Fake Chanel purses or handbags run the gamut. Sometimes they are so finely made that only a pair of keen, expert eyes can spot the authentic Chanel bag from the dupes.
The world-renowned high-end luxury bags cost anywhere from $2,100 to as much as $260,000 — for that much, you could buy a house in many places in the country! Imagine paying thousands of dollars for the much-coveted Chanel purse, especially the timeless 2.55, only to receive a fake. Ouch.
If you’re looking for this designer handbag and don’t want to fall for a knockoff, here is a guide on how to tell if that statement purse is a genuine Chanel bag or an impressive imitation! It’s worth it to take a closer look to make sure you’re not wasting your money on a fake bag.
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The first thing to pay attention to is the leather. The authentic leather in Chanel bags is either lambskin or caviar skin. Lambskin leather is incredibly soft, smooth, and velvety, with a buttery sheen. Even if you haven’t touched lambskin leather in your life, you’ll understand the meaning of high-quality and ultra-softness once you touch it.
It’s obvious it’s a luxury item because it only uses the best materials. If your bag is smooth but not baby soft, then you’ve got the right to be suspicious.
Caviar leather, on the other hand, is made from calfskin with grains. The feel is textured and much sturdier compared to the lambskin.
The leather’s pebbled finish is the more popular choice among fans of Chanel handbags. When you run your hand against it on an authentic Chanel bag, you should be able to feel the raised dimples.
It’s not only the outside that features high-quality leather, but the lining as well. An authentic Chanel flap bag features a lining that is taut, or tightly fitted. Touch it and feel how the leather is seamlessly fitted, smooth, and feels extremely expensive.
If the lining has creases, wrinkles, bubbles, or bumps — in short, it’s not perfectly smooth and tight — then you’ve been duped. If it felt and looked tight when you bought it, but the lining loosens or pulls away over time, then you’ve likely got a fake Chanel bag in your possession. Sorry!
An authentic bag from Chanel has a high stitch count so the quilting does not puff. You can easily find the stitches in the panels, or the outlines of each quilted diamond.
Count the stitches on each side. If it’s less than 8, you’ve got a replica bag. The real deal has 8 to 12 stitches on each side of the diamond.
The latest batches of Chanel bags have at least 9 stitches per side. It’s the vintage Chanel bags that have 8.
However, there is no authentic Chanel bag that exists on the planet that has under 8 stitches per side. Low stitch count means puffier diamond quilts, which mean it’s a phony.
The quilting pattern should be perfectly aligned when the flap is closed or when you check the outer pocket. The pattern should not go off-kilter when interrupted by the bag’s elements. It’s got a consistent diamond pattern.
Old leather tends to stretch over time, which naturally causes the quilted pattern to be slightly unaligned. However, if you bought a brand new Chanel bag and the quilt is not consistent, then you’ve got an imitation.
The CC lock is the signature Chanel handbag look. One glimpse of that interlocking CC logo against quilted leather, you’d instantly know that a purse is a Chanel — or at least trying to be. The copycats will try to use the CC lock to convince you, but if you know what to look for, you won’t be fooled.
In real Chanel purses, the right C overlaps the left C at the top of the logo. Meanwhile, the left C overlaps the right C at the bottom.
The CC lock should be centered, symmetrical, and the ends are flat. The CC’s edges should also be slightly softened at the edges. The fake CC will have sharp edges, often squared off.
If the backplate says the bag was made in Paris and the lining has a stamp “Made in France,” there should be a small hallmark on the top of the left “C” — three small lines. If the C has the three hallmark lines and the lining of your bag says “Made in Paris,” then you’ve got a fake.
Back of the Lock
The back of the lock is a gold, rectangular backplate secured by two similarly gold screws on both sides. The House of Chanel uses flathead screws or star-shaped screws — both of which are owned by the house and cannot be unscrewed by any screwdriver except the House of Chanel’s custom-made screwdriver. If your purse has Phillips-head screws on the gold hardware, that is a big red flag.
Also, check the “Chanel” and “Paris” on the backplate. They should be evenly spaced, very clear and distinct, consistent font style and size.
The “Chanel” should be front to back in position, which means if you rotate the bag, the word “Chanel” should be on the top part, and the “Paris” should be at the bottom. The fake one will fail to have these characteristics, and more often, they write the “Paris” and “Chanel” from back to front.
If the chain strap is heavy, with the gold or silver smooth and without the slightest bit of scratch or dents, then it is authentic. Also, check the leather strap entwined with the chain — it should look hand-stitched, not machine-stitched, except if you’re looking at the jumbo flap bag, where the leather has been folded 4 times.
Light chain straps are clearly bad news. Busted or faded gold or silver chains are bad news. Machine-stitched leather straps are bad news.
The embossed numbers on the authenticity card should be 6 to 8 digits only and match not just the numbers on the sticker inside the bag, but also the font style.
The sticker inside the bag, which is shaped like a horseshoe, contains the serial number. Also, there’s a round hologram sticker on the upper right-hand corner of the real thing.
The card should measure 8.5 cm in length and 5.4 cm in height. The card should have no uneven elements at all, no smudges, no misprints, and nothing indecipherable. Those things indicate fake authenticity cards.
You shouldn’t be able to easily scratch off the gold border. It should be clean, crisp, and neat all throughout.
Another indication that the authenticity card is fake is its weight. The real one is heavy, like a plastic card. Meanwhile, the fake one is light and feels cheap to the touch, like cardboard.
Every Chanel bag has the brand stamped onto the lining. Sometimes the brand name Chanel is stamped on an attached pouch of the same leather. The color of the brand stamp should perfectly match the color of your bag’s hardware.
If your purse’s hardware is gold and the stamp is silver or a different-colored gold, then you’ve got a replica instead of a genuine Chanel purse.
If your Chanel bag was manufactured in the 2000s onwards, the dust bag should be black. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the dust bag is white.
The material of a real Chanel dust bag is hard cotton and inscribed with a white-colored “Chanel” right smack in the center. If the brand name is off-kilter, is off-white or uses a thinner font, be very, very suspicious. Sometimes, the fake dust bag is so poorly made that the strings are made of shoelaces.
It Can Stand
Your empty purse should be able to stand upright. If it keeps falling over, then your doubts are valid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all Chanel bags have a serial number?
The House of Chanel only started using serial numbers beginning 1984.
How can you tell how old a Chanel bag is?
To be able to tell the age of your Chanel bag, count the number of digits on the serial sticker. Seven digits means Chanel made it between 1986 and 2005. If your purse has 8 digits, then it was released between late in 2005 and the present day.
Look up the beginning numbers of your serial number online to figure out the exact year.
Know the Difference
There are so many good fake Chanel bags in the market, and many of them look great and authentic. But a class-A fake can absolutely make one or more mistakes. Sure, the leather may be genuine lambskin or caviar, but you’ll spot the error on the hardware or the authenticity card.
The errors can even be minor, but it’s a major tell-tale sign that it’s nothing like the genuine, high-class, incredibly expensive and luxurious Chanel purse that is revered around the world.
Want to learn more about Coco Chanel, the woman behind the brand? Check out the post all about Coco Chanel!
If you’re looking to buy a new Chanel bag, check out this post!