Accessories Fashion

The Art of Silk: How to Spot a Fake Hermes Scarf, and More

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By Chere Di Boscio

We’ve all become a bit spoiled these days.

Digital technology has allowed for the mass-printing of intricate designs that were once the reserve of highly trained artisans. Prints that used to be silk screened by hand are now printed by computers, and only the well trained eye can tell the difference. Though this is certainly a more democratic approach to apparel, it seems to be a bit of a shame to be losing the art of silk screening.

Some companies, such as Hermes, insist on maintaining the ancient technique for their scarves. Each silk square boasts hand finished edges, double ply Mulberry silk and dozens of colours applied by hand. After an artwork has been designed, pencils, paintbrushes, pens, sponges and even toothbrushes are all used by master artisans to break the picture down into its composite colours, then reproducing each layer on its own acetate sheet.

It can take up to 1700 hours to complete one scarf, which is why such scarves are expensive–but the precision drawn, vividly colourful result is worth it. Even worn vintage pieces are still very much in demand, and no wonder: each could be considered a reproduced piece of art much in the same way etchings or photographs are, and as with fine art, the value of some prints only increases with age.

Sadly, because of their value, there is another quality Hermes scarves share with art–there are many Hermes fakes to watch out for. Here’s what you need to look out for.

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How to Spot a Fake Hermes Scarf

According to expert Catherine B, there are five key signs of a fake Hermes scarf:

1. A fabric tag written in any other language besides French and English. All Hermes scarves are made in France, but often carry a bilingual tag–English is the only other language you may see.

2. A real, original Hermes scarf will have a hand rolled hem, rolling towards the front (the more vibrant side of the print). The thread for the hem should perfectly match the main colour of the scarf.

3. Whilst some vintage scarves may not carry it, most scarves today (and from the 80s onwards) will have the artist’s signature somewhere in the print.

4. There are three sizes of Hermes scarves: 90 cm x 90 cm, 35” x by 35”,  60 x 60cm 24″ x 24″, and  40cm x 40cm  17″ x 17″. That is it! Anything outside this range is likely to be fake.

5.  One of the easiest way to spot authentic Hermes scarf is the incorporation of Jacquard silk (slightly 3D compared to the rest of the scarf). This is difficult to replicate; no fake scarf will use Jacquard silk.

6. Look for the name. There should be a copyright “ ©HERMÈS” mark with the “C” in a circle with the word Hermès–NOT “Hermes-Paris’. Again the second ‘e’ must have a French accent mark. The copyright is usually located on the upper left hand corner of the scarf.

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Beyond Hermes

Of course, Hermes is not the only scarf brand to make art meticulously on silk–one of our favourite brands is Emma J Shipley, who  Taking her inspiration from Victorian botanical drawings, Greek mythology and evolution, Shipley’s painstakingly detailed designs are drawn by hand before being transferred onto the purest of sustainable materials. Nature features prominently in her work, and for us, seems to send a message of the interconnectivity of all living things.

She’s recently created a line of silk women’s wear, in conjunction with  award-winning designer Teija Eilola. Stunning silk blouson style tops, shorts and a playsuit all feature, and are all cut in a flattering and loose-fitting styles, decorated with Shipley’s classic Amazon print in neutral tones.

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We’ve also discovered another British brand that we love, not only for its botanical designs, but for its dedication to saving the species illustrated on its silk, such as bees. Sparrows Green Studio is a London based scarf design brand whose founder and designer, Kate Palmer, takes inspiration from nature, visual illusions and kaleidoscopic prints. All the scarves are  designed using Kate’s pencil drawings, and though she does use hand silk screening techniques, she also digitally prints some, too.

Insects and wildlife such as birds, fish and stag beetles are the typical themes printed onto silk chiffon and habutai–so it’s not wonder that Palmer, who  has worked as a textile designer creating prints for major fashion houses including Donna Karan, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Armani Exchange and Ralph Lauren–is a keen supporter of wildlife conservation.

She has created a bee  scarf  in aid of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and has just launched a new  scarf  in aid of the Bat Conservation Trust.

