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CHANEL Costume Jewelry Marks

Dating Chanel Vintage Costume Jewelry by Deciphering Marks

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Chanel has used many different marks since the 1950s including both round and oval cartouche signature plates and sometimes stamping CHANEL directly into the piece.

The earliest pieces of Chanel jewelry were unmarked. Most pieces from the 1930s, '40s and early '50s rarely come up for sale on the secondary market.

Below is a sampling of some of the marks used by the House of Chanel photographed on genuine Chanel pieces, and dates for when those marks were used. Reproductions and fakes of Chanel jewelry abound, so take care when identifying and dating this type of jewelry.

1. Unsigned Chanel - 1930s through the '60s

Back View of an Early Unsigned Chanel Piece
- Photo by Jay B. Siegel

The earliest pieces of Chanel costume jewelry were unsigned, but they do have some distinguishing characteristics. Examining the back construction of this piece shows how some Chanel rhinestones were set and how some of the backs on their pieces were finished. Not the most elegant construction on this small piece measuring just 1 3/8" wide, but quality nonetheless. This piece likely dates to the 1950s or '60s and may have been sold on a piece of Chanel clothing.

Limited quantities of Chanel jewelry were marked during the late 1950s and '60s. These are usually marked with a round plate bearing the Chanel name with three stars or sometimes stamped directly on the piece. By and large though, Chanel costume jewelry made during this period was not marked and must be identified by the design, components (such as the way the Gripoix glass is incorporated) and the construction.

Note: Click on the thumbnail photo to see the construction of this piece in greater detail.

2. Chanel Script Mark - 1941

A line of figural jewelry was produced with a Chanel script mark in 1941. Although some well-known print-based guides to costume jewelry attribute pieces marked Chanel in script to the House of Chanel, costume jewelry historians have determined that these items were actually made by Chanel Novelty Co., which was a division of Reinad (an American costume jewelry firm located in New York). Although it was not operating at the time due World War II, the House of Chanel house did protest the use of the Chanel name and production of the novelty line using the Chanel script mark ceased.

3. Chanel Round Mark - 1970s

Chanel Round 1970s Signature Cartouche
- Photo by Jay B. Siegel

This is one of several similar marks used by the House of Chanel in the 1970s moving into the early 1980s. It shows the copyright and registered symbols above CHANEL in block letters on a round cartouche. Below that is the familiar interlocking CC logo and "Made in France." Marks from this era can be found both with and without the circular outline shown here.

4. Chanel Round Mark - 1980s

Chanel Round Signature Cartouche from the Early 1980s
- Photo by Jay B. Siegel
Another variation of the Chanel round signature cartouche, where "Made in France" has been replaced with the copyright symbol and date. This one shows a date of 1983 (coincidentally the year Karl Lagerfeld began to revive the House of Chanel with his fashion genius) leaving no doubt about the vintage of the piece. Most pieces from the early 1980s were marked in this way.

5. Chanel Oval Mark - Late 1980s

Chanel 1980s Oval Mark with Numbers
- Photo by Jay B. Siegel
This is one of the first oval marks used by the House of Chanel on costume jewelry pieces. The numbers signify the collection designed by Victoire de Castellane (head designer for Chanel) from 1986 to 1989. In this instance the numbers reference collection number 26.

6. Chanel Oval Mark - 1980s

Chanel 1980s Oval Hang Tag Mark
- Photo by Jay B. Siegel

Another type of oval Chanel signature cartouche, which can be found both soldered on and used as a hang tag (as shown here) on a variety of pieces. The season number is not included on these tags dating to the 1980s.

Note: Hang tags can easily be added to contemporary Chanel reproductions and fakes as they have been done with Miriam Haskell costume jewelry so take care when identifying pieces based solely on the mark present. Look at the overall quality and construction in comparison to genuine Chanel pieces when determining authenticity.

7. Chanel Oval Mark - 1990s and Later

Chanel 1990s and Later Oval Mark
- Photo by Jay B. Siegel

This mark was first used by Chanel in 1993 denoting the year the piece was made along with the season. The letter "P" signifies a piece from the spring (printemps translates to spring in French) collection, while "A" denotes the fall (automne translates to fall in French) collection for the corresponding year. Some pieces are marked with "C" for the cruise collection, others have a "V" but those are less common than the larger spring and fall collections. Jewelry sold in Chanel boutiques in the 2000s has a very similar mark, taking the guesswork out of dating these pieces.

 

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