The Guide to Authenticating a Chanel Bag
The chic and fashionable designs and price tags of Chanel designer bags have long been a target of counterfeiters. It’s not just a matter of street vendors selling purported Chanel classic bags for $49.95. Most people will quickly recognize the shoddy materials and “craftsmanship,” even if the price isn’t a tip-off.
Ever-increasing technology developments and improved production has given rise to “super fakes” that can fool even experienced collectors. So let’s review how to recognize an authentic Chanel bag. Knowing what to look for gives you even more ways to appreciate and savor your own exquisite Chanel bags.
How to Authenticate Chanel Bag
Authenticating previously-owned Chanel bags has become both art and science. Today’s most respected dealers do not rely on their experience alone to determine authenticity but also utilize technology to better assess authenticity. Yet many authentication apps have come along that are far less than they claim.
There have been occurrences where people were buying real Chanel bags in department stores and returning fakes in their place. Now, Chanel carefully trains its people, and the return of bags is carefully monitored. Let’s take a look at the features they examine.
Overall Appearance of the Bag
The first step in authenticating Chanel bags is to look at the bag overall. Every part of the bag should speak of exceptional quality and should be in balance. The flap should be balanced with the bag and not extend beyond the sides. The leather strap interwoven in the chain handles should not be so wide or so stiff that it appears forced through the links. The diamond quilting should have a pleasing “puffiness” to each diamond, neither too flat nor so puffy that the diamonds crease or strain.
In essence, evaluate the bag in general for its shape and quality. Recognize the unique qualities of the bag style; for instance, understand the differences between the Classic Flap Bag and the Boy Bag. Is the shape correct for the style bag you have? The zippers should pull smoothly; the lining should lay flat. Every detail should be just right.
While experts look for tiny defects in specific details, if you discover any example of sloppy manufacture, that alone is a clear sign that the purse is not an authentic Chanel bag.
Evaluate the Leather
Real Chanel bags are made from premium leathers, each exquisite in quality, luster, color absorption, and feel. While most should feel soft, supple, and smooth to the touch, Caviar has a distinctly pebbled look and feel. Learn about Chanel leathers and look for exceptional quality.
Check the Quilting
A vital key to authenticating a Chanel bag is the precision of the iconic quilting. Every diamond will line up precisely. Always check that the diamond pattern on the back of the bag lines up exactly with the stitching on the pockets. If they don’t match perfectly — it is not a genuine Chanel.
Stitch Quality and Stitch Count
At every step when evaluating a bag to determine whether it is a real Chanel bag or a clever fake, ask yourself the question — “Is this done as well as it can possibly be?” If you spot “good enough” areas where it could be excellent, then you know you have a fake Chanel on your hands.
For example, the diamond pattern quilting across the front of the bag should be complete. A comparison of different Chanel bag sizes reveals that each size may have a different number of diamonds in a row, but the diamonds are complete for each one. The quilting is always perfectly centered on the bag, with each row ending in either a perfect diamond or half a diamond.
The stitching quality, too, is an indication of authenticity. Chanel uses many fine stitches, while fakes often make do with fewer, larger stitches. The stitching should be even at every seam and throughout the quilting. Authentic Chanel bags have up to eleven stitches to the side of each diamond.
Examine the Interlocking Logo
The Chanel logo is iconic. It is made from two interlocking C’s, and they truly interlock on an authentic Chanel bag. The logo is not a flat shape that looks like two C’s; it is made as two, three-dimensional letters. At the top of the logo, the C on the right comes in front of the C on the left. At the bottom, the C on the right passes behind the one on the right. If the logo is flat, or if it is not perfectly centered both vertically and horizontally on the leather flap, it is a fake Chanel bag.
Hardware & Stamp
All the hardware on an authentic Chanel bag matches inside and out. The gold is refined without a trace of a “brassy” look. The interior lock plate should be attached with flat head screws (—), never Phillip’s head (+) screws. Take a close look at the font and quality of the lettering in the stamp reading Chanel. Fake Chanel bags and super fakes often have blurred stamps that are not crisp and clear, and the font is taller and thinner than on genuine Chanel.
Then, read the stamp. If it says “Made in Paris,” you have a fake Chanel. Chanel specifies only “Made in France” or “Made in Italy.”
Authenticity Cards and Inclusions
While many expect to start authenticating a Chanel bag with the authenticity card, we left it until last for a simple reason. Some fake Chanels and all super fakes come with their own card. It is far easier to counterfeit the card than to make an entire bag of convincing quality. In an attempt to stay ahead of the counterfeiters, Chanel began using microchips in 2021, with all the bag’s authenticating details digitally embedded inside the bags.
The tissue paper included in the Chanel box may be more convincing than the cards. Authentic Chanel bags come with soft, high-quality tissue paper that is hand-folded. If the tissue paper is too perfect, with all pleats exactly alike, this may be a super fake, with the tissue paper pleated by machine, rather than by hand.
How to Spot a Fake Chanel Bag
Expert Chanel authenticators have dozens of tiny details they examine to determine whether a purse is a genuine Chanel bag or a fake. It takes a highly trained eye. But the most important things for you to look for are:
Overall quality that lives up to the Chanel brand
Ideal stitch quality with tiny stitches
The interlocking C logo should truly interlock
Flat head screws, never Phillip’s head
Hand-pleated tissue paper
Buy Chanel Bags with Confidence
Madison Avenue Couture is one of the premier dealers of authentic Chanel bags in the secondary market. We guarantee the authenticity of every designer bag we offer. At Madison Avenue Couture, we know the history of each bag we sell. We rely on 13 years of experience and the most highly regarded authentication services to ensure that each bag is genuine. We are happy to help you find the designer bag of your dreams.