Hermès, Chanel and More – WWD

For some, a purse is more than an accessory — it’s an investment. According to Data Bridge, a global market research firm, the luxury handbag market is on an upswing, with its value projected to reach $42 billion by 2029. Meanwhile, global financial consulting company Credit Suisse estimates that high-end handbags are one of the best investments of 2023, beating out both art and jewelry.

High fashion labels are increasingly catering to collectors, releasing their most prized purses in extremely limited numbers. These one-of-a-kind pieces can fetch hundreds of thousands at auction, with crocodile finishes and diamond embellishments upping the ante.

Below, see 10 of the world’s most expensive handbags. Unsurprisingly, Hermès dominates the list.

Hermès Matte Alligator Faubourg Birkin

Hermès matte alligator Faubourg Birkin, worlds most expensive purses and handbags

Hermès matte alligator Faubourg Birkin


First released in 2019, the Faubourg Birkin resembles an Hermès storefront. In recent years, Faubourgs have become among the most collectible Hermès bags, featuring alligator and chèvre leather. Sotheby’s sold this rare 20 cm handbag with palladium hardware for $240,000 in 2022.

Chanel Diamond Forever

MOUGINS, FRANCE - MAY 22:  Singer Madonna onstage during amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2008 benefit held at Le Moulin de Mougins during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2008 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Toni Anne Barson/WireImage)

Madonna holds the Chanel Diamond Forever bag at amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS 2008 benefit.


In 2008, Chanel produced its Diamond Forever bag. Karl Lagerfeld designed the alligator leather piece in the style of the French label’s iconic flap bags. It features white gold hardware, including a clasp encrusted with 334 diamonds totaling 3.56 carats. The Diamond Forever was put up for auction during amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS benefit, selling for $261,000.

Feather Embroidery Sellier Mosaïque Kelly 32 with palladium hardware

Feather embroidery Sellier Mosaïque Kelly 32 with palladium hardware

Feather embroidery Sellier Mosaïque Kelly 32 with palladium hardware.


This taupe Sellier Kelly, made in 2010, is adorned with a geometric collage of multicolor feathers. It sold for $352,825 at a 2021 Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.

Hermès Himalaya Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 with 18-karat gold and diamond hardware

Eunis Chan models a Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin with 18K gold and diamond hardware -- one of the most valuable handbags in the world -- during a preview at Christies in Hong Kong on May 4, 2016. / AFP / ISAAC LAWRENCE        (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Hermès Himalaya crocodile diamond Birkin with 18-karat gold hardware.

AFP via Getty Images

Christie’s auctioned off two of the world’s most expensive handbags in 2016 and 2017. Fetching $300,168 and $388,738, these highly coveted Birkins are 30-cm models including 18-karat white gold and nine to 10 carats of diamonds.

Named for their gradient pattern reminiscent of the snow-capped mountain range, Himalaya bags, specifically those made by Hermès, are considered some of the rarest in the world.

Due to their limited quantity, Himalayas have become popular among collectors. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Kris Jenner have both gotten their hands on the bags, too.

Li Bingbing’s Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  Li Bingbing arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Li Bingbing at the 2012 Oscars.


Lana Marks’ trademark Cleopatra clutch comes in a variety of colors. It became a must-have red carpet accessory in the 2000s, with stars including Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie carrying variations of the crocodile bag.

Marks’ most expensive creation, however, was for Chinese actress Li Bingbing. Bingbing’s $400,000 custom clutch features 40 carats of black diamonds, 18-karat gold, and her name written in pink gold embellished with pink diamonds.

Hermès Himalaya Crocodile Retourné Kelly

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 04:  A Hermès White Himalaya Matte Niloticus Crocodile Retourne Kelly 32 Palladium Hardware, 2011 is on display during a press preview of the upcoming Luxury Week at Sotheby's on June 04, 2021 in New York City. 2 (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

An Hermès Himalaya crocodile Retourné Kelly 32 with palladium hardware.

Getty Images

Himalaya Birkins are a steal compared to their Kelly counterparts. Christie’s broke a world record with the 2021 sale of a Himalaya crocodile Retourné Kelly 28. The piece, which features 18-karat gold and diamond hardware, sold for $513,200. Another Himalaya crocodile Retourné Kelly 25 with palladium hardware fetched $435,375 in 2020.

Hermès Ginza Tanaka Birkin

A Ginza Tanaka employee shows off 200-million-yen (1,626,016 USD) diamond bijou bag made of 208ct, 2182-diamonds and platinum during a platinum exhibition press preview in Tokyo on June 18, 2015. Japan's jewelry company, Ginza Tanaka will hold the exhibition, "The Story of Platinum" together with Platinum Guild International from June 19 to July 31.          AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA        (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Hermès Ginza Tanaka Birkin.

AFP via Getty Images

Hermès collaborated with Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka in 2015 to create this $1.9 million platinum “Birkin.” It’s encrusted with 2,182 diamonds, including an eight carat pear-shaped center piece.

What is the most expensive purse?

A heart-shaped handbag, 'The 'Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse', with 4517 incorporated diamonds with a total weight of 381.92 carats, is displayed with its presentation case during a Christie's auction preview in Hong Kong on October 17, 2017. 
The Robert Mouawad designed bag holds the world record for the most valuable handbag ever produced, with an original price of 3.8 million USD in 2010. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE        (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Mouawad 1001 Nights diamond purse.

AFP via Getty Images

One of the world’s most expensive handbags was created by Mouawad jewelers, who crafted this Guinness World Records-certified 1001 Nights diamond purse. Priced at $3.8 million, 10 artisans covered the heart-shaped piece in more than 4,000 diamonds. These yellow, pink and colorless stones total 381.92 carats.

What are the most expensive purse brands?

  • Hermès
  • Chanel
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Christian Dior
  • Céline
  • Fendi
  • Gucci
  • Judith Leiber
  • Tom Ford
  • Givenchy

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