A brief history of Hermès Bag charms

Over the past few years, there has been a visible increase in the demand for Hermès bag charms. The decision as to whether* to use one is, of course, entirely subjective and personal, but clearly, this is a trend with some staying power.

It does seem a little counter-intuitive to want to adorn what is typically an extremely expensive (I mean, all Hermès bags are extremely expensive), vaguely-serious-looking bag with a bit of something-something, doesn’t it? much more so when these little objects are typically so whimsical…little horses (the “Rodeo”), or miniature Oran sandals (costing nearly as much as a full-size pair!), or baseball caps. Surprisingly, however, Hermès has been making bag charms for numerous years; certainly longer than the 24 years that I’ve been a customer, although a decade or two ago the charms were much less appreciated and under-the-radar than the current offerings.

History of Hermès Bag Charms

Despite my now-growing stable of Rodeos, I was not interested in or considering purchasing a charm or decoration for my bag for numerous years. Mind you, I started collecting back in the stone age when Hermès didn’t yet even offer Twillies for sale. Back then, the charms provided were quite different; each was a distinctive design, but all were the same shape: a circle of leather, typically made to portray an animal’s face, which would attach to the bag by a silver chain. prices were under $200 each. options included all sorts of critters, from dogs to snakes to elephants (one very limited edition version was a Quelle Idole charm), and while very cute and a fine seller, they were not wildly popular.

Some of the original Hermès leather bag charms. photo through TPFer @GNIPPOHS

More of the original Hermès leather bag charms. photo through TPFer @lala28

The Hermès Cadena

At the same time, Hermès also used to offer an annual Cadena, which is a metal charm (usually gold) that can also be utilized instead of the lock that comes with numerous of their bags. There were fewer Cadena options provided as there would only be one new design per year. These included a Pegase, a boat, and a hand and would typically be based on the year’s theme.

Some of the annual Cadenas. photo through Carousell seller Swanluxe

Another discontinued bag charm option was a variety of the Breloque/Olga chains in silver or in gold, which were chains with little dangling charms: one version had a clasp on one end and a Hermès Cadena-shaped lock on the other and had three circular charms depicting a dog, and H and a horse; for another version, the dangling charms were a Cloud de Selle, a Medor pyramid and a Chaine d’Ancre; and a for a third version the dangling charms were made of leather and consisted of the following shapes: Cadena Lock, Chaine d’Ancre, Kelly, Clou de Selle and Stirrup (there was also a shorter, two-charm version).

Gold Olga charm. photo through TPFer @Israeli_Flava

Breloque/Olga charm. photo through TPFer @etoupebirkin

Around the late-aughts, Hermès also began providing a variety of other bag charms, including silk or cotton pom poms, horsehair charms, and the first modern leather charms – each suspended by a short leather cord:

Silk, Cotton and leather Charms. photo through TPFer @robee.

Again, all of these charms sold well (the silk knots were particularly popular). Still, many were not actually flying off the shelves (my particular boutique always had Olga charms available, and even for a while after they were discontinued.

Hermès Charms
via Fashionphile

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Then came the Hermès Rodeo Charms

The semi-popularity of these items could not have really prepared Hermès for the explosion of interest in bag charms over the past few years. It was, in large part, a matter of timing: the continued expansion of Hermès’ customer base throughout the world (making online and in-person access to products much more accessible), the rise of social media (making its products much more visible, through both marketing and other clients showing how they use and delight in their purchases), and the enhanced significance of sustainability and reducing waste (the founding and proliferation of the Petit H products).

From this combination of factors, there was both a growing market clamoring for products, especially in the leather department, and especially at the much more entry-level price points. At the same time, there was an enhanced corporate interest to decrease waste and promote a new department. After the well-received but only moderately successful charms (mentioned above a saddle; a baseball cap; a horseshoe) made entirely of leather – which, by the way, was gentler on the bags they were to be hung on than the heavier metal pieces – around 2013 the Rodeo was first produced.

Hermès Rodeo Charms
via Fashionphile

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History of the Rodeo

Rodeos were not an immediate hit: in fact, they were fairly hard to find for the first year or two of production, and back then, I had no interest in it: sure, it was cute, but I was used to seeing bag charms in my boutique, and, at the time, it struck me as a bit juvenile. Personally, I was at a place in my life when my older child was just about to become a teenager; I was ready to be finished with everything that said “little kid” to me. My mother, however, saw it completely differently. She was just about 70, and her style has always been somewhat preppy or classic, and she loved the rodeo charms. So, of course, I had to choose her to look at them…and you know, they did sort of grow on me.

