Free Luxury Handbag Authentication: Top 6 Ways to Spot Counterfeits Without Breaking the Bank

Free Luxury Handbag Authentication_Top 6 Ways to Spot Counterfeits Without Breaking the Bank

Are you looking to make a big designer purchase or trying to determine if a designer handbag in your collection is the real deal? There are a myriad of ways to tell if your bag is authentic or not without dipping into your pocket money. Keep reading for six ways to identify fakes without paying a dime.

Why Authenticate Your Luxury Purchase?

Why is it necessary to authenticate your luxury purchase? There are a ton of reasons! If you sourced your bag from anywhere other than an approved retailer or the luxury brand itself, it’s possible that you could have a fake on your hands. Counterfeiting luxury items is a highly profitable profession and a surprisingly large number of items in circulation today are knock-offs.

Because of this, it’s important to verify authenticity of things like high-end handbags if you intend to insure it (which you should always consider doing if you have an item of value!), if you may wish to resell it in the future, if you want to make sure you bought it at a fair price, or if you simply want peace of mind. Regardless of your reasoning, authenticating a bag often costs time and money that you may be hesitant to spend. Check out the following six methods to authenticate your purchase without even opening your wallet!

6 Ways to Spot Fakes Without Paying a Dime

  1. Pay close attention to the branding.
  2. If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Double check the stitching, the seams, and any fasteners, zippers, or clasps.
  4. Know your materials.
  5. Read up on authenticating features.
  6. Consult an authentication community.

Pay close attention to the branding.

The devil’s in the details, and the answer to your authentication query might just lie there as well. High-end luxury designers follow very strict branding guidelines that are established by the label and differ between brands. Improperly designed or placed logos and other identifying features are a dead giveaway that something may not be right with your purchase.

A simple way to check this is to hop on the brand’s website and compare your bag against the authentic ones: are the letters and logos facing the correct direction? Are the angles correct? Does there seem to be a pattern of logo placement on the bag itself that does or does not match the same pattern as the ones on the website? Be thorough in your inspection and if anything seems even slightly off, you may want to take things a step further and consult other methods of authentication.

Pros of this method

This method is a great preliminary technique to help you weed out any obvious fakes in your collection before you spend more time and resources into authenticating your purchases. It will save you the headache of taking it to an authenticator if you can spot inaccurate details right off the bat!

Cons of this method

Unfortunately, it’s not foolproof: the luxury counterfeit industry is getting better and better each day at producing bags that are almost completely identical to their true designer counterparts. This method is only applicable to obvious fakes, and a portion of the wide array of imitation bags available may actually follow branding guidelines, so this isn’t a sure-fire way of telling which bags are real and which are not.

If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

High-end thrift stores, second hand luxury bag dealers, internet auctions, and estate sales are all fantastic places to score designer bags at a discounted price. However, you should be wary of prices that seem too good to be true–they probably are. Be especially hesitant if a seller is offering a steal, as it likely indicates the seller knows it’s a counterfeit and they’re trying to move inventory quickly by offering an unthinkable price so you won’t examine the item too much before making the purchase. 

Before committing to anything, do research on market pricing for similar bags from the same brand that are around the same age and condition. This should give you a good idea of what you should expect to spend (or a jumping off point for negotiations!). Of course, there will be some deviation, especially in things like estate sales, but if the price differs too drastically from the market price, you may be looking at a fake.

Pros of this method

Knowing the right price can keep you from dropping a pretty penny on an imitation in the first place! Even at a deeply discounted price, money spent on a reproduction when you were expecting an original can be a major source of frustration.

Cons of this method

As mentioned earlier, sometimes (rarely–but it still does happen!) you really can find the deal of a lifetime, and if you’re using this method you may miss out on scoring a high-end bag for a low-end price.

Double check the stitching, the seams, and any fasteners, zippers, or clasps.

One of the hallmarks of a luxury bag is quality craftsmanship – making the hardware, seams, and stitching important elements to check when attempting to authenticate a bag yourself. Check the seams on the exterior as well as the interior part of the bag – poor stitching anywhere on the bag or different color threads are usually indicative of a counterfeit item.

