When I decided to take the plunge and get a Le Creuset Dutch oven, I shopped around to find the best value. But I also wanted to be sure I was getting the real deal and not a counterfeit.
So, I did extensive research to see what authentic Le Creuset looks like. Some of this information isn’t easy to come by – because if Le Creuset published exactly what makes their products authentic, they’d be easier to copy! But after studying many, many Le Creuset pieces – in pictures, and in person – here’s what I’ve observed.
How to Tell a Fake Le Creuset?
To ensure a Le Creuset is authentic, buy it from a reputable source, such as a Le Creuset outlet store, or the brand’s website or Amazon store.
Look for the brand’s name and “France” stamped on the cookware’s lid, handles, and bottom side. The coating should be uniform with no bumps or imperfections, and the color should be sophisticated and/or a gradient. True Le Creuset is thinner and lighter than most brands, including fakes.
What Are Telltale Signs of a Fake Le Creuset?
The most obvious signs of a fake Le Creuset are:
The price of a counterfeit Le Creuset may be surprisingly low. I also recommend paying attention to the shape of the handles and knobs.
The best way to ensure your Le Creuset cast iron cookware is authentic is to buy it from a reliable source.
But suppose you get a second-hand Le Creuset Dutch oven from a garage sale or a new product on eBay or from an Amazon third-party seller. How do you know if that’s authentic?
Le Creuset marks several parts of its cast iron products to help customers identify the real deal. Here’s what to look for:
You may find high-quality knock-offs that are hard to tell from real ones. For example, you may have “Le Cruset” embossed on the lid. Everything looks fine until you realize the name has an “e” missing!
If you get a second-hand Le Creuset, you may see a diamond mark stamped on the handle’s underside. This is another sign that your Le Creuset is authentic, but not all current products have it.
So, if your modern Le Creuset doesn’t have this mark, it doesn’t mean it’s fake. Look for other signs instead.
Le Creuset is renowned for its rich, sophisticated, and vivid colors, which typically lighten towards the center of the lid or vessel. If the color appears flat or dull, or the name doesn’t fit, it might indicate a counterfeit. To verify, visit Le Creuset’s website to explore the range of colors the company currently offers.
Figuring out used or vintage items can be more challenging, since some colors may have been discontinued.
Le Creuset also frequently releases special edition or limited-run pieces that may not be listed on its website for long. In these cases, you can contact Le Creuset directly to inquire whether the color was ever available. I have also found the long-time hobbyists on Le Creuset Facebook groups to possess a wealth of information about different pieces.
One note – the color of the product on the Le Creuset box may not match the color of the product inside. (Le Creuset likes to use the signature color Flame on its boxes, no matter what the color inside.) However, the box should have a label listing the color and giving a serial number. Check the product’s serial number to make sure it is correct and not counterfeit.
In the photo below, compare the gradient color of the Le Creuset on the right with the plainer color of a knockoff brand Dutch oven on the left.
Some of the most famous Le Creuset colors include Flame (orange), Cerise (cherry red), and Marseille (luxurious blue). Currently, popular colors include oyster, Caribbean, sea salt, lavender, matte white, matte navy, brioche, thyme, and shallot.
Le Creuset applies three layers of enamel coating to its cast iron products. This process gives LC products a polished, even look. The enamel coating is smooth, not lumpy or weak in spots.
So, if you see marked rough or worn areas in the enamel on a new product, it might indicate it’s a fake. Note that tiny pinholes in the enamel (like in the photo below) are not considered imperfections and may be present in authentic products.
The first layer of coating on a Le Creuset piece is a primer that prevents the underlying cast iron from rusting.
The rims of a Le Creuset signature oven only have the first primer coating and look different from the cookware’s body and lid. The rims may look like they aren’t enameled, but they just don’t have colored enamel – they still have the dark primer.
If you get a “Le Creuset” piece without primer on the rims, it’s probably a fake.
Handles and Knobs
Le Creuset’s brand name stamped on the knobs and handles isn’t the only thing you should notice. The shape and size of the knobs and handles can also tell you a lot about its authenticity.
Authentic Le Creuset Dutch oven handles are wide and offer enough space for your fingers to grip them comfortably. If you know the cookware’s model and the year it was manufactured, look it up on LC’s website and compare the handle shapes.
The knobs are replaceable and color-coded. Each color shows different qualities and has different meanings.
The knobs are either made of stainless steel or phenolic. The stainless steel one may be silver, gold, or copper in color and phenolic ones come in two models: with or without the logo.
They come in three sizes:
You can also find other shapes, like pumpkin-shaped, flower-shaped, or heart-shaped knobs.
Le Creuset’s signature interior enamel is sand-colored. The Signature Cast Iron Casseroles and Dutch ovens have a light-colored sand enamel interior. Le Creuset uses a matte black interior used in skillets, pans, and grills.
The Youtuber known as “Uncle Scott” reports that he purchased a Le Creuset Dutch oven from Costco with black interior enamel. This is the only case I’ve heard of – but if you have a Le Creuset Dutch oven with a black interior, let us know!
There’s a difference between finding great deals and falling for fake products.
If you’ve bought your Le Creuset Dutch oven at $40 (especially, unfortunately, if you bought it in Asia)… you can be pretty sure it’s a knock-off. Real Le Creuset ovens run $300-$400, so don’t be taken in if you find a seller that offers one for a fraction of the price.
Although buying a fake Le Creuset sounds scary, you can easily avoid it. Always check a seller’s return policy before you make a purchase! If you’re buying a vintage piece, or one from a third-party seller, the cookware’s color and enamel quality can tell you a lot about its origin.
Have you had any experience with buying a fake Le Creuset? Please share it (with photos!) in the comments below!
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