Hermès Leather: Barenia

Hermès bags come in so many different types of leathers each with its individual look, feel, and wearability. In the spotlight today is a very interesting, rare and lesser known leather called barenia.

Barenia is one of Hermès’ oldest leathers. Originally an equestrian equipment brand, Hermès used barenia for its saddles and that gives you a pretty good idea of what barenia is like: rich in color, thick, soft, and better with age!

Barenia comes in the following colors:

 

Top left clockwise: Vert Olive, Natural or Fauve, Ébène, Black, Indigo

The leather is shinier than the more popular clemence or togo leathers, but less shinier than box. It has an almost velvet-like softness to the touch and develops a slight slouch as it is used. However, because of its softness, barenia is not for the faint of heart. It is the easiest leather to scratch and mark up, which is alarming for most people who would pay a pretty price for a bag. Most people prefer their Hermès purchases to stay as new as the day they purchased them — but this is physically impossible with anything in barenia if you plan on taking it out of the house. The good news is that light scratches can be rubbed out and water doesn’t leave a mark if its quickly wiped. But even with more serious wear and tear, the appeal of barenia lies in its patina and striations which blends over scratches and marks the more it is worn. This is why I believe barenia is so rare in the wild — people are afraid to buy and use it as it should be!

Barenia is a lovely leather with a casual feel. I adore it in Evelynes and Birkins:

 

Both of the bags above are in Natural/Fauve but with usage and lighting the color can look lighter or darker — beautiful in both hues!

 

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