How to Authenticate Vintage Chanel Jewelry

When buying Chanel from a consignment shop or vintage store, there are a few details you can spot to make sure the jewelry piece you are looking at is authentic. After sifting through many estates for my personal collection and talking with shop owners who handle vintage Chanel often it is pretty easy for me to spot a fake immediately, but at first it can be intimidating. First thing I look at is the overall quality and feel, pieces from the 1980s through the 1990s are all gold plated, sometimes featuring faux pearl accents. They have a pretty substantial weight to them, and even if they are authentic I double check to make sure the gold plating has not chipped off anywhere as this significantly decreases the value. 

The second thing I look for is the Chanel stamp on the back, usually inside an oval shape. Jewelry made between 1986 and 1989 were stamped with "CHANEL" and "Made in France" while pieces after this time frame are also stamped with the season and year the collection was from. Seasonal letters like "P" stand for Printemps which means Spring or "A" for Automne which means Autumn or Fall in French. Chanel jewelry in the early 2000s began playing around with colorful plastic and resins, these styles are still stamped with the season and year. Not all jewelry styles feature the iconic double C logo front and center, so be sure to also look out for popular Chanel motifs like hearts, straw hats, clovers, quilted bags, perfume bottles and the camellia flower. Happy shopping!

S H O P   T H E   L O O K

Sweet & Spark Vintage Designer Jewelry

How to Buy Vintage Silk Scarves

When it comes to collecting vintage accessories, silk scarves come in a close second behind jewelry. I remember starting my vintage scarf collection in high school when I was going through a 1960's phase and could not get enough of Emilio Pucci's colorful prints. I quickly fell down the vintage scarf rabbit hole and began hunting for them at vintage stores, and of course... my Mother's closet. Perfect for tying in my hair, around my neck or even on my handbag, I could never have enough! 

For my high school graduation, I opted for vintage scarves as grad-gifts instead of the standard monogrammed luggage tag or bath robe. One of my favorites and still most treasured is a powder blue Hermès scarf my Aunt found at an estate sale (shown in the first image), still intact with its original orange box. Today, I have a whole shelf in my closet dedicated to my silk scarf collection, or rather art collection. Straying from jewelry for just a moment,  I thought it would be fun to share some tips for buying vintage designer scarves that I have learned over the years.

W H E R E   T O   L O O K

When we're talking about buying vintage anything, there is always the big debate between online and in stores. I covered a few of the reasons why I love both in my recent blog about buying vintage Chanel. I guess it mostly depends on where you live, and how many re-sale boutiques are in your area. Regardless, online is always a good place to start price comparing! I like to run a search on eBay and Etsy looking for general categories like "Vintage Silk Scarf" or something more specific like "Vintage 90's Chanel Scarf" first. 

Since it is more difficult to ensure authenticity online when it comes to designer scarves as opposed to handbags, it is best to use a trustworthy online consignment boutique like Vestiaire Collective and The RealReal. Both have a beautiful selection of Chanel, Gucci, Valentino, Dior scarves and more. As for in-person buying, try looking up high end consignment shops in your area, for me Vintage Martini in Dallas always has a selection of Hermès scarves that I enjoy browsing.


Depending on how much you want to spend, quality and condition can play a big factor in pricing vintage scarves. Know the difference between what 100% silk and synthetic rayon feels like. Silk will feel buttery and luxe, while a synthetic blend can feel slippery and more like plastic. If the design is eye-catching, I never let the silk factor stop me from buying a scarf. What does it matter once it is all tied up around my neck in a chic bow? 

However, if you are in the mood to splurge on a designer scarf, make sure you know what to look and feel for. Most high end scarves will have a small tag sewn on the corner with the designer's name and 100% silk labeled. In the off-chance that there is no tag, be prepared to make that call on your own. Also, be sure to check each scarf for grease stains or dirty spots, price should reflect any wear and tear.

D E S I G N E R   S C A R V E S

Be prepared to spend anywhere from $150 to $350 when it comes to a luxury silk scarf. Remember, these are pieces of art! Designers back then and today release scarf collections each season in limited runs, making them quite rare, especially after a few decades have passed by. One of the biggest names in luxury silk scarves, Hermès, is known for their horse and carriage motifs... While Emilio Pucci is recognized for their trademarked geometric prints. If you're looking for a scarf that won't break the bank, my favorite vintage label for a cheap thrill is Vera. Known for their colorful floral and geometric prints, Vera became a popular scarf brand in the 1960's. Look to eBay and Etsy for vintage Vera scarves usually priced between $10 to $30. Happy shopping vintage lovers!

How to Buy Vintage Chanel

Buying designer vintage can be overwhelming, especially when you don't know what to look for. After years of buying vintage collectables for myself, I wanted to spill my best kept consignment secrets. In this new segment I'll be sharing where to find the best deals online and in stores, as well as how to spot an authentic piece. Let's start things off with my favorite designer, past and present; Chanel. Many vintage shoppers are already familiar with online consignment boutiques like Vestiaire Collective and The RealReal. These can be great resources to start off your search, and both sites feature Chanel collections. I've personally never shopped with either website, but I do believe their prices are pretty fair.

