Awards – I would too if my clutch sported 40 karats of white diamonds!


Hmm….it make one feel somewhat dissatisfied with a canvas tote. Time to up the ante and get some jewels going on the handbags. Do you think anyone would notice if we just bedazzled our handbags?



Written by