Ebay is a great way to get a bargain on designer items but there's nothing worse than paying a lot of money and only then reading an authentication guide.. and realising your item is not authentic.. and a genuine fake!
I hope you find this guide about Jimmy Choo handbags before you purchase your item, and not after.... It is specifically geared up to describe how to recognise authentic Mahalas and Maddies but the principles are the same for all styles, and may be applicable to Ramonas and Rikis.
1. Just because a listing states an item is authentic does not guarantee it, and neither does a high starting price. However, a very low starting price would be worrying. Previous good feedback alone does not signify an authentic Jimmy Choo seller - other people may have been conned by fake items. Read on...
2. Look at the inside tag and the lettering.
Authentic: The inside tag is always lilac. Tags must be metal not plastic. The word JIMMY CHOO is made of clean cut letters. The 'M' from Made in Italy is always directly under the first 'M' in JIMMY CHOO.
Fake: The lettering is not clean or sharply cut, instead being thick and cheap looking, especially obvious with the letter 'O'. Also the horizontal bar of the letter 'H' should be approximately 75% of the way up the letter 'H' rather than in the middle.
The gold JIMMY CHOO engraving on fake items is approximately 1/2 inch lower than on authentic bags.
3. The inside lining must be genuine moleskin.
Authentic: Moleskin, durable woven cotton material, easy to identify.
Fake: Anything that looks like other material e.g. suede, canvas, satin etc
4. If the bag has a metal closure, pay careful attention to the lettering 'JIMMY CHOO'
Authentic: The lettering JIMMY CHOO is always centered between the screw heads. The font is finished and centered. The locking mechanism must feel sturdy and heavy.
Fake: Has a hollow sound when it closes, feels light and cheaply made. The mechanism should not easily move upwards toward the top of the bag.
5. Look at the quality of the leather. Make sure you feel the bag and smell it. A giveaway on fakes is the smell.
Authentic: Your bag should feel, smell and look like a soft luxury item.
Fake: Smell could vary from plastic and chemicals and feel may be leathery but not quite. It may be tougher and harder than your soft authentic leather.
6. If the bag has screws, check for the shape of the screws.
Authentic: The screws e.g. on the strap closure, have a flat head.
Fake: The screws on the strap closure have a Phillips head. The length of the closure strap on the fake bags is about 1 inch longer.
7. Look at the zipper, the alignment of the teeth and the zipper's leather surround.
Authentic: The teeth are more intricate and not fake or cheap looking. There looks like there is a row of little diamonds in the center of the zipper when the teeth are together. The leather surround should not be patent unlike the fake bags.
Fake: The teeth look cheap and tacky, and appear to be straight up and down. On the inside of the bag, the stitching is squared around the corners of the leather surrounding the zipper, compared to more rounded on the real items.
8. Look at the inside lilac ribbon.
Authentic: Should be a gros grain ribbon with little scallops on the edge beneath the stitching.
Fake: Look cheap without scallops, also with tatty stitching.
9. Check the dust bag and other items that may come with it.
Authentic: Authentic dust bags are purple and state Made in Italy. Jimmy Choo bags are leather items, and they would not try to convince you of such a thing by hanging the 'Genuine Leather' tag around the handle.
Fake: Dust bags are white, tan or brown and may not state the region the bag was made in or the wrong one e.g. Made in China. If the handles or any piece of hardware is wrapped in plastic, suspect a fake.
10. Look at the designer nameplate on the front of the bag.
Authentic: It will be located very slightly closer to the lower zip on the front of the Maddie or Mahala and not right in the middle of the two zips or very much closer to the lower zip. The colour of the plate should match the colour of the bag, or in the case of metallic shades, is the closest shade to the leather colour.
Fake: The colour is completely different e.g. black Jimmy Choo plate on a blue or red bag and the nameplate is placed right in the centre of the two zips on the Mahala or Maddie.
11. Is there an authenticity card?
Fake: Will be dangling off the bag proudly displayed. After all, fake sellers need to do everything they can to persuade you their bag is real!
12. Compare the bag you are about to bid on with one you have seen instore and look it up on a reputable website like Net-A-Porter, Bergdorf etc. and compare the intricacies with the photos the seller has provided.
13. Check that the style and colour of the Jimmy Choo bag on eBay was definitely produced by Jimmy Choo e.g. the electric blue patent Mahala never existed! Only the fake producers made these..
14. Double check that the item you are interested in is authentic by posting a link to it on The Purse Forum website. Many of us designer lovers authenticate on there and you will get multiple opinions as to its authenticity.. and believe me, everybody there will spot a fake a mile off due to experience.
15. As with any purchase, I recommend you choose a reputable eBay seller and ensure that the items for sale do not seem to be from a wholesale purchase i.e. that multiples of the same identical item are not being sold, the seller has excellent or outstanding feedback, the item comes with a dust bag, receipt or a written proof of authenticity warranty, the seller provides an acceptable refund policy, you see as many pictures as you like of the item itself (not only a stock photo from an authentic website), if it is too good to be true, you're most likely right, listen to your gut feeling, and if in the worst situation, you receive a fake item, report it and get a refund.