How to Authenticate Gucci Handbags
While it’s not always easy to spot the differences, you can arm yourself with the knowledge to authenticate a Gucci bag | Image: Roberto Gucci, Getty Images
You’re gearing up for your new look, those well-worn ballet flats clash with your bold new earrings and what can you pair with that black Prada jacket to give you a fresh, stylish look, it has to be perfect! There’s one thing that can do unprecedented damage to your reputation as an edgy fashionista and that’s fake designer accessories, the nasty streets are flooded with counterfeits and the Gucci bag is a favorite of professional counterfeiters.
Genuine Gucci bags are made in Prato, a town just outside of Florence, Italy, where Gucci’s headquarters are located. The company prides itself on being 100% Italian and that’s why an authentic Gucci handbag is assembled using the finest materials and built with the sturdiest construction. The craftsmanship is clearly evident, these handbags are obviously the pinnacle of craftsmanship with a price to match.
But, as with any expensive luxury product, counterfeits can fetch the highest prices and therefore the most profit for the counterfeiter. How can you tell if the item you want is, in fact, a genuine item? How to spot a real Gucci handbag among the multitude of counterfeits?
Lettering and materials
Gucci’s signature iconography has to be the famous interlocking ‘GG’. The design is featured on many of its products, but not all, not only on handbags, but also on its clothing and other items. Fake Gucci handbags attempt to replicate this symbol but are sometimes less successful in creating something that looks truly authentic.
The Gucci Marmont bag is one of the most popular items for counterfeiters, a genuine example costs AU$3,295 and so there are many counterfeits. The handbag pictured features the interlocking “GG” symbol, but it is much too small and the color of the interlocking “GG” and matching chain is not a shiny gold.
There are other telltale signs to look for when identifying a replica. Gucci uses metal YKK zippers and these high quality zippers are an important feature of an authentic Gucci handbag. No part of an authentic Gucci product will be plastic.
If any part of your bag feels too light or cheap, you may have purchased a real Gucci handbag that uses strong, dense metal in its construction.
Serial number label
Gucci handbags have a hot stamped leather tag with a serial number and the presence of this tag is usually the best way to authenticate your Gucci item. The label is inside the bag, usually at the bottom towards the back. It should be made of genuine leather and there are a few things to look out for.
The first thing you should see is a brand symbol at the top, this is a letter R surrounded by a circle and designates the bag as a Gucci branded design. Next, you should see the word “Gucci”, with all the letters evenly spaced and with the correct proportions; the left side of the “U” should be thicker than the right side. Finally, the label should be stamped with a “made in Italy”.
If any of these details appear substandard or the lettering is uneven or unevenly spaced, you definitely have a fake Gucci product, flip the tag over and you will see the bag’s serial number stamped on the other side.
The serial number is one of the best ways to tell if you have a counterfeit product. On modern Gucci handbags, there should be two rows of numbers totaling 10-13 numbers. The first line indicates the style code which should match the code given to you on your receipt, the second code is the vendor number. On smaller Gucci items, these two numbers will not be on top of each other, rather they are separated by a period.
It should be noted that genuine Gucci serial tags have only been made this way since the 1990s, before that serial tags were of a different design and some had round tags with gold, embossed letters or badges. Vintage bags are difficult to authenticate, but real ones, if they have serial numbers, may include dots and dashes but never letters. The “MADE IN ITALY” may be capitalized and there may not be an “R” mark on an authentic vintage Gucci bag.
Although not the most reliable way to authenticate a genuine Gucci product, the controllato card or “verified” card is included in every genuine Gucci handbag to show that the bag has been examined for control. quality. They are easily repeatable and can be interchanged from bag to bag, but coming across a real one can be a good indicator that your bag is genuine, especially when its presence is paired with an authentic serial tag.
The card should include the word “Gucci”, again with evenly spaced letters and the correct font along with the numbers 1-9 followed by 0. An information card is usually also included. Although these cards are included with every new authentic Gucci handbag, their absence is not an indicator of inauthenticity, especially if you are purchasing the bag used. Likewise, they are easily reproduced and reused, so their presence is not definitive proof that the handbag is real. They should be used with other authenticity markers when deciding if you have been sold a fake Gucci product.
Genuine Gucci handbags are never wrapped in plastic wrap of any kind. One of the clearest and most immediate signs that you have purchased a genuine bag is the presence of a dust bag. These bags are cream, black, tan or dark brown in color and are included with the purchase of an authentic bag to use when storing the handbag.
These bags should feel soft to the touch and while they’re usually a reliable indicator of authenticity, the absence of a dust bag doesn’t always mean you’ve purchased a fake Gucci bag. This is particularly the case on resale sites like eBay and if you order a bag on these sites and there is no dust bag, do not despair! Use other indicators to verify its authenticity.
Fabric and leather
Most Gucci handbags are made of leather or canvas and the quality of these materials is a good indicator of the authenticity of the bag. Real leather is imperfect, as it is natural it will not be absolutely uniform in thickness but should be strong yet soft and supple. The main signs that the leather may be fake include a rubbery plastic feel as well as its smell, real leather has a distinct musty smell while synthetic leather may smell of chemicals or plastic.
Other materials used in Gucci handbags include bamboo and wood, these are also an indicator of quality and therefore authenticity. There should be no weak links in the chain and all parts of the bags should be heavy and solidly made. Canvas is relatively easy to produce, so fake examples may indeed use real canvas, but it won’t be as high quality as a genuine handbag. If you’ve owned a purse for more than six months, the canvas should soften a bit, but not so thin that it’s prone to tearing.
Genuine Gucci bags are made by the most skilled craftsmen and essential aspects of their construction, such as stitching, are executed consistently. Basically, if any part of the seam of the bag (where the separate parts of the bag are joined) comes undone or sewn incorrectly, there is a high chance that the bag is fake.
As with any counterfeit product, the best way to tell if a bag is real is to compare it to an example of the same bag that you know is real. The stitching isn’t expensive, but it’s very difficult to replicate perfectly, basically, if your handbag stitching isn’t exactly the same as genuine examples you find on the internet or in real life, there is a very good chance that your bag is a fake.
Gucci handbags are made to last. The number one rule for deciding if your bag is a fake is to check for excessive wear after a period of use. Other authentication methods such as those described above can be used, but the strongest indicator of authenticity is quality.
Obviously, if you find a Gucci handbag online for a significantly lower price than advertised on the official Gucci website, it’s probably too good to be true and you should put away your credit card.
The internet is not the best way to buy quality goods, the experience of physically buying a real Gucci bag in store cannot be replicated and although some are happy to pay a premium for the experience of ‘full high fashion purchase, there will always be fakes out there, especially online.