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1970s Fashion

A Celebration of 1970s Jewellery

The Ultimate Guide to Dating Chanel Jewellery

Chanel's journey in the world of jewellery began in the 1920s with collaborations with Maison Gripoix. Early pieces were often unsigned, designed to complement Chanel's ensembles for her fashion shows. The early marks, if any, were simple, like 'Made in France' or 'France'.

During World War II, Chanel closed her Rue Cambon shop, only reopening it in 1954. From this period, pieces began to be signed simply as CHANEL, with the first known signature pieces dated between 1954 and 1971. These signatures were either stamped directly onto the pieces or attached via hangtags, especially on sautoirs. Haute Couture pieces bore three stars beneath the 'CHANEL' mark, indicating their superior craftsmanship.

Early Chanel Jewellery (1920s-1930s)
In the early years, Chanel's jewellery was primarily produced to complement her fashion lines. These pieces, often created in collaboration with Maison Gripoix, featured intricate designs using poured glass and semi-precious stones. These early pieces were usually not signed but sometimes bore the marks 'Made in France' or 'France'.

Chanel in the 1940s

During the 1940s, due to the closure of her fashion house during World War II, authentic Chanel pieces from this decade are rare. However, it is important to note that pieces marked with Chanel in script are often misattributed to this period. These were actually made by the Chanel Novelty Company, a division of Reinad in New York. Despite some guides attributing these to Chanel, these pieces are of inferior quality and not made by the French house. Chanel successfully sued the company, and production of these pieces ceased.

Chanel Jewellery (1954-1971)

After reopening her shop in 1954, Chanel jewellery began to feature the simple 'CHANEL' stamp. This period, from 1954 to Chanel's death in 1971, saw the introduction of marked pieces, either stamped directly onto the jewellery or on a metal tag. Pieces from this era also included Haute Couture items marked with three stars below the 'CHANEL' stamp.

After Chanel's death in 1971 and under Alain Wertheimer's leadership, the marking system evolved. The CHANEL stamp was enclosed in a circle with copyright and registered trademark stamps in the upper corners, and "Made in France" stamped in the lower half. The interlocked "CC" logo also made its debut during this period, placed between "Chanel" and "Made in France". By 1980, this system saw minor changes, with "Made in France" being replaced by the copyright symbol and the date of production.

Karl Lagerfeld, appointed as head designer in 1983, along with Victoire de Castellane, introduced a new era for Chanel jewellery. A new plate design focused on the season of release, featuring oval plates with CHANEL at the top, copyright and registered trademark symbols to the sides, the interlocked CC logo in the centre, and season numbers on either side. "Made in France" returned to the bottom of these plates. This style was used from Chanel’s 23rd to 29th seasons. For a brief period in 1990/91, the earlier 1971-1980 marking style was reused, dropping the date identification.

1993 Onwards
From 1993, the plate design was modified to include the last two digits of the year and a letter indicating the season ('A' for Autumn, 'P' for Spring). Occasionally, 'C' for Cruise collection or 'V' for Summer appears. This format largely continues today with minor variations. After 1998, with Victoire de Castellane's departure, new elements like the Cruise collection were introduced, denoted by a 'C'.

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