E B A Y   I S   Y O U R   F R I E N D

I prefer to use eBay as my main source for designer consignment. I know it can sound scary for those not familiar with the platform, but it is actually where high end vintage retailers find the majority of their Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès inventory. I always look for sellers who ship from Japan, which is a little tip I picked up from shop owners at consignment boutiques like What Goes Around Comes Around and Paris Stations in Manhattan. 

Japan is probably the best kept vintage secret right now, boasting numerous shops filled with handbags, jewelry and clothing... all in pristine condition. Selling online is just now becoming a popular concept in Japanese culture, inlcuding eBay. This is opening up a whole new market for vintage lovers around the world (I'm already planning my dream trip to Tokyo)! Take the classic vintage Chanel 2.55 Quilted Bag for example... It would normally retail in the states for around $4500, but you can find the exact same handbag in better condition and for half the price on eBay from a Japanese seller. The same goes for jewelry...


Now for my favorite part, the jewels! Most of my vintage Chanel jewelry collection comes from the Manhattan vintage boutique; What Goes Around Comes Around. I mentioned WGACA and a few other shops in my New York City Vintage Shopping Guide. When I was a jewelry designer at Marc Jacobs, our Soho office was right around the corner from WGACA and I would always find an excuse to pop in for "research" on my lunch break. They have a long glass case, front and center at the entrance, dripping with golden Chanel brooches, charm bracelets, long pendants and everything else you could imagine. Insider tip: If you're planning on buying more than one item, they are usually willing to negotiate.


Most of the pieces I come across are from the 1980's or the 1990's. Gold and bold was big during these decades, and Chanel embraced this aesthetic whole heartedly. Vintage jewelry and handbag hardware is 24k gold plated, which raises the value on vintage items since the brand discontinued gold plating a few years ago.


In addition to their high plating standards, each piece of jewelry should be stamped with "Made in France" as well as the collection's season and year. While everything should be stamped, not everything has a jumbo CC logo on the front.


Be sure to look out for other classic Chanel motifs like the No. 5 perfume bottle, the Camélia flower, the quilted purse, the clover or the straw hat. And in general I never look twice at something that shows signs of tarnishing. Minor scuffs and scratches are to be expected.


I usually come across reasonably priced vintage Chanel clothing at one of my favorite Manhattan vintage destinations; the Chelsea Flea Market, only open on the weekends. Be sure to arrive early for the best finds. And right across the street is another must see; the Showplace Antique and Design Center, filled with multiple floors of vintage furniture and fashion vendors. You'll find Chanel gems tucked away inside a few of the fashion booths. Since clothing is difficult to judge the fit through photos, I usually prefer to shop those infamous tweed jackets in person.


I always check the label, which should have the collection's season and year indicated. The buttons should have the CC logo incorporated into the design, in some cases the backside of the buttons can be stamped.


When looking at a tweed jacket, I always check to make sure there is a small chain fastened towards the bottom of the inside jacket hem. This small detail is still used throughout Chanel's tweed jacket styles to weigh them down for a clean fit.


Whenever I am traveling to a new city, I always look up local re-sale shops. Most high end luxury consignment shops will always have a small rack dedicated to Chanel tweed jackets.


Most of my vintage Chanel handbag collection comes from various estate sales and consignment shops like Vintage Martini, usually a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I also picked up my pink cosmetic Chanel bag (shown in the first image) at What Goes Around Comes Around for a special birthday splurge a few years ago. But knowing what I do now about eBay, I will probably search there first for future buys! 


Similar to Chanel jewelry and clothing, all handbags should be stamped with the collection's season and year. You can find this on a little sticker inside the bag, usually located by the corner. Remember, vintage Chanel handbag hardware is 24k gold plated, so watch out for signs of tarnishing. 


The most common types of leather used are lambskin and caviar. Lambskin is smooth while caviar has a pebbled texture. Keep in mind that black Chanel handbags will be more affordable. Anything in color was unique to the collection's season which can make a handbag rare and more expensive. 


Another detail to check is the stitching that makes up the signature quilting pattern. The stitching should line up and meet where the flap folds over in front of the bag. Most handbag styles also have a small pocket on the back side, stitching should line up here as well. 

I've shared my shop directory below listing each place I have either purchased or come across vintage Chanel.

Dallas, Texas // Vintage Martini

Dallas, Texas // Luxury Garage Sale

Dallas, Texas // Clothes Circuit

Austin, Texas // Feathers Boutique

Manhattan, New York // What Goes Around Comes Around

Manhattan, New York // Showplace Antique and Design Center

Manhattan, New York // Chelsea Flea Market

Manhattan, New York // Paris Stations

Manhattan, New York // Resurrection

Los Angeles, California // The Paper Bag Princess

Los Angeles, California // The Way We Wore

Happy shopping vintage lovers!