Chanel Bag Authentication: How To Tell If A Chanel Bag Is Authentic

Woman is authenticating Chanel bag

Chanel bags are among the most coveted and collectible fashion accessories on the planet. In fact, these luxury handbags are considered exceptional investments with an impressive ROI. But this is true only for genuine Chanel. Learning how to tell if a Chanel bag is real can make or break your investment plan. Of course, anyone splashing out on a luxury bag has the right to do so in confidence. Our guide to authenticating Chanel bags will pull back the curtain on how the experts verify a bag’s authenticity. There is a great deal to consider.

The Importance of Authenticating Chanel Bags

The chic and fashionable designs and rising 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 that the crazy low price and shoddy materials make it easy to figure out how to tell if a Chanel bag is real. But these days, fakes are becoming more impressive and harder to spot.

Technological developments and improved production have given rise to “super fakes” that can fool even experienced collectors. So, let’s review how to spot an authentic Chanel bag. Knowing what to look for to verify authenticity gives you even more ways to appreciate and savor your own exquisite Chanel bags.

Learning how to tell if a Chanel bag is real has become both art and science. Today’s most respected dealers do not rely on their experience alone to determine a Chanel bag’s authenticity. They also utilize technology to better assess each bag. Yet, many authentication apps have come along that are far less reliable than they claim. 

There have been occurrences where people bought real Chanel bags in department stores and returned fakes in their place. Now, Chanel carefully trains its people in authenticating Chanel bags, and the return of bags is rigorously monitored. Let’s take a look at the features they examine.

Key Features of Authentic Chanel Bags

Counterfeiters and their super fakes have made Chanel bag authentication far more challenging in recent years. But it still comes down to fully appreciating the extraordinary quality of the materials and artisanship. 

Overall Appearance of the Bag

The first step in our guide on how to tell if a Chanel bag is real is to evaluate its overall construction. Every facet of the bag should reflect exceptional quality and 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 stiff that it appears forced through the links. The diamonds on the quilting should have a pleasing puffiness, neither too flat nor so puffy that they crease or strain. 

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 of bag you have? The zippers should pull smoothly. The lining should lay flat. Chanel colors are rich and sophisticated, so confirm this is the case. 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. In short, a Chanel bag authenticity check should first discover exceptional artisanship in every detail. 

The Leather

Real Chanel bags are made from premium leathers and fabrics with exquisite luster, color absorption, and feel. While most are soft, supple, and smooth, Caviar leather has a distinctly pebbled look and feel. Learn about Chanel leathers and look for exceptional quality. Only a fake Chanel bag will consist of substandard materials.

The Quilting

A vital key to authenticating a Chanel bag is the precision of the iconic quilting. If you want to know how to tell if a Chanel bag is real, check the diamond pattern. 

The diamond pattern quilting across the front of the bag should be perfectly complete. You should see only complete diamonds or those cut precisely in half. 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 a perfect diamond or half a diamond.

The diamonds on the back of the bag should line 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

As you are learning how to tell if a Chanel bag is real, continually look for perfection. At every step, ask yourself: “Is this done as well as it can possibly be?” If you spot “good enough” areas where it could be excellent, you know you have a fake Chanel on your hands. 

The stitching quality, too, is a critical point in Chanel bag authentication. Chanel uses many tiny 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.


Thus far, we’ve considered the softer side of the bag’s construction. But the hardware is just as important when learning how to tell if a Chanel bag is real. Counterfeiters simply cannot match Chanel’s superb artisanship throughout the bag’s hardware. 

chanel hardware

All the hardware on an authentic Chanel bag matches inside and out. The iconic logo, zippers, and even the screws that hold the plates in place should all be the same color metal. Knowing how to tell if a Chanel bag is real when the hardware is gold entails being able to identify brassiness. The gold on an authentic Chanel bag is refined without a trace of a “brassy” look. 

The interior lock plate should never be attached with Phillips head (+) screws. It may be affixed with flat head screws (–), but newer bags use proprietary star-shaped screws.

The most prominent hardware on the bag is the iconic Chanel logo, which is two interlocking Cs. It gleams in gold or silver like the bag’s jewelry. The logo is not a flat shape but two three-dimensional letters that actually lock together on an authentic Chanel bag. 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 left. You can tell the bag is fake if the logo is flat or not perfectly centered vertically and horizontally on the leather flap.


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. 

If the stamp 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 learning how to tell if a Chanel bag is real with the authenticity card, we left it until last for a simple reason. Some fake Chanel bags 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.


Decoding Chanel Serial Numbers and Date Codes

Since the mid-1980s, Chanel has included a serial number in each bag encoded according to the date the bag was issued. Deciphering these numbers and codes is essential to authenticating Chanel bags made before April 2021, when Chanel started using microchips. Therefore, previously-loved Chanel bag authentication often relies on serial numbers and date codes. Let’s look at how to tell if a Chanel bag is real by examining the code. 

The Chanel serial codes were printed on plastic stickers that were then affixed to a location inside the bag that varied with the bag style and year it was produced. Like everything Chanel makes, genuine stickers look professional. If your bag has a cheap-looking date sticker with blurry or uneven text, that would be a fake. If the sticker is missing, it may still be a genuine Chanel; you just won’t be able to authenticate it by the date code. 


Understanding the anatomy of an authentic Chanel code is essential to make a proper assessment. Genuine Chanel date codes are usually seven or eight digits long, depending upon the year. (A few are six digits long, as we’ll discuss.) The date codes that begin with a single digit indicating the year are seven digits long. Those with the first two digits indicating the year are eight digits long. If your bag has a date code with nine digits, it is a fake. The chart below lists the date codes by year. 

Chanel Date Code Chart

Serial Number


Serial Number
































































So, now you need to know how to read the Chanel date code chart above. When you find your bag’s serial number, count the number of digits. If it is seven digits long, your bag was manufactured in 2005 or before. If it has eight digits, it was made later. Most Chanel bags manufactured in 1986 had the seven-digit date code as indicated above. However, some bags that were produced in the early part of 1986 had just a six-digit date code. They dropped the initial 0 and started with a 1 or 2.

The initial number of a seven-digit Chanel date code and the first two numbers of an eight-digit code correspond to the year the bag was manufactured. The date codes are made up entirely of numbers; there are no Xs. The letter X in the chart above simply indicates the place of a random number. 

Let’s say you’re authenticating a Chanel bag that has the serial number 28794237. Can you identify the date it was manufactured? It is an eight-digit number, so we take the first two digits: 28. Look that up in our Chanel date code chart, and you can see it was manufactured in 2019.

The Art of Spotting Fake Chanel Bags

Expert Chanel authenticators examine dozens of tiny details 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 when learning how to tell if a Chanel bag is real are:

  • Overall quality that lives up to the Chanel brand
  • Perfect quilting
  • Premium leather
  • Ideal stitch quality with tiny stitches
  • The interlocking C logo should truly interlock
  • Rich-looking hardware, never brassy
  • Flat head screws or star-drive, never Phillips head
  • Smooth working zippers
  • Hand-pleated tissue paper
  • Serial number that follows the Chanel date code protocol

Buy Chanel Bags with Confidence

Madison Avenue Couture is a premier dealer of authentic Chanel bags in the secondary market. We guarantee the authenticity of every designer bag we offer. Authenticating Chanel bags is a process we take very seriously, and we work with highly reputable third-party authenticators to verify that each bag in our collection is genuine.

We are happy to help you find the authentic designer bag of your dreams.

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