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Gold or silver? Sometimes we have a solid favourite, often it depends on the occasion, or how we’re feeling — but gold has a higher value for a reason…

It’s rarer, harder to find, and there’s just something about that warm, lustrous glow…

Chanel has always known how to add just the right amount of gold to their handbags. Their classic black flap bags with gold detailing are often considered the pinnacle of many people’s fashion wardrobe goals — with many saving up especially to buy one. (Or you could cut the waiting and find one within our pre-loved Chanel handbag collection).

Chanel bags have always contained true gold — however, the processes and percentages underwent a major shift in 2008…

Before: The Rustic Glow of Vintage Gold

Pre-2008, Chanel handbags were adorned with 24K gold plated hardware. This means that the metal was gilded with another metal alloy that contained the 24K gold.

Often known as ‘true vintage gold’, Chanel’s 24K Gold Plated Hardware has a slightly darker, more antique look.

CHANEL BLACK LAMBSKIN LEATHER KELLY HANDBAG

With excessive exposure to salt air or even acidity from the skin, gold plating can begin to tarnish. If the bag is older and used often the plating can even be slowly worn away to reveal the metal underneath. This can often be treated or polished to restore its shine. However, in extreme cases, Chanel offers a repair and replacement service (at an extra cost).

Look for the hallmark

One of the ways to identify if your Chanel bag has plated 24K gold is to check the CC logo clasp. There should be a tiny hallmark stamped on the CC clasp. It’s a mark that helps to authenticate the age of the bag. We also examine this hallmark during our authentication process too.

There were some instances where their bags were not stamped, so if you’re unsure you may need to check the serial number too.

Check out the hallmark on this red Chanel flap bag from 1986.

An image showing an example of Chanel's 24K Gold Plated Hardware with a hallmark stamp on the top right of the CC clasp.
Chanel’s 24K Gold Plated Hardware

Why Don’t Chanel Use Solid 24K Gold?

Gold is a considerably heavy metal. With a single gold bar weighing in at roughly 12kg — a solid gold chain, clasp and hardware on your handbag would weigh you down a little bit too much… A quick authenticity test is often to test the weight of the bag and any chains — an authentic Chanel handbag should have a solid feel and weight when picked up.


Not only is gold heavy, but it is notably expensive too. Designer brands like Chanel may have considerably high retail prices, but the price blends several components together, including craftsmanship, brand reputation and exclusivity, as well as high-quality materials.

Solid Gold Bars | Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash

A bag with solid 24K gold hardware would narrow Chanel’s client audience to a much smaller pool. Chanel’s 24K Gold Plated Hardware was a much more realistic option for their bags at the time.

Today: A Brighter, Lighter Future

Chanel’s current handbags are now produced with brighter, lighter gold-toned hardware, instead of using gold plating. No less beautiful, but truthfully, as a metal, it is a little less valuable — although the continuously climbing prices of Chanel may have us thinking otherwise…

Whilst many people may favour the vintage gold-tone present on older handbags, Chanel now offers a range of gold-toned hardware to suit a range of tastes. From an almost pearlescent brushed, ‘matte gold’, to the classic ‘shiny gold’ with a dewy, reflective surface.

Metal hardware on a newer Chanel handbag | Photo by Mona Siswanto on Unsplash

Chanel loves to experiment with its hardware as much as it does so with materials and styles. There is now a selection of bags with more unusual metal colourings, including jet-black metal hardware, as well as ruthenium, which emanates the look of delicately aged silver.

What About Chanel Jewellery?

Currently, all Chanel jewellery pieces are crafted with 18K gold. It has a millesimal fineness of 750, which makes it optimal for creating fine jewellery, without prices rocketing to astronomical heights or weighing too heavy.

Silver, gold, black or ruthenium? Browse through our Chanel handbag collection and discover your own exclusive Chanel piece. By shopping with Timeless Vintage Co. you’re supporting a positive fashion movement — buying a pre-loved/vintage handbag saves Earth’s precious resources, and continues the story of each timeless piece.

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