Tips on Authenticating a Gucci Bag

Nothing says luxury quite like Gucci, that's what makes this designer so coveted, and so copied.

Here are some tips to help you in your own authentication process so as not to spend your hard earned money on an imposter.

Gucci Stitching

All luxury brands invest an abundance of time and effort to create their items, even going so far as to have an exact stitch count per inch for some of their items. With Gucci, the stitching is sometimes a give-away part of a counterfeit item. You want to look for consistency, evenness, neatness and good quality thread.

Glaring discrepancies in the quality of stitching on Gucci items usually means it is a replica, since a missed stitch, fraying thread or machine straight stitching is a give-away for a counterfeit. Gucci or any other high end luxury brand would not release a bag to market with this type of workmanship, since they all go through incredibly thorough quality assurance checkpoints or "controllato".

The Gucci Heat Stamp

All authentic Gucci handbags either have a leather tag located along the interior stitching of the bag, a leather rectangular tag on the front of the bag stitched into the material, or a printed serial number on the inside of the bag in the case of a fabric lined bag, usually satin or taffeta.

On this stamp, you will find Gucci ®, and “made in Italy.” This stamp is the best place to start when authenticating. Bags from Gucci Outlets are stamped specifically with a circle enclosing a G, or a star, or in some cases there is a hole punched thru the leather tag.

Check this stamp carefully for the correct font (see below), spacing, spelling and positioning (generally centered). Also, keep in mind clarity of the stamp itself; real Gucci heat stamps are clear and even, seldom hard to read, although there are exceptions depending on the type of leather used. The letters should be small and stamped closely together, and the “U” of Gucci should be bolder on the left side than the right.

Gucci stamp in leather

The Heat Stamped Serial Number

In the case of the Gucci leather tags located along the interior stitching of the bag, on the back there is a model number then a style number stamped in two rows that include a total of between 10 to 13 numbers unless lined in satin or taffeta in some cases, where the serial number is printed directly onto the fabric, or pre 1990's bags which may only have one row of numbers.

top number represents the style number and the one below is the supplier code, which may be the same for multiple bag types. There will never be letters in Gucci serial numbers. If you ran a Google search on that top serial number and a search delivered a different bag style or even a wallet, that would be a red flag. 

Gucci heat stamp serial

Gucci Hardware

Gucci hardware is as important to them as their quality workmanship. This hardware will be high-quality with YKK zippers, well made locks, and other metal hardware perfectly placed and stamped cleanly with Gucci in the right font in  most cases. They should never be rusty or chipped, even in vintage bags the hardware should have only faded. The hardware is often one of those details that counterfeiters don’t bother with, so this provides the opportunity to check the finer details of your own bag and confirm its authenticity. 

The Controllato Cards: controllato meaning "checked"

As they do come with each authentic new Gucci purchase as evidence the bag was inspected after completion, they are easily circulated around the internet. Having one or not having one associated with what you are purchasing unless new, in most cases does not authenticate your Gucci item. Counterfeiters who can copy a leather bag can also duplicate a simple paper tag.

The Gucci Dust Bag

If a dust bag is offered, there are many types of authentic Gucci ones, some are dark brown satin looking polyester with the double GG logo, some brown with Gucci printed in gold on the front, the newest ones are white with a varied Gucci logo on the front, and the real vintage ones will be more detilaled and may have a hysteria knight . There will also be a Made in Italy tag on the interior of the dust bag.

Gucci GG patternGucci dust bag


In the End

Now, all of this said, these are all good guidelines, but when it comes to authenticating any designer bag, there can be discrepancies. These discrepancies may be rare, but even high end luxury brand handbags are subject to errors because many are hand made, so an off-center stitch or a error on a heat stamp is not necessarily a shoe-in for a replica. This is why long time expertise in authentication is a must when looking to purchasing a luxury brand from a secondary marketplace.