Essential Guide: How to Authenticate a Chanel Bag with Confidence

If you're questioning the genuineness of your Chanel bag, you're not alone. Counterfeits are getting more advanced, but so are the methods to spot them. In this guide, we cut straight to the chase on how you can authenticate Chanel bags.

You'll learn the distinctive hallmarks of true Chanel quality , from serial stickers to leather and stitch count. Be ready to dive into the essential authenticity checks that will help you determine if your Chanel is an original.

Key Takeaways:

Guide on how to authenticate Chanel bags

Tips to secure your Chanel purchases

Guide for spotting a vintage Chanel bag

Crucial Elements of Authentication

Finding out whether or not a Chanel bag is authentic is a multi-step process that requires careful inspection of a variety of components.

One of the key elements is the Chanel serial number, often referred to as the "social security number" of the bag.

Chanel started introducing them in the mid-1980s, the serial number serves as a unique identifier for each bag, and understanding it is crucial to the authentication process.

The bag's hardware is another key component to scrutinize. From the backplate of the CC lock to the type of screws used , every little detail holds significance and can be a clear indicator of authenticity.

Finally, we'll delve into the type of leather employed in the bag, which is another critical factor. Chanel primarily uses Caviar and Lambskin, each with distinctive characteristics that contribute to the bag's overall look and feel.

Vintage Chanel Bag

Unveiling the Secrets of Chanel Bag Authentication

Chanel's approach to behind authentication evolves with the world's progress.

The luxury brand has embraced cutting-edge technology, integrating NFC-enabled microchips and blockchain mechanisms into their new Chanel bag designs .

This ensures that the life cycle of each and every Chanel bag is meticulously tracked, with the data being kept confidential and only accessible to Chanel associates and specialized scanning devices.

Despite Chanel's fortified defense mechanisms, counterfeiters have escalated their game by creating 'super fakes' that bear a close resemblance to authentic Chanel bags.

This makes understanding Chanel's authentication process paramount to discerning between real and counterfeit bags.

Chanel square jersey bowler back

Deciphering the Chanel Serial Number Sticker

The serial number inside the bag serves as an indispensable instrument in the authentication process.

It's an 8-digit code for bags produced from late 2005 onwards. The handbag's date code starts with the first two digits indicating the year of manufacture.

Bags made between 1986 and 2005 have a 7-digit serial number, with the first digit signifying the production year. Vintage pieces from early 1986 or before may have a 6-digit serial number.

Bags with a 9-digit date code are not authentic as genuine codes are seven or eight digits long, sometimes six.

Real vs. fake Chanel serial number

Hardware Tells All: Identifying Authentic Chanel Bag Features

Besides the critical serial number, the hardware of the bag can also shed light on its authenticity. The iconic Chanel logo gold hardware should come as:

  • Two three-dimensional interlocking Cs, differing from older styles that may have flatter Cs

  • The CC lock on an authentic classic 2.55 Chanel handbag is precisely centered in the middle of a square piece of leather

  • An authentic bag always uses flathead screws on the backplate of the lock, never Phillips-head screws, which are a clear indicator of a counterfeit.

The stamping on the backplate of the CC lock should have clear, even spacing and font , as inconsistencies in lettering can signal a fake Chanel bag.

Leather Examination: Caviar Skin vs. Lambskin

There are two types of leather that Chanel uses, and it is important to be aware of the differences between them in order to facilitate the authentication process.

Caviar leather 'pebbled calf leather', known for its signature pebbled appearance, feels luxurious and is durable due to the grainy texture.

On the other hand, Lambskin leather is known for its buttery texture and luxurious feel, but it is more delicate and prone to scratches compared to caviar skin.

Understanding the unique characteristics of these two types of leather can help ensure that you're investing in a genuine Chanel bag.

Chanel caviar skin and lambskin

Mastering the Art of Stitch Inspection

Beyond contributing to the visual appeal, the meticulous stitching on a real Chanel bag also signifies its authenticity.

An authentic Chanel bag should have at least up to eleven stitches per edge of each diamond quilt pattern.

A very high stitch count is integral to preserving the bag's shape for years, marking a key aspect of authenticity.

On the contrary, a low stitch count, often fewer than 10 stitches per inch, or uneven stitching are telltale indicators of a counterfeit Chanel bag.

