Pre-owned designer bags serve as a cost-effective alternative for fashionistas looking for timeless accessories to complete their outfits but can’t afford brand-new items. They come with lower costs as well as the same beauty and quality as that of new ones.
That is, of course, if they are indeed authentic.
Since becoming a symbol of refined taste and luxury, many designer products – particularly Chanel bags – have also been a target of counterfeiting. Because of this, differentiating a genuine product from a fake has become a crucial skill for designer product buyers.
Want to learn how to avoid fakes? Here are five ways you can authenticate a Chanel handbag:
Check the lock.
One of the most recognizable features of a Chanel bag is its iconic CC lock. Although not all models come with this feature, many popular pieces do. This is the reason why knowing what an original CC lock should look like is a good way to authenticate a Chanel handbag.
Replicas often have CC locks with minor mistakes in the style and shape of the Cs that serve as the bag’s closure mechanism. Some even have excessive metals above the Cs, giving them an unpolished appearance.
In contrast, an original will have a flat or raised finish where the right C overlaps the left C for the top half, which is mirrored in the bottom half.
Of course, some models, like the iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag, do not come with this kind of lock. Instead, it has a rectangular turn-lock with the brand name engraved on the bottom.
Besides the lock, another excellent way to determine authenticity for Chanel bags is to check the lock stem. Original ones are made from 24-karat gold (sometimes, silver) and will maintain their appearance even when used for an extended period. The same goes for the press studs.
That means pre-owned Chanel bags with worn, faded, or peeling locks are most likely not authentic.
Use your senses to inspect the leather.
Another key component of a Chanel handbag you need to consider is the leather it is made from. Your senses could tell you whether it is authentic or not.
There are several ways to differentiate natural leather from manmade ones, but the most straightforward one is by using your nose. Where synthetic leather smells like chemicals, the genuine material will have a natural musty odor.
Whatever you sniff out can be supported by the appearance and feel of the material.
Natural leathers are malleable and can soften over time, while manmade leathers tend to be stiff and can retain their shape. In terms of color, synthetic leathers also come in more variety since they can hold dyes better than natural leather.
Of course, designer bags only use genuine leather. For Chanel, the primary choices are lambskin and caviar skin.
Lambskin comes with a soft texture and a visibly smooth appearance. It has a superior quality and can be quickly distinguished from other forms of leather, making it easier for you to identify a fake designer bag.
On the other hand, caviar skin is made from pebbled calf leather and has a bubble-like appearance. Unlike lambskin, it feels more textured, with raised dimples across the surface. It is also less likely to get scratched or marked.
Scrutinize the quilting and stitching.
Chanel handbags are famous for their quilting patterns. How well these are made can help you determine whether the bag is authentic or not.
The best spot to check the quilting is along the back of the bag where the pocket lies. Authentic bags have consistent and perfectly lined up quilting across the area.
Another good indicator of authenticity is the number of stitches that keep it together. Designer bags from Chanel involve plenty of stitches to help maintain their original shape.
A genuine pre-owned Chanel bag may even have as much as 11 stitches for every panel. On the other hand, replicas will generally have fewer stitches between the diamond quilting.
The linings of genuine and fake Chanel bags also differ in form and appearance. The ones on an original lay flat against the material without any bumps or lumps, while a counterfeit will have linings that easily get creased because of the inferior quality of leather used with it.
Take a close look at the logos and other marks.
Like most components of an original designer bag, brand stamps look carefully embossed on genuine items compared to replicas. Most fakes also have thinner fonts and stamps printed over the leather instead of being embossed into it.
The location of the logo also matters. To make sure you have an original, measure the distance between the brand stamp and the quilted C.
An original Chanel will have a logo measuring 3.3 centimeters and gaps of 0.9 centimeters. The logo should also have a 0.5-centimeter distance from the quilted C.
You should also research the stamping mark used on the specific style of bag you’re planning to buy. Some models have CC locks with stamping marks while others have none. Most locks with a stamp are made in France, while those without usually come from Italy.
If you want to be sure, check the stamping mark on the back plate inside the bag. Inspect the back of the turnstile lock located inside the bag; there should be flat screws with even spacing to attach this. Counterfeit bags may come with different kinds of screw, font, or lettering styles than the original.
Determine if the authenticity card is genuine.
You can check the authenticity card to determine if the Chanel bag you have is genuine. Of course, you need to know what a real card looks like as well.
A genuine card is made up of a specific number of digits, depending on when it is made:
- Bags made from 1984 to 1986 will have six digits.
- Seven digits comprise authenticity cards for bags made between 1986 and 2004.
- For bags made from 2005 onwards, there should be eight digits on the card.
Take note that there are no Chanel authenticity cards with nine or more digits on them.
Designer Chanel bags are as excellent an investment as they are a great accessory. Make sure you pick only authentic pieces by checking every detail and learning all there is to know about the top-quality make and materials these bags are known for.