The Chanel handbag is one of the most sought-after accessories---and status symbols---for women worldwide. Given its popularity, it comes as no surprise that many have attempted to create and sell counterfeit versions of this luxury item. Chanel has taken several measures to protect its integrity and to legally penalise any imitators of its products. However, despite these actions, fake Chanel handbags continue to surface. Chanel only sells its products through Chanel boutiques or select high-end retailers. Chanel prohibits the sale of its products through any online distributor, discount retailers and wholesalers. Furthermore, Chanel does not sell directly through its own website.
- Skill level:
Check the logo. The Chanel logo is two interlocking Cs facing away from each other. The top of the right C should always overlap the left C. An inversed interlocking of the two Cs can be found on the interior flap of some vintage bags.
Check the hardware. Hardware includes the zipper, straps, clasps and buttons. Look to see if each piece of hardware matches the rest as far as tone and colour. The zipper pull should have the name "Chanel" and the CC logo engraved on either side. Furthermore, none of the classic caviar medallion tote bags have four metal feet on the bottom.
Check the stamp inside the bag. The stamp is the small rectangle with the Chanel name and "Made in" wording. The colours of the letters should match the colour of the bag's chain.
Check the price. Chanel does not discount its products unless they are sold through one of its own discount outlets; even at these locations, the sales price is still relatively high. Handbags, however, retain their retail value and when sold used, the price drop is minimal.
Check the bag's material. Note that Chanel uses high-quality calfskin, not lambskin. While the company has used other types of leathers and fabrics, the Chanel Cambon line uses calfskin. Also note that the Cambon and Coco line bags are made in Italy, not France, even though Chanel has manufactured some of its products in France.
Find the authenticity card. Every Chanel bag comes with one. This card should be black with gold lettering and trimming and the serial number should match the serial number tag inside the bag. The statement of authenticity should be written in three languages: English, French and German).
Find the serial number. The older tags have gold Chanel logos on either side of the seven-digit serial number. New tags have gold Chanel logos on top of an eight-digit serial number. A holographic plastic covering should go over the tag. A black bar should run the entire left side of the hologram while the name "Chanel" should run the entire right side. Removing the hologram will damage the tag. Also note that the tag and authenticity card formats do not change every year, as some sellers will tell you. Beware of serial numbers that end in "5454" as this number has been seen on mass-produced fakes.
Track any repeating patterns on the bag. Logos and quilting must line up. If a pocket has been sewn in the front of the bag, the pattern should not break or deviate from the rest of the bag. The bag's pattern should be consistent throughout, regardless of any pockets or slits on the bag.
Tips and warnings
- The simplest way to avoid buying a fake handbag is to purchase one from a Chanel boutique or one of the high-end department stores at your local mall.
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