There are all kinds of fake Chanel purses and handbags. Sometimes they are made so well that only an expert with sharp eyes can tell the real Chanel bag from the fake ones.
The world-famous high-end luxury bags cost anywhere from $2,100 to as much as $260,000. For that much money, you could buy a house in many parts of the country. Imagine spending a lot of money on a popular Chanel purse, like the classic 2.55, only to get a fake. Ouch.
If you want this designer handbag but don’t want to buy a fake one, here’s a guide on how to tell if that statement purse is a real Chanel bag or a good fake. It’s important to look more closely to make sure you’re not spending money on a fake bag.
The leather is the first thing to look at. Lambskin or caviar skin is the real leather used in Chanel bags. Lambskin leather is very soft, smooth, velvety, and shiny, like butter. Even if you’ve never felt lambskin leather before, once you do, you’ll know what it means to be high-quality and very soft.
It’s clear that it’s a luxury item because only the best materials are used to make it. If your bag is smooth but not as soft as a baby’s bottom, you have every reason to be suspicious.
On the other hand, caviar leather is made from pebbled calfskin that has grains. Compared to lambskin, it has a rougher feel and is much more durable.
People who like Chanel handbags tend to choose the leather with a pebbled finish. If the bag is real, you should be able to feel the raised dimples when you run your hand over it.
Not only does the outside of the shoe have high-quality leather, but so does the inside. The lining of a real Chanel flap bag is taut, which means it fits tightly. Touch it and you’ll feel that the leather fits together perfectly, is smooth, and has a very expensive feel.
If the lining has creases, wrinkles, bubbles, or bumps—in short, if it’s not perfectly smooth and tight—then you’ve been tricked. If it felt and looked tight when you bought it, but the lining loosens or pulls away over time, you probably have a fake Chanel bag. Sorry!
3. Stitch counts
A real Chanel bag has a high number of stitches, so the quilting doesn’t puff up. The stitches in the panels or the edges of each quilted diamond are easy to find.
Count each side’s stitches. If the number is less than 8, you have a copy. On each side of the diamond, the real thing has 8 to 12 stitches.
At least 9 stitches are on each side of the new Chanel bags. The old Chanel bags are the ones with 8.
But there is no real Chanel bag in the world that has less than 8 stitches on each side. Low stitch count means diamond quilts that are puffier, which means it’s not real.
When the flap is closed or when you look in the outer pocket, the quilting pattern should be perfectly lined up. The pattern shouldn’t get off track when the bag’s parts get in the way. It has a diamond pattern that stays the same.
Old leather tends to get stretched out over time, which makes the quilted pattern look a little off. But if you just bought a new Chanel bag and the quilt isn’t the same all over, you have a fake.
5. CC lock
The CC lock is what makes a Chanel bag look like a Chanel bag. When you see the interlocking CC logo on quilted leather, you know a purse is a Chanel or at least trying to be one. If you know what to look for, the copycats won’t be able to fool you with the CC lock.
At the top of the logo on real Chanel bags, the right C goes over the left C. At the bottom, the left C is on top of the right C.
The CC lock should be in the middle, the same on both sides, and the ends should be flat. The edges of the CC should also be made a little rounder. The edges of the fake CC will be sharp and squared off.
If the backplate says the bag was made in Paris and the inside has a stamp that says “Made in France,” there should be a small mark with three small lines on the top of the left “C.” If the C has three lines and the inside of the bag says “Made in Paris,” you have a fake.
7. Behind the lock
On the back of the lock is a rectangular gold plate that is held in place by two gold screws on each side. The House of Chanel uses either flathead screws or star-shaped screws, both of which belong to the house and can’t be taken apart with any other screwdriver but the house’s own. If the gold hardware on your purse has Phillips-head screws, that’s a big red flag.
Also, check that the backplate says “Chanel” and “Paris.” They should have the same size and style of font and be spaced out evenly.
The word “Chanel” should be written from front to back, so if you turn the bag, the word “Chanel” should be on the top and the word “Paris” should be on the bottom. The fake one won’t have any of these qualities, and they usually write “Paris” and “Chanel” backward.
8. Belt straps
The watch is real if the chain strap is heavy, the gold or silver is smooth, and there are no scratches or dents. Also, look at how the leather strap is attached to the chain. It should look like it was hand-stitched, not machine-stitched unless you’re looking at the jumbo flap bag, in which case the leather has been folded 4 times.
It’s clear that light chain straps are bad news. Gold or silver chains that are broken or worn down are bad news. Leather straps that are machine-stitched are bad news.
9. Card of authenticity
The embossed numbers on the authenticity card should only have between 6 and 8 digits, and they should match both the numbers and the font style on the sticker inside the bag.
The serial number is written on a horseshoe-shaped sticker on the inside of the bag. Also, the real one has a round hologram sticker in the top right corner.
The card should be 8.5 centimeters long and 5.4 centimeters tall. The card shouldn’t have any uneven parts, smudges, misprints, or things that are hard to read. Those things show that the cards are not real.
The gold border shouldn’t be easy to scratch off. The whole thing should be clean, crisp, and neat.
The weight of the card is another sign that it is not real. The real one feels like a plastic card and is heavy. The fake one, on the other hand, is light and feels cheap, like cardboard.
10. Brand stamp
Inside every Chanel bag, either the lining or a leather patch is stamped with the brand name. The brand stamp should be the same color as the bag’s hardware. If the bag’s hardware is gold, the brand stamp should also be gold, and if the hardware is silver, the brand stamp should also be silver. On a real Chanel, the brand stamp may change color or almost disappear if the metallic leafing wears off. This usually happens on older styles that have been used a lot.
Every brand stamp has the name of the brand, a registered trademark, and the country where the bag was made, all in capital letters. Both France and Italy make Chanel bags, so either country can be on the brand stamp. On a fake Chanel, the brand stamp will only say the city.
11. Dust bag
If your Chanel bag was made after the year 2000, it should have a black dust bag. The dust bag is white in the 1980s and 1990s.
A real Chanel dust bag is made of hard cotton and has the word “Chanel” written in white right in the middle. If the brand name is crooked, off-white, or written in a smaller font, you should be very, very careful. Sometimes, the strings on the fake dust bag are made out of shoelaces, which shows how poorly it was made.
12. The Chanel bag can stand on its own
Each Chanel Flap Bag is turned out to keep its structured shape when it is done. When you put it down, each corner should rest on the surface and stand up straight. It is a fake Chanel bag if it leans or falls forward.
13. Questions People Usually Ask
Are there serial numbers on all Chanel bags?
Only in 1984 did the House of Chanel start using serial numbers.
How do you know how long a Chanel bag has been around?
Count the number of digits on the serial sticker to find out how old your Chanel bag is. Seven digits mean Chanel made it between 1986 and 2005. If your purse has 8 digits, it came out between the end of 2005 and now.
You can find out the exact year by looking up the first few numbers of your serial number online.
14. Understand the Difference
On the market, there are a lot of good fake Chanel bags, and many of them look great and real. But even a Class-A fake can be wrong in one or more ways. Even if the leather is real lambskin or caviar, the hardware or the authenticity card will show that something is wrong.