Guide: How to Recognize Quality and Care for Handbag's Hardware

 

To spot quality on a bag components is not difficult , and it is possibly the best possible way to recognize a genuine luxury product from a fake (because quality hardware is very expensive, and you will never find a replica or a fake using luxury components)

The best thing you can do is to carefully look at the quality of the metal components before you buy your bag. Precious hardware is worth the cost, because poor quality hardware scratch hes very easily, and it is almost impossible to restore. Instead luxury components will last for years.

 

There are 3 very different hardware quality on the market, and you may want to avoid 2 of them if you are looking for an investment bag.

 

Hardware used on handbags or leather accessories is generally made of brass, iron, or stainless steel. When you buy a luxury product raw hardware is generally plated – to keep it simple plating is the application of a “protective” layer on top of the raw metal - to give it the final color and to protect it. When you choose your handbag, you can find very different hardware qualities:

 

Unplated

In this case your hardware will be not plated at all, and what you see is the “raw” material ( either brass, or iron, or stainless steel). Unplated hardware is generally used on high street products or handcrafted items. This is not the best option in term of wear (as the raw metal will interact with air and water, changing color and tarnishing over time. You can pretty easily recognize handbags using unplated hardware because the color of the various accessories on the same bag is similar but not identical (because each items is made with a raw material with a different shade, and each component start to change color immediately not having any protective layer on top)

 

Plated with lacquer/varnished

In this case the raw material is protect by a layer of transparent lacquer. This sort of finishing is pretty cheap to make, so it is greatly used on low-end products, quite often by affordable luxury brands, and sometimes by luxury brands entry price products. You may want to avoid buying bags using varnished hardware as the lacquer is not a hard material, and will scratch very easily. And as soon as a lacquered hardware get scratches, there are no products able to remove them. To recognise lacquered hardware you need to look at it closely: you will see that the surface doesn’t look like bare metal but there is a thin transparent layer on top. And if you touch it it will feel like plastic, not like metal. Last secret: if you look at your reflection in a big hardware surface you will see your image distorted (as varnish distorts the reflection on the metal below)

 

Plated with precious metal

In this case the raw material is protected by a layer of additional metal: generally gold (on gold color finishing), silver (on silver or nickel color finishing) or ruthenium (on black or dark finishing). In this case you are buying the best possible quality, that will last for very long as the precious metal coating will protect your hardware against scratches or tarnishing for years. How to spot top quality hardware? It is pretty easy: when you look or touch it, it feel just like metal.

All the hardware we use at Lido is made from solid brass cast in Italy. Lido antique silver is a very special finishing, hand polished with black gold to achieve a vintage effect and shading.

Each Lido piece look different as a result of the manual process. This special color may darken over time as the black gold get darker in the atmosphere; we love this as it makes each bag more authentic and special, and this doesn’t damage at all the hardware. Anyway, should you wish to restore it to the original shiny, you just need to polish it with any readily available metal polish. Just make sure that you protect the leather first by covering with a protective cloth. This way you will restore the original shininess of the hardware, but you will remove the shading and the vintage effect.

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