October 2, 2015
By Jody Hume
HOW TO SPOT REAL CHANEL JEWELRYSHOP CHANEL JEWELRY
“What really sets Chanel jewelry apart, whether it is costume or fine, is the wonderfully bold yet ever elegant design aesthetic,” says Fine Jewelry & Watches Authentication Manager Adriana Krakowski. “The pieces are a fantastic merger of whimsy and sophistication.” You could say the same about the essence of Chanel itself, and investing in a piece of Chanel jewelry is the perfect way to work the iconic brand into your wardrobe. Pieces feature virtually all of the house’s signature designs from camellias to interlocking Cs to tweed and bouclé. And with special runway pieces, bold logo cuffs and delicate, everyday pendant necklaces and pearl earrings, there’s something for every style and occasion. With its coveted status however, Chanel jewelry is often imitated and fakes abound. Here, we asked Krakowski to break down a bit of the history behind Chanel’s jewelry line and what to look for in an authentic piece.
Chanel Jewelry Signatures
“Chanel jewelry has been signed in a variety of ways over the years,” notes Krakowski. “Each decade has slight variations that help to establish authenticity and period. The earliest pieces dating from 1932 are not signed and present the most significant challenge when it comes to authentication. These pieces are very rare in the market. The design, craftsmanship and condition are the most valuable elements to look at when authenticating a piece of unsigned Chanel jewelry that is suspected to be dated prior to 1950.”
“In the 1950s and early 1960s, many pieces were designed by Robert Goossens and simply marked ‘CHANEL,’ stamped directly on the piece. When Alain Wertheimer gained a controlling interest in Chanel in the 1970s, copyright and registration trademarks started to be placed on jewelry pieces. What is typically seen on a piece from the 1970s to early 1980s is a signature tag that is marked with ‘Chanel CC Made in France.’ The tag is often round, but there are also items that have this marking stamped directly onto the piece. You will see a copyright symbol to the left of the ‘C’ in Chanel and a registration trademark to the right of the ‘L.’ Due to the rarity of items that were intentionally produced without signatures, encountering a Chanel piece that is not signed alerts us to the possibility that it is not authentic,” she warns.
Chanel Jewelry Codes
“In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld took the helm at Chanel and later hired Victoire de Castellane as head designer of Chanel costume jewelry. Pieces designed by de Castellane date from 1986 to 1992 and are identified by an oval signature tag. On these items, Chanel began adding codes to identify the season that the jewelry was produced. The season is identified by a single digit number on either side of the CC logo. In 1993, Chanel added a further identifier to the season code to indicate whether the piece was from the Fall or Spring Collection. The letter ‘P’ (for printemps) identifies the spring season and the letter ‘A’ (for automne) identifies fall. Most of these tags are soldered directly to the pieces.”
Chanel Fine Jewelry Materials & Hallmarks
“From 1988 to 2007, Lorenz Baumer designed pieces of jewelry that established a High Jewelry and Fine Jewelry collection for Chanel. Chanel now has its own Studio of Creation where fine jewelry is designed. All Chanel fine jewelry is marked with the karat purity of the metal, a Chanel signature and a serial number. Depending on the design of the piece, the karat hallmark will typically be placed on the underside of the piece in a discreet area that doesn’t impact the design. On a ring, the hallmarks are on the inside of the shank. All Chanel fine jewelry is crafted from 18K gold (yellow or white) and platinum. Only very high color and high clarity diamonds are used and are set perfectly.”
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