Real vs. fake Chanel stitching

The Intricacies of the Quilting Pattern

Examining the accuracy of the iconic quilting pattern can be pivotal in confirming a Chanel bag's authenticity.

The diamond quilts on an authentic Chanel bag should perfectly align throughout the bag, even around pockets and seams, forming complete or half diamonds centered on the pattern.

Fake Chanel bags may exhibit inconsistencies such as unevenly spaced quilting or misaligned diamond patterns, a clear indication of inauthenticity, unlike the genuine Chanel bags manufactured with precision and care.

Ensuring the Integrity of the Leather Strap

The quality of the strap can provide a clear sign of a bag's authenticity.

A genuine Chanel bag's strap exhibits meticulous stitching, with each stitch uniform and no leather piece looking out of place or poorly threaded.

The leather of an authentic Chanel strap interwoven in the chain should pass through the links smoothly , displaying high-quality craftsmanship and not appearing forced.

An authentic Chanel's chain, combined with the leather strap, should feel substantial in weight and maintain flexibility, distinctive qualities not found in counterfeit versions.

Real vs. fake Chanel leather straps

The Emblem of Authenticity: The CC Logo and Lock

The CC logo and lock play a major role in determining a Chanel bag's authenticity.

The right 'C' overlaps the left 'C' at the top, and the left 'C' overlaps the right 'C' at the bottom in an authentic Chanel logo.

Authentic logo locks are designed with equal width , flat edges to ensure a consistent and precise appearance.

The placement of the CC lock should be centered both vertically and horizontally on its leather flap, with misplaced locks indicative of replica locks.

Chanel medium classic black double flap

The CC Logo Markings

The characteristics and positioning of the CC logo are crucial for the authentication process.

Each 'C' in the Chanel logo is of equal width as the space between the 'C's, indicative of Chanel's attention to detail. The edges of the 'C's in the Chanel logo are flat, with rounded edges suggesting a counterfeit.

The CC logo on the interior of a Double Flap bag is precisely 9mm wide and positioned 1.5 cm above the Chanel stamping, with the stitching color matching the interior of the bag.

An original CC logo has a width of 3.3cm, with 'CHANEL' stamped on the left and 'PARIS' on the right side of the lock plate when opened, maintaining consistent dimensions on authentic Chanel bags.

Real vs. fake Chanel logo

Assessing the Rectangular Lock

The rectangular lock on a Chanel bag also holds significant importance in the authentication process.

Genuine Chanel's classic bags feature either flat head screws or proprietary star-shaped screws in their lock mechanism, never Phillips-head screws.

The rectangular turnlock on a genuine Chanel Classic Flap has a certain level of resistance, indicating a well-crafted, high-quality mechanism.

A hallmark of an authentic Chanel lock is its smooth and consistent finish is gold or silver, which should not show signs of flaking or discoloration, on the silver or gold plated surface, over time.

Real vs. fake Chanel lock

Beyond the Surface: Internal Verification

The authentication process extends further than a mere surface examination, delving into internal verification methods like:

  • Date codes: Introduced in the mid-1980s, date codes act as unique identifiers that can be used to authenticate Chanel items.

  • Hologram stickers: These stickers are another internal verification method used by Chanel.

  • Microchips: From 2021, Chanel integrated microchips in their bags, providing another layer of internal verification.

The lining of an authentic Chanel bag should be tightly bound to the sides and walls, displaying consistency and evenness without any bumps or bubbles.

While many vintage Chanel handbags may not possess an authenticity card or serial number , it is essential to inspect the quality of material, stitching, logos, and hardware to ascertain authenticity.

The inside of a Chanel bag

Date Codes and Their Significance

In the Chanel bag authentication process, the date code plays a crucial part. It serves as the bag's unique identifier , allowing you to determine the year of production.

Authentic bags have a seven or eight-digit code corresponding to the production era ; any divergence, such as a nine-digit code, is indicative of fake bags.

Hologram Stickers and Iridescent Speckles

Starting from around the year 2000, Chanel began using hologram stickers with a clear tape containing a hologram security feature. These stickers also feature:

  • Gold speckles throughout

  • Two Chanel logos above the serial number to confirm their authenticity

  • A cross pattern cut that would cause it to damage when tampered with or removed

A true serial number sticker should not reflect a rainbow hologram which would indicate that it's a non-authentic card.

