There are a few key things to check including the authenticity card and sticker/serial number, tag, dust bag, booklet, material, label, hardware, and logo.
Authenticity Card and Sticker/Serial Number
All handbags and accessories (wallets, palm pilot cases, key holders and agendas) made in the late 1990's to present have a small white rectangular sticker with two gold circle cc logos. Below the logo is a black 7-digit serial number. For 2005 and beyond, the serial number is 8 digits.
The sticker is covered with a sticky clear tape. The white sticker is divided into four separate sections (4 triangles) and can be peeled off. The left side of the sticker is a thick light black/purple line (you will not see this line if the interior is black, brown or navy).
The right side has CHANEL, CC, CHANEL, CC (don't worry if CHANEL is cut off and you will not see this if the interior is black, brown or navy). The 7-digit or 8-digit serial number on the sticker must match the serial number on the authenticity card.
The 7-digit serial number sticker is usually located inside the bag at the lower left hand corner on the opposite side of the Chanel stamp or label. Other places where the sticker can be found include: inside the interior zipper pocket, inside the exterior open pocket but not the back pocket, and on a small leather patch located on the left hand corner on the opposite side of the Chanel label. The serial number must face upward so it is easily read.
Authentic Chanel items never have a tag hanging off it. What may look like a pretty metal tag with words “Chanel” on it, or a leather tag that says “Genuine leather” will not be on an authentic bag. The only appropriate tags are a paper store tag or a Chanel paper tag. These will only be white with black lettering.
Authentic Chanel dust bags are black with white lettering.
An authentic bag will have a booklet that pulls out as opposed to a "book" syle booklet.
Lambskin (most elegant and very soft)
Caviar Leather (embossed leather)
Patent Leather (shiny leather)
Fabric (wool jersey and jacquard)
Jacquard with CC logo written all over
Satin like fabric
Suede like material
An authentic bag will one of the following:
- Gold or silver CHANEL stamp on the interior leather . There is a gold stamp if the hardware is gold, and a silver stamp if the hardware is silver. The CHANEL stamp is in front of the interior open pocket, above the interior open pocket, or in the lower portion of the interior flap. The MADE IN FRANCE or MADE IN ITALY stamp is either gold or silver, depending on the hardware, and is directly under the CHANEL stamp or at the opposite side of the CHANEL stamp.
- CHANEL embossed in the interior leather . This is located above the open pocket, in front of the interior open pocket or in the lower portion of the interior flap. MADE IN FRANCE or MADE IN ITALY is embossed in the interior leather at the opposite side of CHANEL stamp or directly under CHANEL.
- Rectangular leather label with CHANEL stamp in gold or silver . Again a gold stamp if the hardware is gold, and a silver stamp if the hardware is silver. The MADE IN FRANCE or MADE IN ITALY stamp is directly under the CHANEL stamp. The label can be of any color and matches the color of the exterior. No contrasting color stitching.
- Oval leather label with CHANEL embossed in the leather . Circle CC and MADE IN ITALY are embossed directly under CHANEL. No contrasting color stitching.
- Black label with CHANEL in white letters . No contrasting color stitching around the label.
- Black label with white vertical lines . White vertical lines are fine as long as the contrasting stitching is not around the label.
The CC hardware is shiny gold, matte gold, shiny silver, matte silver, resin, tortoise or clear plastic, depending on the style line and must match the chain strap and zipper pull. The CC hardware is either turn knob closure or interlocking CC snap closure. Some vintage styles have circle CC. Other styles have CHANEL engraved in the metal.
The back of the CC turn knob logo hardware is a rectangular plate with two screws. In some styles, like the Jumbo classic bag, the back of the CC turn knob logo hardware is an oval plate with two screws. Whether the back plate is rectangle or oval, CHANEL is engraved on the top and PARIS on the bottom. For plastic CC turn knob logo hardware, the back side does not have the CHANEL, PARIS engraved. Note that Chanel uses diagonal screws and not the Phillip type.
CC logo is sometimes quilt stitched in the front the bag. Whether the CC logo is gold, silver, stitched or other material, the top portion of the right C must overlap the top portion of the left C. The bottom portion of the left C must overlap the bottom portion of the right C. Sometimes there is no overlap but a smooth CC logo. In a very few vintage Chanel handbags, Chanel has done the reverse overlaps on their interior flaps. Currently, a specific ballerina shoes line has this reversed CC overlap on the right shoe and the traditional CC overlap on the left shoe, for the mirror effect.