Have you ever wondered if a vintage good was authentic? Chanel authenticity can be tricky.
Vintage pieces are particularly faked. You have to be careful which retailer or website you trust. Even Beyond the Rack sold counterfeits.
Can you decipher Chanel authenticity between double C logo brooches?
Vintage Chanel jewelry is often counterfeited because early Chanel jewelry did not include special markings or hallmarks.
You may enjoy How to Know if Your Chanel Bag is Authentic.
Quality of vintage Chanel materials
Chanel costume jewelry pieces produced between the 1970s and 1990s should be heavy. Most pieces were gold plated but started with a heavy base metal.
Chanel authenticity re trademarks and markings
Depending on the season and year that a piece was produced, the hallmarks vary. When inspecting these markings, it is important to scrutinize the font, depth, and location of the different insignias.
Before 1939, costume jewelry was exclusively manufactured to complement Chanel’s clothing line. Jewelry from this era can be especially hard to authenticate because these rare pieces were not marked.
In 1939, due to WWII, The House of Chanel stopped operations.
In 1941, a brand by the name of Chanel Novelty Company produced brooches in 1941. These pieces were stamped with a cursive “Chanel.” Coco Chanel sued them for trademark infringement and won her fashion law case. Chanel Novelty Company renamed to Reinad Novelty Company. Chanel Novelty Company accessories have their own unique beauty and craftsmanship.
In 1954, Chanel resumed business in her Parisian boutique at 31 Rue Cambon. Pieces, like Chanel brooches, were still made to coordinate with outfits. Some jewelry received hallmarks. Stamps would read CHANEL and sometimes included three stars underneath the trademark name.
During the early 1950s to 1960s, Chanel enlisted the help of Robert Goossens. Goossens’ design style includes early baroque and Byzantine styles using Gripoix glass. Gripoix glass elements are jewel-toned stones made from molten glass. The house of Gripoix is credited with being the first to develop Chanel’s signature faux pearl luster.
Hallmarks during this time often appear uneven due to early stamping techniques. Pieces from this time period are marked simply as CHANEL, usually stamped directly on the piece itself.
In the 1970s, after Chanel passing, Alain Wertheimer gained control of the company. Wertheimer stamped jewelry with a copyright, interlocking cc, registered trademark logo, and country of origin stamp.
Some pieces only have the stamped brand name and copyright symbol.
In the early 1980s, Karl Lagerfeld took over Chanel. Date of production is incorporated into the stamping. For this era you will see both Chanel with a trademark logo, copyright symbol, and the year manufactured.
Additionally, on many pieces there will be an oval shaped plaque with the brand name, copyright, trademark, and Made in France stamped differently than in periods past and future.Many pieces have a year instead of country origin. The plaque with trademark insignia was either attached directly to one of the pearls or added as a hangtag.
During the mid-1980s to 1992, Victoire de Castellane joins Chanel as Lagerfeld’s assistant. Designs from this era contain two numbers on either side of the Chanel insignia in the center of the oval logo plate fixed on jewelry. This is based on the season number, from 23-29 (between ’84 to ’89) with no reference to date.
From the early 1990s jewelry includes two-digit season numbers and letter season codes. You can interpret the season code by the following: A represents a piece from the Fall/Automne line. P represents Spring/Printemps. More current collections include C for Cruise. The letter V represents a continuous line.
In the early 2000s, Chanel began producing jewelry in Italy. Laser etching was introduced.
Presently, a Chanel jewelry piece includes an oval plate with CHANEL, the Chanel copyright and trademark, and the year and season accompanying the logo. There are minor variations.
And increasingly, pieces read MADE IN ITALY rather than MADE IN FRANCE. More of the signatures tend to be stamped or engraved on the pieces themselves, rather than on a plate attached to the piece.