Accessories That Authenticate

Additional inclusions with Chanel bags like authenticity cards and care booklets can further aid in authentication.

Chanel has been including authenticity cards with their handbags since the serial sticker was introduced in 1986.

The authenticity card is frequently counterfeited and should not be solely relied upon to verify the authenticity of a Chanel bag.

Chanel's genuine packaging, inspired by Coco Chanel herself, is characterized by soft, high-quality tissue paper that is meticulously hand-folded, serving as a subtle cue to its authenticity.

Evaluating Authenticity Cards

The authenticity card in a real Chanel bag should possess a sturdy feel, akin to a credit card, not exhibiting a flimsy or cardboard-like texture. A genuine Chanel authenticity card will have the serial number printed in perfect alignment , without any misalignment which could suggest a counterfeit card.

An authentic Chanel bag will have matching serial numbers on both the bag and its authenticity card ; any discrepancy between these two is an indication of a fake bag.

Real vs. fake Chanel cards

Care Booklets and Additional Inclusions

Other accompaniments like care booklets can also provide valuable insights into the authenticity. The inclusion of a white care booklet containing detailed care instructions is indicative of a genuine Chanel bag.

Authentic Chanel dust bags should be made of white cotton with a black drawstring or black felt with white lettering, with a distinctly soft feel and a sharply printed, centered logo using the original font.


A felt cloth protector is an additional inclusion designed to preserve the quality of a Chanel bag by safeguarding the leather from any potential damage caused by the chains during storage.

Shopping Smart: Purchasing from Chanel Boutiques and Trusted Retailers

The authenticity of the Chanel handbag can be ensured by purchasing it from an official Chanel boutique, or from a retailer that has been authorized to sell second-hand Chanel goods or from other luxury brands.

But the savvy shopper not only seeks to avoid counterfeits but also desires the ultimate Chanel shopping experience, which includes access to the latest designs, professional advice from knowledgeable staff, and a luxurious retail environment.

When it comes to purchasing used Chanel bags, the following subsection delves deeper into the advantages of purchasing from websites that have expert authentication processes and the precautions that should be taken.

Precautions When Buying Used Chanel Bags

Purchasing a used Chanel bag can be a savvy decision, yet caution is vital. Only purchase from reputable suppliers who have authenticated the pieces to avoid counterfeits.

Utilizing the services of luxury resale sites that have expert authentication processes can help ensure the authenticity of a pre-owned Chanel handbag.

Also, be wary of prices that seem too good to be true, as they may indicate the bag is not genuine.

Chanel classic white shoulder bag

The Faux Pas of Fake Chanel Bags

Owing to their superior quality and ageless designs, most Chanel bags are in high demand. Their iconic status only adds to their desirability. This has led to a surge of fake Chanel bags in the market.

Counterfeit Chanel bags often have a boxy shape , unlike genuine Chanel bags which have a more square shape with rounded corners. However, being aware of the telltale signs of counterfeit bags can help you avoid the pitfalls of fake bags. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Poor stitch quality and uneven seams

  • Low-quality materials and hardware

  • Misspelled or poorly printed logos

  • Incorrect font or logo placement

  • Lack of authenticity cards or Chanel serial numbers

  • Suspiciously low prices

By familiarizing yourself with these signs, you can ensure that you are purchasing real chanel bags, thus owning an authentic Chanel bag.

Signs of a Counterfeit Chanel Handbag

Identifying a counterfeit Chanel bag typically involves discerning certain signs. Chanel bags stamped with 'Made in Paris' are fake , as genuine bags are marked with 'Made in France' or 'Made in Italy.' Low-quality leather is an obvious sign of a fake Chanel bag.

Also, Chanel bags with flat or puffy quilts are indicative of a counterfeit due to poor quality.

Chanel vintage beige shoulder bag, Chanel Black Patent Perforated Camellia Tote bag, red Chanel Bubble Bag

Comparing Vintage Chanel Bags to Newer Models

Gaining insight into the disparities between vintage and contemporary Chanel bags can aid in identifying characteristics appropriate to their era.

