Akshaya Tritiya is considered an auspicious occasion to buy gold in India. The yellow metal has always been of sentimental value to us Indians, however, we do not always question the price quoted by jewellers or understand the various parameters of gold purity standards. So before you do invest in it, here are some points you should be aware of, that will make you a smart gold buyer.
Gold jewellery is sold in Karats (KT). This should be confused with the word 'carat', which is a measure of weight for diamond.
24KT is gold in its purest form, and the metal is very soft in this state to be made into jewellery. The gold sold by jewellers is usually 22KT or less. 22KT is the closest to gold in jewellery form.
To simplify it, suppose the gold jewellery in its shapeless form was divided into 24 parts, 22KT will mean that gold makes for 22 out of the 24 parts. The other 2 parts will either be zinc, copper, cadmium or silver. Alloys with these metals determine the colours of gold jewllery; that is how you get white gold and rose gold. You might have noticed that 22KT gold is sometimes too brownish; that is because of copper.
2. Hallmark Gold
A lay man cannot judge 22KT from 18 KT, which is why Hallmark is used to standardise and recognise the quality of gold in India. The Bureau of Indian Standards' (BIS) hallmarking is the best way you can judge the purity of the gold jewellery you buy. The BIS stamp mentions the Karats and the year in which the gold was hallmarked. The year mentioned is alphabetically coded, the karat, however, is mentioned before the alphabets. For example, 22K916 means 22KT, 18K750 would be 18KT and so on.
Price of the gold depends on two major factors, the Karats and the type of metal it is mixed with to make its alloy.
The final price of the gold jewellery is: price of the gold alloy multiplied by its weight + making charges + GST.
You can check the rates of gold over the internet or newspapers before you set out to buy it. Check today's gold rates here.
As for the making charges, they are not standardised in India. Many jewellers offer discounts on them, which you can also take a look at, apart from the designs.
Another factor to consider is the stones on jewellery. Make sure your jeweller is not charging the rate of gold on the whole piece of the studded jewellery. You should be aware that when you try to sell your gold, the jeweller has to consider the weight of gold without the stones. This is because the value of the piece is calculated based on the entire weight minus weight of diamonds or other stones studded on them.
During the billing, ask your jeweller for a break up in the pricing of the piece you intend to buy.
Gold buying options
You can buy gold not only from jewellers, but from authorised sellers like banks, in the form of coins. MMTC is another such example. It is a public sector unit (government authorised) for sale of gold and silver. From banks like SBI you can buy coins that weigh as low as 2 grams.
If you only wish to buy jewellery, there are plenty of gold jewellers who sell them online. These are usually private sector jewellery makers. Take a note of the seller's authenticity before you buy from them.