Shush is London's longest established preloved and second-hand designer handbag store, and we are well recognised for expert authentication. All of our designer items are 100% authenticated as genuine. Our authentication team have created this useful guide to help you look for the tell tale signs the Chanel handbag you’ve bought, or may be thinking about buying, is in fact a fake. Counterfeiters are becoming more sophisticated in their methods and whilst this guide will help you determine the more common tell tale signs, it’s always recommended to have an expert authenticator inspect any Chanel handbag to ensure its authenticity.
Here are the top eight areas to look at to determine whether a Chanel handbag is fake or the real deal:
Overall Quality Of Structure and Look
Closely examine the structure of the handbag and look at the overall appearance of the bag. Authentic Chanel bags are made with high level craftsmanship and should look proportionally perfect. Check for uneven proportions, lumps, misshapenness or other signs of poor construction.
- Shape: Chanel handbags are known for their unique and recognisable shapes. If a bag seems misshapen or warped, it might be a fake
- Symmetry: Authentic Chanel bags often have precise symmetrical quilting patterns and evenly spaced hardware, be sure to check that patterns are exact
Weight: Genuine Chanel bags have a solid, sturdy feel due to the use of high-quality materials.
The Leather Or Material Quality
Chanel is renowned for its luxurious leathers, especially the iconic caviar and lambskin leathers. It should be an easy and quick check to determine if the material used seems to be of high quality.
- Texture: Authentic Chanel bags have a distinct texture depending on the material used. For instance, caviar leather is known for its pebbled, rough texture, while lambskin is smooth and soft.
- Durability: Check the overall condition of the bag as genuine Chanel bags are made with durable materials that should not show excessive wear or damage quickly. So if the item is only a few years old and it looks worn and damaged it may be a fake.
The Lock Quality, Material & Sizing
One of the most iconic features of many Chanel bags is the CC turn-lock closure. Even with the naked eye you can examine the lock closely to quickly verify its quality and authenticity. Were the bag has a CC lock, the right C must always overlap the left C at the top, and the left C will always overlap the right C on the bottom.
- Material: Authentic Chanel locks are made with high-quality metals with gold or silver-tone hardware. The metal shouldn’t look dull or tarnished.
- Sizing: The lock size should be proportionate to the overall bag size. Too big or too small locks are a sign of a fake, if you don't have a genuine comparable bag then check for images online and compare your bags lock to those of authentic bags.
- Engraving: Authentic Chanel locks have the brand name engraved with precision and clarity. Again we recommend you compare this directly to a genuine bag or pictures of one online and critically determine if yours looks the same.
The Chain Or Leather Strap Quality
The iconic interwoven chain and leather straps are another hallmark of beautifully crafted Chanel bags. Our expert authenticators always inspect the strap carefully to ensure its quality and craftsmanship.
- Material: Authentic Chanel bags feature straps made with high-quality metal and leather. The chains should be heavy and sturdy, while the leather should be smooth and supple.
- Weaving: The chain and leather should be interwoven seamlessly, without loose threads or unevenness. This is a hard effect to achieve so any misalignment here is normally an immediate sign of a fake bag
- Attachments: Authentic Chanel bags have strap attachments that are securely anchored to the bag, without gaps or places where the attachment looks weak.
The Stitching Quality
Chanel bags are known for their meticulous stitching, which contributes to the overall quality, longevity and appearance of the bag. Chanel bags are normally at least 10 stitches per inch.
- Consistency: Authentic Chanel bags feature even, consistent stitching throughout the bag.
- Alignment: The stitching on a genuine Chanel bag should align with the quilting pattern and other design elements.
- Stitch Count: Genuine Chanel bags typically have 10 stitches per inch or more, resulting in a tighter, more durable stitch. Look for close and expert stitching.
The Lining Quality
The lining of a Chanel bag should be made with high-quality leather, canvas or fabric materials and fit snugly inside the bag.
- Fit: The lining should fit perfectly within the bag, without any gaps, wrinkles, or bunching.
- Logo Print: Some Chanel bags have linings with a repeating logo print. Ensure that the print is clear and correctly aligned.
The Brand Font Quality
The font used for the Chanel logo and other branding elements is an essential detail that helps the Shush Authenticators quickly identify a fake bag. These can appear on the metalwork, stitching or labelling.
- Clarity: The font on an authentic Chanel bag should be clear, sharp, and free of any smudging or unevenness
- Spacing: The letters in the Chanel logo should be evenly spaced, with consistent letter sizing
- Serifs: Genuine Chanel logos feature distinct serifs on the letters "C" and "H".
Check The Authenticity Card
Be sure to look at the authenticity card for the bag, you can check these following numbers to determine if they are more likely to be genuine.
- In the early 1980’s Chanel bags didn’t have serial numbers or cards but the hardware on older bags was 24k gold plated and therefore the metal will be bright and tarnish free
- Chanel codes do not have 9 or more numbers in them
- Bags made between 1984 and 1986 will have 6 numbers in the code
- Bags made between 1986 and 2004 have 7 numbers in the code
- And 2005 until 2021 will have 8 numbers in the code
- From 2021 onwards the serial cards and numbers inside the bags have been removed and now have a chip fitted inside them instead.
Identifying a fake Chanel handbag can be a quick process, assuming any of the key elements highlighted in this article are obviously misaligned. But as many counterfeiters are getting better at duping buyers, determining very good fakes requires a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of the brand's unique design elements and craftsmanship. If you're looking to sell a Chanel handbag but you're uncertain about it’s authenticity, please do reach out to the expert authenticators at Shush London. With over 38 years of experience in the luxury handbag market, our authenticators have the knowledge and skills to verify the authenticity of your Chanel handbag. Plus all of the Chanel Handbags we carry at Shush have been through this meticulous authentication so you can rest assured you are purchasing a genuine item with us.