With so many fakes and superfakes flooding the market, having the ability to spot small differences and determine whether or not a Chanel bag is genuine is an important skill. Although there is no one single way to authenticate a Chanel bag, there are various tell-tale signs that you can look out for. To help you feel more confident in being able to spot the obvious and not so obvious signs of an authentic Chanel bag, we’ve compiled these 10 steps which are used by our authentication team when verifying the authenticity of Chanel bags.
1. Examine the Leather
The leather of choice on many Chanel bags is lambskin which should feel soft to the touch and have a visibly smooth appearance. The superior quality of leather used by Chanel should be easy to distinguish from the feel and appearance of a counterfeit. If you are inspecting a lambskin leather bag, ensure it feels extremely soft to the touch.
Another popular leather used by Chanel is caviar skin which is made from pebbled calf leather. This type of leather has a bubbly appearance and is more textured to the touch. It is less likely to scratch and mark and is a more durable leather than lambskin. When you run your hands over genuine caviar leather you should feel raised dimples.
2. Check the Quilting
The quilting pattern is synonymous with Chanel and can be a good indicator of whether a bag is genuine or not. A good place to check the quilting is the back of the bag where the pocket lies. The stitching should maintain the consistent diamond pattern and line up perfectly. However, if you are purchasing a pre-loved Chanel bag it is possible that wear or the stretching of the leather has led to the lines becoming slightly out of place so this is only a valid indicator if purchasing a new Chanel bag.
3. Count the Stitching/Lining
This can be a very good indicator as Chanel use a high number or stitches to help maintain the bag’s original shape. A genuine Chanel bag will feature up to eleven stitches per panel (that is the distance of one side of the diamond shape). However, a replica bag will generally feature a lower number of stitches per panel.
Lining is another feature which varies between genuine bags and replicas. Lining on a genuine bag lies flat against the material without any visible lumps or bumps. However, counterfeit bags will usually skimp on his detail and use inferior leather which can crease easily and even be a little loose.
4. Check the CC Lock
One of the most famous and recognizable features on Chanel bags is the CC lock. The original 2.55 lock is rectangular without any logo or Chanel stamping. Chanel make bags with both styles of locks so if your back features the rectangular lock it may still be authentic. The CC lock can feature either raised or flat finishes with the right C overlapping the left C at the top and the left C overlapping the right C at the bottom. Replica locks generally feature minor mistakes such as the shape of the Cs, the placement of additional metal above the lock, and even the style of the interlocking Cs.
The lock stem itself is another feature worth checking. Authentic lock stems are made from 24K gold and even when used for a lengthy period of time will still maintain its condition. Replicas, however, are generally plated with gold which will peel off after use. Also inspect the press studs for quality and feel. Genuine press studs will also maintain their appearance after use, whereas replicas will peel and fade quickly.
5. Check the Back of the Lock
Stamping marks vary according to when the bag was made and the style of the bag. Some CC locks have a stamping mark whereas others have no mark at all, so even if your bag doesn’t feature a stamp don’t fret! If the lock has a stamp it means it was made in France whereas if it doesn’t feature a stamp it means it was made in Italy. The real giveaway is the stamping mark on the back plate. If you open the bag and look at the back of the turnstile lock you will see the back plate. Chanel attach this using flat had screws only alongside a clear font with even spacing. Replicas may use different type of screws and various other styles of lettering and font on the back plate.
6. Verify the Branding or Logos
The brand stamp is another way to confirm the authenticity of a Chanel bag. Check the font and quality of the stamp. Many replicas use a thinner font and rush the branding so that it sits on the leather rather than being embossed into it. The position of the embossed Chanel logo is another feature worth checking. It should sit one and a half centimeters below the quilted C with the width of the Cs and the gap between them remaining consistent at 0.9cm. The width of a genuine Chanel logo is 3.3cm.
7. Authenticity Cards
Not all authenticity cards are genuine! A quick way to see if the authenticity card is genuine is to see how many numbers make up the code. If the bag was made between 1984 and 1986 it will feature 6 digits, if it was made between 1986 and 2004 it will feature 7 digits, and if was made from 2005 onwards it will feature 8 digits. Currently Chanel do not issue authenticity cards with 9 digits or more.
8. Check the Chain Straps
The famous chain and leather straps are a signature feature of Chanel bags and also a great way to spot a fake. Vintage Chanel bags feature a link without the leather threaded through it whereas replica straps often don’t have a link without the leather threaded through it. However, contemporary Chanel bags feature leather straps folded back on themselves and stitched through each link, so it is important to inspect the detail up close!
9. Observe the Bag's Shape
Replica Chanel bags are usually constructed poorly and feature a boxy shape in comparison to genuine Chanel bags. Look out for rounded corners on replicas compared to the more square shape of genuine bags. This is a sign of the bag not being turned out properly and of poor quality material used on the bag.
10. Check Those Zippers
There are a variety of zippers used on genuine Chanel bags. These include the lampo zipper which is always used on metal teeth, the EP zipper which generally features a pull tag made of leather, the three Cs in a circle zipper, the OPTI DMC zipper, the éclair zipper, the DMC zipper, the YKK zipper, and the no mark zipper which is usually found on vintage Chanel bags.