No brand is safe from fakes and that’s especially true when it comes to luxury designers. Thankfully, each designer has their own distinctive traits that are telltale signs of the real from the fake. When it comes to Chanel, certain subtleties in the material or hardware can be a clear indicator of fraud, and so can a serial number that doesn’t add up to the year of production, and that’s why it’s so important to familiarize yourself with these red flags so you can rest easy knowing your bag is the real deal.
We work with experts who have years of experience authenticating Chanel bags. And if you buy a Chanel bag from YOLO Luxury Consignment, you’ve got immediate access to some of the industry’s best and most trusted authenticators, but sometimes you need to do a quick check yourself, and one of the quickest and easiest ways to check to see if your bag is real, or just a really good fake, is by comparing the bag’s sticker hologram to the Chanel serial number guide we’ve supplied below.
But first, let’s quickly look at other telltale signs.
The most obvious way to tell a real Chanel from a fake is the quality of the quilting pattern and symmetry. Real Chanel bags are most often crafted of supple lambskin, caviar leather or calfskin which creates distinctive and flawless diamond-shaped patterns. On certain Chanel bags like the 2.55, you should check the rear pocket of the bag to make sure the quilted pattern on the back pocket lines up with the pattern of the bag itself. If the patterns don’t match up, you probably have a fake on your hands.
STITCH QUALITY AND COUNT
Chanel bags have a high stitch count and most often there should be 10 or more stitches per edge of the quilting. While the exact number of stitches varies per bag, if you see a low stitch count per diamond, you might be looking at a fake. Also, there should never be loose threads, bumps or obvious mistakes.
Open the flap of the bag and look at the CC lock plate. The older Chanel bags feature a flathead screw on the lock plate, while the newer bags have star-shaped screws. If you see an X-shaped one, it’s probably a fake. Also make sure the color of the hardware matches the stamping inside the bag. And also make sure the C’s overlap correctly on the CC logo hardware.
Chanel most commonly uses zippers like the Lampo, DMC, YKK and the Eclair zipper, or the triple C in a circle.
CHANEL’S SERIAL NUMBERS
Chanel handbags have hologram stickers with serial numbers and a date code sewn inside the bag. The hologram stickers and serial numbers have changed almost every year since 1986 so it’s important you compare the sticker in your bag to the Chanel hologram sticker guide, you’ll find below.
Sometimes the hologram stickers will fall off vintage or pre-owned Chanel bags, but that doesn’t mean it’s fake. You can usually tell the sticker’s adhesive residue where it was once located. Fake bags may also feature fake hologram stickers, but they fall off easily. The fake ones are missing details. Chanel has details in their holograms.
The year the bag was made is determined by the number of digits in the serial number. If the serial number has eight digits, it was produced from 2005 to today. And if it has seven digits, the year of production is determined by the first digit. If the serial number doesn’t follow the chart above or has more than eight digits, it’s probably a fake.
Counterfeiters have become very crafty and can create a serial number that fits the chart, and that’s why you should also focus on the way the sticker looks. Authentic serial number stickers will feature a combo of the CC logo markings and an X-shape that’s cut into the tape to prevent the removal with damage and little reflective speckles.