Vintage Chanel bags can be identified by the distinctive leather and chain straps , which feature a link without the leather threaded through it, unlike contemporary Chanel bags that have leather straps folded back on themselves and stitched through each link.

Vintage bags from early 1986 possibly have a 6-digit serial number.

Vintage Chanel bag and a green rectangle Chanel bag


This guide is a comprehensive resource for discerning the authenticity of Chanel goods, addressing concerns about counterfeit products .

It emphasizes crucial elements such as the serial number, hardware, leather types, and stitching quality, guiding fashion enthusiasts through the intricate process of verification.

Chanel's incorporation of advanced technology like NFC-enabled microchips and blockchain adds another layer of security to authenticate their products.

Despite Chanel's advancements, counterfeiters persist, necessitating a meticulous understanding of authentication techniques.

Detailed explanations on decoding the Chanel serial numbers, examining hardware features , and distinguishing between Caviar and Lambskin leather underscore the guide's thoroughness.

Furthermore, the insights into quilting patterns and strap quality provide additional authentication cues.

The guide also discusses internal verification methods like hologram stickers and a date code.

The guide also sheds light on purchasing from official boutiques or trusted retailers to ensure authenticity , while also offering precautions for buying pre-owned items.

By familiarizing themselves with the nuances outlined in this guide, fashion enthusiasts can confidently authenticate their Chanel bags, safeguarding themselves against counterfeit purchases and ensuring an authentic Chanel experience.

We recommend shopping at Collectors Cage if you are located near Denmark. Alternatively, you can seek out local options, e.g., Etoile Vintage if you are in Amsterdam, or similar locations in your own country.

Chanel beige shoulder bag

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I check my Chanel serial number?

Because Chanel boutiques do not authenticate bags, the best way to ensure that your Chanel Fine Jewelry is authentic is to either rely on third-party authentication services or buy pieces of Chanel Fine Jewelry from a Chanel boutique.

Does Chanel store authenticate?

Both France and Italy are responsible for the production of Chanel. The "made in Italy" stamp is authentic and provides information about the country in which the bag was manufactured.

Why does my Chanel bag say made in Italy?

To differentiate between Caviar and Lambskin in authentic Chanel bags, look for the pebbled appearance and durability of Caviar. Lambskin, on the other hand, has a buttery texture and is more delicate and prone to scratches. Caviar is distinguished by its pebbled appearance and durability.

How to distinguish between Caviar leather and Lambskin used in Chanel bags?

Bags that are marked with the phrase "Made in Paris" should be avoided because they could be fakes. Genuine bags are those that are marked with the phrases "Made in France" or "Made in Italy." Additionally, you should be wary of bags that have flat or puffy quilts and leather of low quality.

What are the signs of counterfeit Chanel handbags?

Bags that are marked with the phrase "Made in Paris" should be avoided because they could be fakes. Genuine bags are those that are marked with the phrases "Made in France" or "Made in Italy." Additionally, you should be wary of bags that have flat or puffy quilts and leather of low quality.

Matilde Stadager Luxury bag expert and writer

Meet the Author

Matilde Stadager - Luxury Bag Expert & Writer 

Matilde Stadager is an expert in the world of high-end and fashion bags. With a great sense of the current trends, she has been a shopping advisor for clients of Collectors Cage for years. Her many years of experience includes doing authentication of products & sourcing designer bags. Matilde knows a lot about the history of the different fashion houses, and bag models. In her writings she shares all her experience with the readers.


1 comment

Matilde. I own a Chanel double flap medium black handbag with black interior, c1989, it has no serial number inside and I asked Chanel in London to authenticate it but they do not authenticate their products. I have tested the gold plate (ie not magnetic and vinegar no stain) and checked the key features, number of stitches, measured the stitched inside double C logo for size etc, has a made in france stamp and Chanel R stamp, inside zip has 3 small Cs in a circle, snap is fiocchi/Italy, front lock 3 small lines on top left C – indicates 1989 or 90 and it all appears authentic – is there any way i can get it properly verified/tested – the size, weight, feel and even weight of the chain etc all seems correct. It has some wear on edges but overall it looks great, hope you can help, happy to send pictures if that helps, best Mike

Mike Dennis

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