Of course, if you’re buying used, you can expect some wear, like a stitch popped here or there from normal use over time, but you should be able to tell if the stitching was correct when the bag was brand new.

Plastic or cheap metal zippers and clasps are also a telltale sign of a fake designer bag. Authentic bags will have hardware that feels high-quality and weightier compared to your average low-end bag.

Pros of this method

Checking seams and hardware can be really helpful in making a quick decision. Zooming in to photos or hand-inspecting an item in person can make a big difference when you’re considering a big purchase!

Cons of this method

Again, counterfeits are getting more and more technically accurate in this modern age, and many of the more convincing dupes use the same (or extremely similar) hardware as the real designers. This method alone may not yield a fully accurate authentication.


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Know your materials.

If you’re searching for a bag with a specific material, learn about the physical qualities of the material beforehand so you’ll easily be able to tell the difference between the real deal and a fake-out. For example, genuine leather is hard to fake, and knowing what real leather looks or feels like as well as how it wears can help you spot a phony very easily. 

Other commonly duped materials like silk can be slightly more difficult to distinguish from synthetic versions, but you should still learn the identifying features to help you make a decision in a pinch. Metals are important to learn as well! Different types of metals have different sheens and may or may not tarnish depending on how they’ve been treated. You’ll have to consult with the brand’s guidelines to determine what kinds of materials they do and do not use and any special treatments they apply to keep things from wearing excessively.

Pros of this method

Knowing the difference between genuine and synthetic material will help you avoid making rookie mistakes, as the body and key features of the handbag are often the easiest to examine, even from afar or online. Being able to tell if a bag is obviously made of leather vs. pleather, or silk vs. polyester is a quick and fairly accurate way to eliminate obviously fake items from your collection or your shopping cart.

Cons of this method

Not all fakes use synthetic material! Some counterfeit designer bags may be constructed with genuine leather, silk, or other fine textiles. It’s important to consider all the different types of identifying features like branding, hardware, and construction as well as material when attempting to identify a copycat handbag using your eyes alone — and even them, you may need to consult other sources.

Read up on authenticating features.

Knowing how to read and validate authenticating features can spare you a ton of time and money when it comes to authenticating a luxury bag! High-end designer items usually come with standard-issue documents like cards and certificates that validate their origin and legitimacy. Many bags also contain internal ID stamps with a unique ID number that should match the certificate or card it came with. Of course, just like other identifying features, these things can be faked, but they can also help you identify real bags if you know what you’re looking for. Using an authentication guide can be super helpful if you’re not sure how to tell real from fake!

Pros of this method

A certificate or serial number is one of the best ways to tell if you’ve got an authentic bag on your hands! The brand itself (and some authorised retailers or brokers) will be able to use the documents or serial to determine if your bag is genuine or not.

Cons of this method

These documents can be (and often are) forged in the case of counterfeit goods, so without expert knowledge and the ability to track the number, these documents don’t always prove that a bag is authentic.

Consult a free authentication community.

Call on other enthusiasts and pool resources to help each other identify the real deals! There are authentication spaces online that are dedicated to connecting people that can assist you in identifying whether or not your bag came from a genuine source. Check out this authentication community from LegitGrails — it’s free to access and you can start tapping into community resources right away!

Pros of this method

Call on knowledge from others that may have more experience or other resources that can help you identify features of a legit designer handbag. A fresh set of eyes (or several) may help you catch important details that you might have overlooked the first time around.

Cons of this method

Other community members may experience some of the same roadblocks that you do and not provide you peace of mind in case the answers differ.

If you’re still not sure about the authenticity status of your item after trialing these methods, leave it to the professionals – LegitGrails offers a professional authentication service for a small fee.


Experts will verify the authenticity of your bag or other luxury item and provide you with an authenticity certificate that will help you prove the genuine nature of your goods in case you want to list an item for sale or settle a dispute over the origin! It’s easy, convenient, and reliable!



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