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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

Could it be Chanel?

I have an early 20th century silk, gold and diamond evening bag. The bag is made of brown silk with an 18ct gold clasp decorated with foliage and ribbon bows. There is a monogram set with cut diamonds on a thick belcher link chain. The gold is engraved 1er Jun 1912 stamped with the French poincon makers mark RG.

But the logo looks like a Chanel logo. The bag is dated 1912. Is this a logo she copied? Is it actually a Chanel bag as her business did actually start in 1910?

Can anybody shed light on this?

My research indicates that the logo was first used in 1925, when Chanel placed it on a perfume bottle.

But, the whereabouts of the logo creation are wrapped in mystery. There is a theory that the logo is far older than it appears to be. They say that the logo is actually derived (or is just the symbol) from items belonging to Katherine Medici, who was nicknamed as the Serpent Queen. The prevailing theory is that the logo was first conceived by the designer in 1925, some 15 years after first setting up her business. It is said that Chanel came up with the logo following a visit to the Château de Crémat—a castle in Nice, France—where she often attended parties hosted by her friend and socialite Irene Bretz.

This symbol can be found in the Château in a set of vaulted arches decorated with beautiful stained glass windows. It is the intricate artwork in these windows that are said to have inspired the famous logo. Featuring a series of geometric patterns and intertwined circles. The window has even been cited by the fashion house itself as the most likely source of inspiration for its now iconic interlocking C logo. Images of the windows do show the 2 intertwined Cs.

There also is a theory about Aubazine chapel, as Chanel comes from a cloister orphanage.

There is one more view of the logo meaning. Some say that the twin “C” actually stands for “Capel & Chanel” and that means that the emblem is a symbol of the love Boy and Coco were sharing. Or perhaps those are just two horseshoes to attract luck?

But was Chanel using a logo already in use? A logo she had previously seen? Could my bag be by Chanel?

Any help welcomed. Thank you

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