Chanel Leather Types: Lambskin vs Caviar

Charlie Fenwick August 18, 2021


The popularity of Classic Chanel’s is nothing new. With the annual price of a Classic increasing by 16% YOY, there’s never been a better time to invest. 

Originally, Classic Chanel’s were made from a jersey fabric. However, not long after the conception of the 2.55 flap bag in 1955, they introduced the quilted Lambskin design, that has since become synonymous with prestige and luxury.

Handbag Clinic regularly receive questions regarding Chanel leather types for Classics, so we have crafted the ultimate guide for Lambskin & Caviar leather.

Chanel Lambskin vs Chanel Caviar

Chanel Lambskin vs Chanel Caviar


Lambskin is utterly luxurious to touch. It’s considered to be the highest quality leather, that can be expertly cut by hand and stitched by machine to be moulded to absolute perfection. It’s no surprise that Chanel chose Lambskin as their core Classic leather.

Due to its soft nature, the first signs of wear typically show up on the corners and the base, but these are elements that can be conservatively restored with skill and expert knowledge.

 A unique element of Lambskin leather is that it retains its shine without needing additional conditioner treatments, however due to Lambskin being super absorbent, excess shine may indicated your bag is contaminated with oils; which is a problem that will need to be addressed by professionals. 

Chanel typically craft their seasonal designs in Lambskin as they hold colour better than Caviar, which is ideal for summer styling and gift giving! 

When it comes to deciding which leather finish you want for your Classic Chanel, it’s important to consider re-sale value as circular fashion is paving the way for consumer habits. 

With Lambskin leather emphasising the luxurious nature of Classic Chanel’s, due to it being the highest quality leather, they provide the highest re-sale value when compared with Caviar designs. 

Lambskin Leather Classic Chanel's Available to Purchase at Handbag Clinic

Lambskin Leather Classic Chanel's Available to Purchase at Handbag Clinic


Since its launch in the 90’s, Caviar has become the most popular leather for people purchasing a Classic Chanel, meaning it can often be sold out in-stores.

Furthermore, Caviar offers versatility as it comes in a variety of finishes: matte, soft and shiny. Its pebbled finish adds a further dimension to this classic design, as the texture provides resistance to wear and tear.

The texture of Caviar also means that it’s more likely to retain its prestige if it encounters water, which is a common problem for us Brits when we often get caught in the rain!

The pebbled texture of Caviar Leather enhances the puffy nature of the Chanel Quilting. As opposed to buttery soft Lambskin, Caviar is tougher in nature and therefore retains its shape much better. 

Interestingly, the Caviar Classic transitioned in 2010 to host a burgundy lining, instead of a black one that it had had for more than 15 years. Not only did this strengthen the community of Chanel Classic’s, as it now mirrored the lambskin design, but it also coincided with the switch from single to double flaps on the Jumbo size.

Chanel Caviar Leather Examples

Chanel Caviar Leather Examples


Lambskin and Caviar aren’t the only types of leather that Chanel offer. They also design handbags in calfskin, goatskin and exotics (to name a few). However, a few years ago, Chanel made the decision to concentrate predominantly on Lambskin and Caviar, which is why their seasonal designs will host one of these leathers.

When it comes to exotics, Chanel have crafted items in surprising skins such as stingray, lizard, and alligator. However, since 2018 Chanel have stopped the production of exotic handbags, as they recognise there’s no ethical way to source skins. A move supported by PETA!

Traditionally, Chanel also used Crinkle Calfskin leather as it is lightweight to hold, but thin and smooth to touch. Crinkle Calfskin is most used for 2.55 reissues and Chanel Boys as the light nature of this leather evens out the heavier hardware of these particular designs.

Totally unexpectedly, Chanel introduced Velvet leather into their collections from 2014. This texture change allows the colours to be sharper and more vivid. Whilst Velvet leather may appear like a very soft and luxurious leather, it is in fact a fabric which makes its upkeep more difficult.

Finally, we couldn’t discuss all things leather without including the patent style! Whilst the shiny surface is ideal for wiping away stains, it is susceptible to dye transfer and the restoration possibilities are limited. 

Variations of Exotic Leather Chanel's in the order mentioned above.

Variations of Exotic Leather Chanel's in the order mentioned above.

Now you’ve discovered everything there is to know about Chanel Leather Types: Lambskin vs Caviar, which would be your leather of choice? 

Shop your next Chanel today!


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