There are almost endless ways to create texture on different metals and decorate the hardware we can find on bags, belts or other accessories. Hermès has used different textured and decorated hardware over the years. Some can be found more often than others, but all of them require a high level of craftsmanship to achieve the perfect look. Most of these special techniques can be found on the iconic Hermès H buckle, found the classic Constance bag or small leather goods, such as belts.
The decorated H buckles for Constance bags only have been around for a years. Originally the Constance bag only came with gold-plated brass hardware. Hermès wanted to add a special something to these iconic shoulder bags and what better way to do that than to give the iconic H buckle a new face. In recent years, Hermès added Silver plated and Enamel hardware, lizard skin and leather inlays or simply engraved patterns into the hardware.
Probably the most well known textured hardware Hermès uses, is the brushed hardware. In contrast to the shiny, polished hardware seen on bags and accessories, this hardware has a matte finish. This texture is achieved by polishing the metal with an abrasive metal that is rubbed over the surface. This leaves small scratches on the surface, which you can’t feel. In the end the hardware is polished to have a small shine to it.
The Guilloche H buckle is another popular texture used by Hermès. It stems from the decorative technique, called Guilloche. The very precise, intricate, repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material. The pattern looks like a diamond cut, but some people say, it looks like a pineapple.
Another special hardware used by Hermès is called the hammered H buckle. Hammered hardware features dents over the whole hardware. To make this texture, Hermès craftsmen use a special hammer. Creating this pattern needs the right amount of force, which requires a lot of practice. If you were to use too much force, you can potentially deform the whole metal.
Grooved hardware can also be found as H buckles. This hardware is finished with thin lines engraved in it. Similar to the hammered hardware, the Hermès craftsmen need special tools and a lot of expertise to achieve these perfect lines.
The Enamel H buckle is another well-known and very popular variation to the traditional hardware. Enamel was traditionally used for bracelets before it made the jump on to the hardware of the Constance bag. Enamel is used to lacquer the metal for the hardware. When it comes to the Constance, Hermès uses Enamel in an array of colors on the Verso Constance bags. An especially unique Enamel buckle is featured on the Constance Optique, where the colored Enamel lacquer is used in an illusionary pattern of line work.
A rare ornamentation of the H buckle is the Lizard inlay. Achieved by an inlay technique called Marquetry, Lizard skin is used to decorate the H buckle. You can see this on the Marquette Constance in a combination of an Alligator skin body and a Lizard inlay H buckle, or the body made of Swift leather with a Lizard inlay H buckle.
Other Constance lines have implemented an inlay on the buckle, however, the Marquette is unique in that the inlay is done specifically in Varanus Niloticus lizard, where other lines are inlaid with leather or enamel lacquer.
The Constance Cartable, the biggest version of the Constance features such a leather inlay. Here, the leather and color used for the Hardware is the same as for the body of the Constance.
A Limited Edition Constance, made of Matte Vert Titien Alligator featured a very special H buckle. The clasp has Turquoise marble inlayed. The Turquoise is a blue-green mineral that is rare and valuable. It has been prized as gemstone and ornamental stone for thousands of years. By using it for the H clasp of the Constance, Hermès made a true piece of Art.
Hermès has created unique ways to give its iconic H buckle various make overs. We are looking forward what the creative minds will come up with next.