CHANEL 101: GUIDE TO HARDWAREPosted on
Ah, the sheer joy of shopping for a Chanel handbag. With so many options to choose from, from the bag's material to the colour of the bag and the hardware options available, the choices are endless.
To help you search for the perfect Chanel bag, we've classified and listed the different types of hardware offered by the luxury house. From the iconic CC clasp to the chain strap and the different hardware colours, read on to discover your handbag hardware options.
L - R: Chanel Classic Flap, Chanel Boy Bag, Chanel 2.55
The signature CC clasp on the front of any Chanel Classic Flap or Boy Bag is indubitably one of the most recognizable features of any Chanel bag. First introduced by Karl Lagerfeld in the '80s, the iconic logo accent gives each bag the "classic" Chanel aesthetic.
The CC twist lock is only found on the Classic Flap. Before it was introduced, the Chanel 2.55 featured a twist-lock clasp known as the Mademoiselle Lock. This twist-lock clasp can now be found on the 2.55 Reissue. For Boy Bags, the CC logo is placed on a rectangular squeeze-lock metal plaque featuring a lego brick-like design.
L - R: Chanel Classic Flap Strap, Chanel Boy Bag Strap, Chanel 2.55 Reissue strap
Chanel's chain straps vary with the handbag styles:
The Classic Flap has a chain strap interlaced with leather.
The 2.55 Reissue sports a pure chain strap.
The Boy Bag features a chunkier chain.
The most common types of hardware found on Chanel's bags are shiny gold hardware, shiny silver hardware and Ruthenium. These are often referred to as GHW, SHW and RHW, respectively. MHW refers to bags with mixed hardware, meaning a combination of GHW, SHW, and MHW.
With some seasonal bags, you may also get muted, antique, brushed, pale, or matte gold hardware. Variations include matte silver hardware, Black hardware, Iridescent hardware, Plexiglass or Enamel hardware, and Embellished hardware. Keep reading to look at the differences between these types of hardware.
Chanel 19 Flap with Mixed Metal Hardware
The hardware on the Chanel 19 features a mix of gold-tone, silver-tone, and ruthenium-finish metals. The long shoulder strap blends and transitions the different metals with leather uniquely and elegantly.
Vintage Chanel 24k gold hardware
Vintage Chanel Flap with 24k gold plating and stamp on hardware
Any Chanel fan knows the iconic Vintage era is special in Chanel's bag history. Vintage Chanel bags have a certain air to them that just registers differently; they emulate old-world glamour and sophistication. Widely revered for the expert craftsmanship of the bags and use of real gold-plated hardware, vintage Chanel bags (pre-2008) are made with an alloy containing 24-karat gold coated on the metal.
However, Chanel discontinued making bags with real 24k gold hardware since its Cruise 08/09 collection. As a result, shiny gold hardware on handbags from late 2008 to the present is typically gold-toned.
Whether the Chanel bag features real gold or not in its hardware, all Chanel Classic Flaps retain their value equally well. Though vintage Chanel bags in excellent condition are, of course, considered a rarity, and hence, are highly sought after today.
One key difference you will quickly see between vintage and post-2008 Chanel bag productions is the hardware on the vintage models has a deeper golden look due to the 24k gold plating.
Vintage Chanel bags with real coated gold hardware will also include a hallmark stamp on the top left, top right, or bottom right of the CC logo turn-lock to indicate that the hardware used is 24k gold coated
Caring for your Chanel Hardware
Over time, your Chanel hardware may tarnish due to environmental factors such as exposure to sea air and the skin's acidity. To minimize this, store your bag in a clean and dry area and invest in a professional jewellery polishing cloth.
With so many hardware colours and options, it can be difficult to decide which Chanel bag to commit to. Whether you are purchasing a Chanel bag for the first time or landing your hands on another purse of your dreams, we hope our guide has helped you make your decision. After reading our guide, what Chanel hardware is your favourite?