On 14 January, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution issued a notification on making Gold Hallmarking mandatory. Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the purpose of making hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery and artefacts is to ensure that consumers are not cheated during their purchase.
Here are 5 things to know about the new changes and their implications:
1. Gold will only be sold in 3 caratage: 14 karat, 18 karat and 22 karat.
2. The Department of Consumer Affairs is providing a period of one year for implementation so that jewellers and retailers can register themselves with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and clear their old stock. Hence, starting 15 January 2021, a gold retailer will not be able to sell gold jewellery, artefact, etc without hallmarking. The idea is to expand the organised jewellery sector to smaller cities and towns in India. Private entrepreneurs would also be allowed to set up additional A&H (Assaying and Hallmarking) centres to facilitate BIS marking, especially in districts where such a centre isn't present.
3. You will need to look for the 4 marks on the gold jewellery to understand the hallmark.
How to identify hallmark signs and what do they mean?
One will need to identify 4 signs or symbols on a piece of gold at the time of purchase to verify the authenticity of the article.
a. BIS Mark
BIS is the agency authorised by the Government of India to hallmark gold. A logo of BIS will be present on the ornament or artefact when verified from one of its licensed laboratory. Refer the image below.
The purity of gold is indicated through hallmarking in two ways: Karat and fineness number.
A Karat is a measurement indicating the proportion of gold in an alloy (of 24 parts). 24 Karat is the purest form of gold, however, jewellery is not made out of 24K gold as it is soft in texture.
For example, when you purchase an article made of 18 karat gold, it has 18 parts of gold and 6 parts of another metal like silver or copper to form the alloy needed to make it into a desired pattern of jewellery.
As per the BIS website, purity in carat and fineness can be identified by the following marks:
- 22K916: Corresponding to 22 Karat
- 18K750: Corresponding to 18 Karat
- 14K585: Corresponding to 14 Karat
This fineness number is embossed on the gold article after BIS certifies it to be of that purity.
c. Assaying/Hallmarking Centre's Identification Mark/Number
A number or a symbol identifying the licensed BIS laboratory will also be indicated on the piece of jewellery. You can check if the hallmark centre is authorised from the list on BIS' website.
d. Jeweller's Identification Mark/Number
Every licensed gold retailer that has registered with BIS has a mark or number that will be imprinted on the jewellery you purchase. You can check if your jeweller is registered here.
4. The jeweller needs to pay charges to get an article hallmarked. According to the BIS' website, it charges Rs 35 per article. The minimum charge for a consignment is Rs 200 (excluding Services Tax and other levies).
5. If you have a complaint regarding your hallmarked jewellery, you can contact BIS by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling 011-23234223.