For more information, please click here.

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Michal
    Nov 1, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    You don’t have the slightest clue what you arevtalking about. Authentic Hermes scarfes DO IN FACT say: Hermès

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 2, 2015 at 4:12 am

      Yes, we know that Michal–please see point 6, which clearly states: Look for the name. There should be a copyright “ ©HERMÈS” mark with the “C” in a circle with the word Hermès–NOT “Hermes-Paris’. Again the second ‘e’ must have a French accent mark. The copyright is usually located on the upper left hand corner of the scarf.

      In addition, one of the scarves we show as an example of an authentic Hermes scarf has the brand name clearly visible in two places.

  • Reply
    Karen
    Dec 15, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Excellent information! Thank you. I have inherited a scarf and was wondering how I could determine it’s value. Is there a web site for this?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Dec 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      I would recommend connecting with Catherine Benier on Facebook. She’s sweet, kind and a great expert!

      • Reply
        Brian Hedderick
        Aug 16, 2017 at 11:47 am

        I tried to find Catherine Bernier on Facebook but I was unable to distinguish which one was her … I too have several scarves that I would like to inquire about … any help here?

        • Reply
          Chere
          Aug 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm

          Sure! On Facebook, try the one that says
          Catherine Benier
          Works at Les 3 Marches de Catherine B

  • Reply
    Betsy deWitt
    Mar 28, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Have a shawl 35×35 with rolled edges thread perfectly arched but name says Hermes-Paris with mark over the second e. Name is at bottom of kachina shawl. Can this be real?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Mar 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Betsy
      It’s hard to say without seeing it, but it does sound likely to be real, especially due to the perfectly arched threads in the rolled edges.

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 3, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Hi,
    sorry to disturb you but I would like to share some experience
    I ‘ve just bought a scarf from an English buy-and -sell site. (It is Cheval Fusion by Hermes, designer – Dmitrii Rybaltchenko)
    According to the photographs presented on the site everything was perfect. But when it arrived I realised that it is much lighter than an authentic one even before I opened the packaging. I put the scarf on the scales and the weight was 52 gr.
    I think we are talking about so called photo-accurate copy.
    I am collecting Hermes scarves since 2008 and eventually I was caught.
    So if you are going to buy a scarf from a not – known – recognized seller please think 10 times befor you send the money.
    Kind regards
    Anna

    • Reply
      Chere
      May 3, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks for the tips, Anna!

  • Reply
    Vivien Rosenthal
    May 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks very much for tips. Am just off to auction preview, so will use your tips. How much should an Hermes scarf weigh?

    • Reply
      Chere
      May 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Vivien
      It depends on the scarf…

  • Reply
    Ludette
    Nov 12, 2017 at 3:48 am

    There are in fact 140 cm Hermès scarves.

  • Reply
    Karan Abercrombie
    Feb 2, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I have a long 140cm Hermès sheer silk scarf with scribbled beautiful French ladies drawn in black dressed in red, blue and yellow with hats on it. It also has black words and signatures all over it and I have not been able to find any information about it or another one like it. It is so sheer and delicate in a pale grey with matching stitching and red and blue dots around the border of it. It has it’s tag as well as a large signature in one corner.

  • Reply
    Agnes
    Feb 21, 2018 at 3:04 am

    90x90cm Hermes scarf should always weight 63 gramm. If it’s heaviet – fake. If little lighter – it may still be authentic, but poorly maintained (no dry cleaned).

    • Reply
      Chere
      Feb 21, 2018 at 3:33 am

      A great tip. Thanks, Agnes!

  • Reply
    Anna
    Mar 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Brand new Hermes scarf absolutely authentic bought in Hermes boutique has 72 g of weight. The older ones which were worn and several times dry-cleaned weigh between 63-68 gr depending of the condition. The older is a scarf the lighter it will be (again if it was worn and clean a lot. Tip: do not dry clean your silk scarves)))

    • Reply
      Chere
      Mar 8, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks for the tips!!

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