The art of authenticating a luxury handbag - Part 5


One of MHH’s services involves the sourcing of pre-owned investment grade designer handbags for the #MHHGirl. Naturally, we want all of our buyers to feel confident with the authenticity of their purchases. We work with a dedicated team across the globe to ensure stunning handbags at competitive prices. 
When you think of replica designer handbags, Chanel handbags are probably the first to come to mind.
There is no shortage when it comes to copies of Chanel's most iconic handbags. While some replicas are obvious to spot, some, are, well, a little trickier to call out. We thank the lovely ladies at Sabrina's Closet for the courtesy of their images this week. 
During our recent trip to China, we were absolutely baffled at the way the counterfeit industry has responded to the crackdown by police and seizure of fake good of all sorts. Instead of closing up shop, copies/ fakes/replicas have become so convincing that many first time buyers could be duped. They are made in "secret factories" and apparently arrive in the middle of the night to third parties who eventually make the final deliveries.
We were at a boutique in a well-known hotel and we spotted some handbags that make us question their authenticity. It was a feeling, a moment where we thought: wait a second, something isn't quite right. We weren't allowed to inspect the bag in great detail but it gave us the inspiration for our next #HauteMoneyMonday series. 
In keeping with our story, something similar happened to Sabrina. She received a what looked like an authentic Chanel handbag but after completing her authentication inspection, it turned out that the bag was indeed fake. 
Having studied the images ourselves, we have to admit that they did a pretty good job at the copy. So, how can you tell if the Chanel bag that you are about to buy online is the real deal?
Here is a simple step-by-step guide to be sure.
Below, we have a photo of three classic Chanel Flap Bags. Two are authentic, one is a fake.
Can you spot the fake bag?
The fake on is actually the one at the bottom. Hard to tell, right? Keep reading to find out exactly how we knew. 
1 | CC LOCK 
The first thing we always look at is the CC Lock - it's a quick giveaway. The right C must always overlap on top and the left C must always overlap on the bottom. If this is not the case with a bag you are about to purchase, you can guarantee that it is not authentic. 
In the picture below, the bag on the left is a replica and the bag on the right is authentic. As you can see, this replica bag we rejected passed the CC Lock test, however, keep reading to find out how it failed on others. 
Notice how on the authentic Chanel (right), the CC lock is centred. On the replica Chanel (left), it is positioned more towards the top than the bottom. 
Replica Chanel CC locks usually have a rounded finish on the CC. Authentic Chanel CC locks have a flat edge finish
The width of each C should also match the width of the gap between the two C's. 
The back of the CC hardware should have two screws, with "CHANEL" embossed on the left, and "PARIS" embossed the right. 
Authentic Chanel 
Replica Chanel
When comparing the two duster bags side by side, you can see a clear difference between the authentic and the fake dust bag. The left duster is authentic and the right duster is fake. On the authentic duster (left), you can see that "CHANEL" is written in white, bold letters centered in the middle. On the fake duster (right), you can see that "CHANEL" is written in a faded grey colour. It is also written in the wrong front, which appears to be thinner. The fake logo is also slightly off-centre on the duster.
Serial numbers on Chanel bags indicate the bag model and year of manufacture. When looking at a particular bag, carry out a Google search, and you will discover tons of guides online to help you find out what year your Chanel bag was manufactured. Chanel does not produce bags with serial numbers of 9 digits or more. If this is the case, it's a fake.
On the Chanel 2.55, the serial sticker should be found on the bottom, left-hand corner. 
Don't forget to inspect your zipper. The zippers they use change depending on what year the bag was manufactured. Check that the zipper on your handbag is consistent with the year it was created
First, check that the authenticity card matches the serial number inside the bag. If it does, it's a good sign, but that does not necessarily mean it is authentic.
Authenticity cards are very easily replicated. Below, you will see two authenticity cards. The right card is fake and the left card is authentic.
Normally, you can tell if you have a fake authenticity card if it has a hologram, rainbow effect. Authentic cards never have this hologram effect. The fake card below is a good fake, since you cannot see the hologram effect. Authentic cards must also have the consistency of a credit card. In the case below, the fake card felt very flimsy and was easily bent.
All the information must be straight and aligned. Bags from 2005 and onwards feature a grey circular symbol at top right. As you can see in the picture below, the fake card symbol is more white, compared to the grey authentic symbol. If the authenticity card does not have a symbol at the top right, it means that it was made pre-2005. 
You can also see a slight difference in font between the two cards. 
To tell if the chain strap is authentic, a lot of it has to do with the weight. In our case, the chain strap on the authentic bag was much heavier than its fake counterpart. 
A huge tell for us with regards to the chain strap was the stitching on the leather intertwined between the chain. On the authentic handbag (gold-tone hardware), you will see that the stitching is clean and seamless. You do not see any crooked lines or bumps.
On the fake bag (silver-tone hardware), there were obvious bumps where it was stitched (sometimes slightly unsewn), it was crooked and uneven. Below is a zoomed picture to get a better idea. 
Let's get a little closer.
You can see the replica Chanel chain (silver-tone hardware), there is a double layer on the top flat part of the leather. One the authentic Chanel, there is no double layer on the top flat part of the leather. There is seamless, perfect stitching.
Replica Chain
Authentic Chain 
Authentic Chanel bags should have a high stitch count - more than 10 stitches per inch. Fake Chanel bags usually have a low stitch count, which creates an overall "puffier" look on the handbag. 
If you close your eyes and touch the caviar leather on both bags, you would notice that you feel the embossed pebbled caviar more visibly on the authentic bag. The fake Chanel caviar leather did not feel as embossed and felt flatter and smoother. Take a close look and make sure the imprint is unique. On fake leather, the imprint is sometimes repeated.
The quilting should always maintain a consistent diamond pattern even when the front flap is closed. This also applies to the pocket on the back. 
The biggest telling sign for us between the two bags was the overall quality. In the picture below, the bag on the left is authentic, and the bag on the right is a replica. When you placed both down, the authentic Chanel was much sturdier, structured and stood up straight. The fake Chanel did not stand straight, folded, and was clearly not as structured as the authentic.  Chanel uses the best materials that are made to last - this should not happen, even with older models. 
You can also see how the replica bag (silver-tone hardware) folds more from a birds-eye-view (it is thinner at the top). The chain straps also start further back on the authentic version. 
The lining is a good indication of the quality of an item. In an authentic Chanel bag, the lining fits snugly inside with no bumps. It is normally very difficult to separate the lining from the bag. When we compared this to the replica, the lining was baggy and loose and extremely easy to pull out from the bag. 
Make sure that the "CHANEL" stamping inside the bag matches the colour of its hardware. 
There you have it 's
Sabrina's closet has made us worthy of being Certified Chanel handbag experts! Yup! We made it! Now go forth and slay!

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