When did Chanel stop using real gold on their bags?

For decades, Chanel handbags have been a symbol of luxury, featuring premium materials and hardware. The use of real gold hardware was a hallmark of Chanel's commitment to excellence, often setting the brand apart from its luxury competitors. While Chanel still certainly stands as one of the most famous and coveted fashion houses today, the brand transitioned from its use of real gold a number of years ago.

Chanel Classic Double Flap Bag with 24k gold plated hardware

The Golden Era (1950s-1990s):

In the golden era of Chanel, spanning from the 1950s through the 1990s, it was common practice for the brand to use 24k gold-plated hardware on all their handbags. This not only added a touch of opulence but also ensured the longevity of the metal, preventing tarnishing and corrosion.

The first Chanel bag, officially introduced in 1955, featured a revolutionary gold chain that would change women's handbags forever.

Transition to Gold-Toned Hardware:

In the 2000s, Chanel made a significant shift in its approach to hardware. While still retaining the luxurious aesthetic, the brand began transitioning from solid gold to gold-plated hardware. This move allowed Chanel to maintain the signature look while managing production costs.

More specifically, 2008 marked the year when the brand officially stopped plating all its hardware, instead opting for gold-toned hardware that was able to maintain the chic aesthetic of the brand.

Whether intentional or not, this shift also led to a consequential increase in the value of vintage Chanel bags - those produced before 2008 - giving the brand an even more exclusive feel in the long run. Even today, vintage Chanel bags that feature the 24k gold plated hardware are extremely valuable and sought-after items.

Chanel Black Quilted Lambskin Vintage Flap Bag

How to Spot the Difference:

While it's been made clear that the excellent craftsmanship of the French fashion house remains, there is a definite way to identify vintage Chanel hardware. Every bag produced before 2008 features a small stamp on the top left corner of the brand's famous logo, signalling the use of real gold-plated hardware.

Continued Excellence

While Chanel made the decision to move away from using solid gold, their commitment to excellence in craftsmanship remained intact. Chanel handbags continue to be coveted and cherished all over the world; their classic designs and enduring quality have solidified their status as iconic fashion accessories that continuously stand the test of time.

This famous transition from gold-plated to gold-toned hardware may have been motivated by practical considerations, but, just like their bags, Chanel's reputation still stands strong. Investing in a Chanel handbag remains a valid and often profitable investment, and, for fashion lovers, a cherished fashion accessory for life.

Shop our curated collection of vintage Chanel bags including the iconic Classic Flap bags and Chanel Double Flap Bags.

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Hi, I'm Danni, founder of The Hosta.

Each week I answer the most common questions about handbags

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