Part 1: Chanel Diana Bags: Lambskin or Caviar?

Part 1: Chanel Diana Bags Basics

Having occupied this space for a while now, I’ve been asked very similar questions many times over. For everyone’s benefit, may I present the world’s most investigative piece of writing on the Chanel Diana bags. This will be a series of posts answer in detail (with visual supplement) the top 3 questions I get asked the most as a dealer cum shopping enabler cum friend:

  • what type of leather should I pick: lambskin or caviar?
  • what size is right for me: small or medium?
  • what color should my Chanel Diana bag be: black or beige?

Part 1: Lambskin or Caviar?

Chanel Diana Bag Caviar Black

One of the most common questions I get asked is whether I have any caviar Diana bags for sale. This is surprising to me as the price difference between the caviar and lambskin style is almost 2x-3x which is bordering on ridiculous. However, as the foremost collector of Chanel Diana bags and for ‘research’ purposes, I took the plunge, bought one for myself a while back. It’s always been on my radar and on my wishlist but I could never make that commitment until I found one recently that tickled my fancy. The specs of the two leather Dianas are summarized as follows: 

Quality

Lambskin

Caviar

Price ($USD)

2,000-2,600

Upwards of $3,600

Durability

Delicate

Completely scratch proof

Weight

Around 0.95kg

1.0 - 1.75kg depending on size

Storage

Lambskin stretches more so over time the Diana will be roomier

Caviar does not stretch so you will not be able to fit as much.

Appearance

Elegant and classic; a clear night bag

The lack of the sheen on the stamping of the leather gives it a more casual look

Collectibility

Most popular and common vintage Chanel style

Extremely rare and collectible because production was in extremely limited qualities

 CP Value

High

Low

 

Chanel Diana Bag Caviar Black

More commentary on select aspects that warrant more discussion below:

Price

Is there ever a case when you can justify buying a caviar Diana bag? The price (for me) ended up being much more expensive than my own vintage Hermes Kelly and is probably the price of a new Hermes Lindy (retail). Hence unlikely I will stock one for sale just because the price point is far too high and will price out the majority of regular people and locks up a lot of cash *edit: fast forward to 2020 and now I do actually regularly stock caviar Dianas, the demand for them was just too great, should really stop saying never*.

Weight

The number one difference (aside from the extravagant price tag) is the how much heavier the caviar Diana is to my lambskin Diana. The caviar is of significant weight and you can feel especially when the bag is full. You feel the chain squishing into your shoulder and because of the heaviness, when you wear it cross body it doesn’t sit as elegantly on top of your hip.

 Vintage caviar leather vs. modern caviar leather?

Chanel Diana Bag Caviar Black

Chanel Diana Bag Caviar Black

Above is a comparison photo of my 19b Chanel classic flap in ‘taupey’ beige next to my vintage caviar leather Diana. You can see the stamping on the vintage is much bigger, creating a much more obvious grain and also makes it much shinier than the new caviar (that could also be attributed to the treatment of the leather which has changed over the years).  The patina on the vintage caviar leather is also much more becoming on the leather, and shows up as more of a sheen rather than scuff (something I find to be a problem in the new caviar leather). The vintage caviar leather is also much stiffer, does not stretch as much even with use and as a result will not become much roomier with consistent use, whereas my classic flap, despite still being relatively new, has already stretched out slightly.

 

The durability for both caviar leathers appear to be the same - both very scratch resistant. However, my classic flap fares much better in the rain than my vintage caviar leather bag and I suspect this is because vintage leather (lambskin or caviar) is much more porous and so is much more prone to water damage.  

 My User Experience

All of the above rambling unfortunately will actually be less impactful by virtue of the fact that I actually give my user experience rating of the caviar Diana a shocking 9/10. The last point is docked for the weight and the fact that the caviar leather braided in to the chain doesn’t always iron out smoothly. However, given that I am extremely sensitive to weight and I endeavor to always carry the most minimal items with me when out and about, take that point docked with a grain of salt. We all have different sensitivities!

 Chanel Diana Bag Caviar Black

Otherwise, using a caviar Diana is really the most ergonomic, practical, fuss-free bag I have ever used. Being the grateful owner of several Chanel bags now in various styles (WOC, mini square, mini rectangular, classic flap etc…) the Diana bag is the most functional and practical in size and the caviar makes it completely worry free. If you can somehow justify the amount of money to sink into one, I really do highly recommend. You will never need to go purse shopping ever again (did you ever really need to in the beginning anyways?) A good comparison in terms of user experience is with the ever-popular Chanel caviar rectangular mini, but the Diana style is slightly bigger in size and appearance-wise: 10x more elegant. It’s also very rare and so unlikely anyone on the street will ever be using this bag. Collectors and those in the know will know that you know your stuff (at least I would and I always stop any person carrying a Diana on the street for a quick curious chat!)

Where can I find a caviar Diana?

Not from me unfortunately! I don’t think it would make any business sense to stock one as of right now, but maybe that will change in the future. I will try to bring my caviar Diana to my face-to-face sales so that if anyone is curious they can play with mine. As always, advice is free!

3 comments

  • Hi,
    I would just like to comment you are absolutely spot on about the vintage diana caviar’s weight. It was what made me stopped carrying my medium diana bag as I am sensitive to weight too, the fact that I suffer from cervical spondylosis.

    I have been toying with the idea of selling it even though I love the bag.

    Agnes Chai
  • How can buy the bag?

    Fannie
  • Hi,How can buy the bag?

    AmyTse

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