For one thing, they are whimsical and add a bit of variety to what we carry with us every day: even if taking a look at that Rodeo gives you a smile or sends off a good vibe, that is a positive thing. For another, when we purchase our bags, we are stuck with that one color (which of course we love); when you bring other colors into it, yes, you may run the risk of being a bit, well, extra (if that is a concern; clearly, for me, it’s part of the appeal) but you also have the option of tying it all together: Say, with a gold bag that has a twilly with a variety of colors including gold, and a rodeo with a gold tail: well, now you are a ideal match for every other color in the rodeo and all the dominant colors in the twilly, thank you very much!

My original Rodeo list, which I last updated in 2016. typically imitated but never duplicated, I actually found this posted elsewhere while checking on some information for this short article (but at least it had my name on it). photo through @The_Notorious_Pink ?

Hermès Rodeo Sizes

As you may know, the Rodeo comes in 3 sizes: PM (small, about 8 x 7 cm), MM (medium, about 12 x 10 cm) and GM (large, about 16 x 12 cm). The PM seems best proportioned for the smaller bags: 25cm Birkins and Kellys and 28cm Kellys. The MMs are good for the larger bags: 32cm Kellys and 35cm Birkins and Kellys. I think the 30cm Birkin can deal with either size. The large I would use for larger bags. prices have hovered in the $450+ range for the PM and the $600+ range for the GM (last time I checked!).

GM, MM and PM Rodeos on a 35cm Birkin. photo through TPFer @burukogepanda

A PM Rodeo on a 25cm Birkin. photo through @The_Notorious_Pink

Hermès Rodeo PM Charms
via Fashionphile

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There have been numerous iterations of the three-color rodeo as far as colors go, including two versions that had different colors on either side. A few new colorways seem to be released every season, but older colorways still seem to trickle in occasionally.

One version of the two-sided Rodeo. photo through @The_Notorious_Pink

The other version of the two-sided Rodeo. photo through @The_Notorious_Pink

For much more Rodeo fun, check out this fairly extensive thread on The purse Forum.

Extra charm Options

For the last few seasons, Hermès has upped its charm offensive (I couldn’t help myself!) exponentially, adding some non- (or extra-) Rodeo options which also seem to be popular, including the Rodeo Touch (with exotic saddle), Oran (I choose this on the very small bags, like the small Kelly), the shopping Bag, and the Roo Roo.

Rodeo Touch (exotic saddle). photo through TPFer @Ball

Hermès Rodeo Touch Charms
via Fashionphile

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Oran Nano Charm. photo through TPFer @the_comfortista

Shopping Bag charm. photo through TPFer @Birkinlady123

Roo Roo charm. photo through TPFer chinnie_baghag

Several pieces have become very much in demand, including:

The Mini-Mini-Kelly Bag Charm

The Mini-Mini-Kelly Bag charm (also called the Kelly Twilly Bag Charm, which has its own dedicated TPF thread) and The Mini-Quelle Idole Bag charm (which has its own TPF thread here):

Kelly Twilly bag charm. photo through TPFer @filthyluxe

Kelly Twilly bag charm on a 25cm Kelly seller. photo through TPFer @aisham

Hermès Kelly Twilly Charms
via Fashionphile

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Mini Quelle Idole bag charm. photo through TPFer @lovelyhongbao

Yeah, these are super-adorable. They are also super-expensive, at over $3,000 for the Kelly Twilly and $4,350 for the small Quelle Idole!

The Pegase Charm

A Rodeo with Wings, what could be better? These are only slightly less impossible to find, but the price is also a lot friendlier (under $600). Also, while not every Rodeo color combination is to everyone’s taste, the few colorways of the Pegase Rodeos seem typically to be practically widely appealing.

Hermès Pegase Charms
via Fashionphile

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Pegase Rodeos on a 25cm and a 30cm Birkin. photo through @The_Notorious_Pink

A fun variety of Rodeos. photo through TPFer @ethengdurst

The Pegase collection of TPFer @lifestyledchoices

[*] Shoutout to my Civil procedure professor Richard Freer from Emory law School, who hates the phrase “whether or not” because he insists that the “not” is implied by the use of “whether.” You have forever ruined this phrase for me, and I apologize for consistently falling asleep in your class.

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