(And How to Avoid Cheap Imitations)

We receive many queries concerning the authenticity of Chesterfield furniture. We would like to help you on your research and purchases with the following text.

The increase in mass-produced furniture has brought about an increase in the number of furniture having a similar appearance to Chesterfield but lacking in quality materials and the exceptional craftsmanship of Chesterfield furniture.                 

How to distinguish between a real and a fake

When researching the purchase of a new piece of furniture, you will find some manufacturers appear to offer quality furniture at an inexplicably low cost. It is difficult not to be enticed by a very cheap price ending up in a bad purchase, thinking that you have bought a quality item. Unfortunately, when you invest in a cheap Chesterfield, you will probably get what you pay for. As such, inferior furniture is often procured from Eastern Europe or the Far East and marketed as British made, without being. A good way to check websites that sell these products is by searching their address online, where usually you discover that there is neither a manufacturing point, nor a retail store, just a street address.

The cheap price of a piece of furniture usually reflects its poor quality

This furniture will not stand the test of time and will show their flaws very early. When you pay less for a Chesterfield, you are likely to get a piece of furniture with low quality interior materials, a cheap frame made of illegal timber or MDF and covered with leather imitations. Moving on to leather, we face another menace of consumer deception. Genuine leather is a natural product - it is durable and has distinctive features that make it unique. Real leather will always have the marks of its natural origin and these properties may appear as scratches, growth marks, insect bite marks, etc. These characteristics do not in any way reduce the quality or the normal wear properties of leather. Many retailers classify leather based on quality. This can confuse customers, who are encouraged to believe that more expensive or more treated leathers are of better quality. This is not necessarily the case, as different skin types can have their own benefits.

According to quality standards at House of Chesterfields, genuine leather should be accompanied if not by a lifetime warranty, then of at least fifteen years or more. Referred to as Premium full grain or top grain cow hide leather. Anything else will either be of lower quality and less durable leather (buffalo, splits, bi-cast) or simply not leather at all (vegan, imitation leather, leatherette).

A genuine Chesterfield is not made of fake leather

Referring to authenticity, we touch on the chapter of origin. Many English manufacturers offer certificates of authenticity. This is fine if they adhere to English standards as a product handmade in England. But many are misleading consumers by claiming that they represent the real, one and only chesterfield furniture factory, offering certificates of uniqueness. There is no exclusive chesterfield manufacturer in England. The word chesterfield is a generic term and describes the unique design (with deep buttons) of seating.

According to Bernard Price, the author of "The History of English Furniture", Chesterfield furniture was designed circa 1780 by order of Lord Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield. Nowhere is there any reference to the name of the designer or to a furniture maker of the time.

Today within the area of Chesterfield and other parts of England there are a few chesterfield furniture manufacturers that comply with the standards of heritage, quality and safety regulations that an authentic chesterfield must carry and issue certificates of authenticity. There is no unique single Brand Chesterfield, there is no brand, and sadly no specification that everyone should adhere to; just a style of seating.

Do not be fooled by so-called certificates

Regarding the specifications and features an authentic chesterfield should have, we advise the following:

Look for a MADE IN ENGLAND label sewn into the furniture. You should query where the furniture was produced, not only where it came from.  According to fire safety and consumer protection regulations of England, no furniture should be the cause of fire, cause of allergies or diseases. If the laws have been applied the label should be there. 

The frame should be made of solid beech wood and further more according to Woodland Heritage of England from renewable resources, not illegally sourced timber as in many imported furniture from other countries.

The interior of each chesterfield sofa or chair should have appropriate quality materials so that the seat will not "sink", it should be comfortable and keep its shape. After all, according to legend, Lord Chesterfield instructed his furniture maker to construct a piece of furniture for gentlemen to sit correctly and avoid odd motions, strange postures, and ungenteel carriage as he noted.

The leather should be genuine, namely Full Grain. The authenticity of the leather should be proven by the guarantee given. If there is not at least a fifteen-year guarantee, then you are probably not buying leather. Real leather should last a lifetime.

The studs or nails, that also have a decorative role, must be individually placed by hand in a straight line. A common phenomenon in imitations is the use of a fake strip of nails connected to each other.

Another indicative feature is the buttons on the back and arms, they should be inserted depth into the arms creating a strong diamond shape between them, not placed almost superficially with minimal depth.

The list of what to look for to distinguish authentic chesterfields continues in hope to help with your future purchases. We are at your disposal for any other information about the hand making, history, designs, colours and value of an authentic Chesterfield.

Chesterfield is a handmade, timeless piece of heritage that gives prestige and value to our home, our space. It's worth a little market research when it comes to purchasing a Chesterfield, rather than just a piece of furniture or at worst a poor imitation that will be discarded. Investing in a quality Chesterfield will prove to be a sure investment as its value will appreciate as time goes by.

Maniski & Co. family are a 3rd generation family business involved in the furniture trade from the 1950’s in England and distributors exclusively of Chesterfield furniture since 1980’s.

Visit us online at www.chesterfield.gr, send your messages at info@chesterfield.gr or call us at (+30) 210 6143910. SMS, WhatsApp, Viber +30 6944 260383.

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