Chanel Caviar vs. Lambskin: Which Leather is Best?

Chanel Caviar vs. Lambskin 101: Which Leather is Better?

As a blogger that focuses primarily on luxury fashion, I often get questions surrounding luxury brands in my inbox. And while a fair share of those are catered towards Hermes and their Birkin and Kelly bags, there is one particular question that I keep getting over and over again, and that’s related to Chanel. In particular, this question reads, which Chanel leather should I go for, caviar, or lambskin?

If you are into Chanel bags, you should know that their Classic Flap Bag comes in a wide range of materials, incl. tweed and even jersey, yet the lambskin and caviar remain the two most popular options. However, it seems like a lot of people have trouble choosing between the two. Hence why I’ve decided to put together this ultimate guide to the Chanel Caviar vs. Lambskin leather, which will hopefully help you make the choice, while answering all of your burning Chanel Caviar vs. Lambskin questions along the way.

Chanel Caviar Leather Characteristics

Starting our discussion with the leather that is pretty much synonymous with the House of Chanel – caviar. Made from pebbled calfskin (hence its name), the Chanel Caviar leather is characterized by visible grains and a stiffer feel, which makes it a top choice among those looking for a durable everyday handbag.

Chanel Medium Classic Flap Black Caviar
Chanel Medium Classic Flap in Black Caviar Leather. Media Credit: Fashionphile
And it’s true, Chanel Caviar leather is probably the most durable of all Chanel leathers out there. That’s mainly because its pebbled finish makes it highly resistant to scratches and tears. Quite frankly, this is also why so many people prefer Chanel handbags in caviar specifically – those just don’t show the wear as much as Chanel bags in other leathers, which is certainly an advantage, and especially if you are purchasing the handbag with an intention to resell it later on.

However, it isn’t like caviar leather doesn’t have any disadvantages. In fact, there are quite a few of those that we need to address. First is that lighter colors of the Chanel Caviar leather can be prone to color transfer (I can attest to this having owned the Chanel Caviar Mini in beige for many years now). In addition, the Chanel Caviar leather in general doesn’t feel as luxurious as, for example, the lambskin. This is largely due to its stiffer nature.

The Many Types of the Chanel Caviar Leather

Ever wondered why on some Chanel bags the caviar leather looks different than on others? Well, that’s because Chanel actually makes many different types of caviar leather! Yes, you heard it right, the Chanel Caviar leather actually comes in an array of different options, from the classic shiny caviar to soft caviar, which is a more delicate version of the leather. Furthermore, the Chanel Caviar leather is also available in an array of special finishes, among them patent, glazed and iridescent.

Chanel Medium Classic Flap Iridescent Caviar
Chanel Medium Classic Flap in Iridescent Caviar. Media Credit: Fashionphile

Chanel Lambskin Leather Characteristics

Buttery soft and smooth to the touch, the Chanel Lambskin is, without a doubt, the most luxurious leather option from Chanel. Treated as little as possible in order to preserve its original qualities, this is the leather that screams opulence, luxury and everything in between. Hence why it’s so highly sought after among Chanel lovers and handbag collectors alike.

However, the one downside of the Chanel Lambskin leather is that it is indeed very delicate. And truly, you are likely to start seeing scratches and scuffs appear on your lambskin bag from the moment you start using it. That’s why it’s critical to take good care of your bag from the very beginning.

Chanel Medium Classic Flap Burgundy Lambskin
Chanel Medium Classic Flap in Burgundy Lambskin. Media Credit: Fashionphile
But fear not – the lambskin also has its advantages. Actually, the biggest advantage of the Chanel Lambskin leather, besides its ultra-luxurious look, lies in the fact that due to its largely untreated nature, it’s able to take on colors exceptionally well, including the deepest blacks and the most vivid brights. That’s actually also why you will generally see a wider color selection in Chanel lambskin bags. Caviar just doesn’t take on the dye as well.

Is the Chanel Caviar leather more durable than the Chanel Lambskin?

As mentioned earlier, the Chanel Caviar leather is generally considered the most durable of all Chanel leathers. But that doesn’t mean that the Chanel Lambskin isn’t durable at all. In fact, if you get a scratch on your lambskin Chanel bag, just try to buff the leather with the cloth which comes together with the handbag and the scratch should go away. Yes, in most cases, it’s that simple. However, keep in mind that this method might not work on larger scratches.

With that being said, if you store your lambskin bag right and take good care of it (like clean it regularly and polish the leather from time to time), you shouldn’t get any major problems with it. But if you do, remember that you can also always take it to a professional bag spa – and voilà, your lambskin bag looks like new again!

Chanel Lambskin vs. Caviar Resale Value

Chanel Caviar vs. Lambskin: Which Leather is Best?
Media Credit: Instagram @thevanityoffashion
Another reason for why many people tend to lean more towards the Chanel caviar leather is because caviar bags tend to hold their value better. And indeed, if you are going to search for a pre-loved Chanel Classic Flap online, you will quickly find that caviar versions are priced higher on the resale market than those in lambskin. I guess the durability deserves a higher price tag! But, actually, that’s only the case on the resale. In Chanel boutiques, caviar and lambskin Classic Flaps are priced the same (at least right now).

So, which Chanel leather is better?

There is no doubt that both Chanel Caviar and Lambskin leather have their advantages. However, which one should you go for? Well, I think the answer here depends on what kind of person you are and what are your needs.

Are you someone who values durability and practicality? If yes, then the Chanel Caviar might be a better choice for you. Don’t like to baby your bags? Caviar, again! The same goes true if you are planning to sell your bag later on.

However, if you’re someone who really only takes their designer bags out on special occasions (i.e. you don’t intend to use your handbag every day, or very often), you might want to consider going for the Chanel Lambskin instead. Also, if you are someone who generally takes very good care of your bags, the Chanel Lambskin might be a good choice for you.

So, which Chanel leather do you prefer? Caviar, or lambskin? Let me know in the comments below!

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