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Gold hallmarking: How India fares

In June last year, the government of India announced the phased implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery. Here’s all you need to know:

April 29, 2022 / 04:55 PM IST

For ages, Indians have had a penchant for ornaments and jewellery. Be it any occasion, gold ornaments and jewellery pieces are considered a token of respect, love, and memory. However, with this charm also comes the concern for the purity of gold. Since gold is a very light metal and can bend easily, the jewellers add other metals to support its weight. However, a dishonest jeweller can take advantage of this scenario and add other metals in more quantity and less quantity of gold. To keep a check on such malpractices, the hallmarking system was introduced. In June last year, the government of India announced the phased implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery. Here’s all you need to know:

What is hallmarking

The government regulated, Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), has defined gold hallmarking as the “accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.” In other words, it is a guarantee of the purity of gold offered by the government. This safeguards the consumer’s interest, raising their trust in gold investment. In India, most of the jewellery sold is under the purity standard of 22 carats. Hallmarking on gold is engraved through laser after assaying and approving its purity.

A registered jeweller submits the gold items for hallmarking to a BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre (AHC) for testing. The BIS then issues a hallmark certificate if the item meets the required standards. At present, hallmarking is allowed on gold jewellery having purity of 14 carats, 18 carats, 20 carats, 22 carats, 23 carats and 24 carats.

Why is hallmarking important 

The foremost reason for hallmarking gold is to ensure that a consumer gets authentic gold quality and quantity as promised by the seller. Secondly, it also ensures the right value of the metal at the time of reselling.  With the hallmarking system in place, the buyer would know the exact purity of the gold item he or she is purchasing. Furthermore, in India, hallmarking helps the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ascertain the gold items available. According to the government, till June 2021, only 30% of the Indian gold jewellery was hallmarked.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal, says, “The mandatory hallmark certification of gold jewellery is good for both customers and businesses.”

Who and what is exempted?

The government has exempted jewellers with up to Rs 40 lakh annual turnover from mandatory hallmarking. Furthermore, those who export and re-import jewellery as per the government's trade policy, jewellery meant for international exhibitions and government-approved B2B domestic exhibitions are also exempted.

Besides this, watches, fountain pens, special types of jewellery like Kundan, Polki and Jadau are exempted from hallmarking. The jewellers can continue to buy back from customers the old jewellery that is not hallmarked.

Penalties for non-compliance

Mandatory hallmarking for gold jewellery and gold artefacts came into effect on June 16 2021 for all six categories of gold: 14k, 18k, 20k, 22k, 23k and 24k. While jewellers were given time till 30th November 2021 to adapt to the new system, they are now being penalized for non-adherence.

Director-general, BIS, Pramod Kumar Tiwari has said, “There are lakhs of jewellers, including small jewellers, who have to register themselves and get accustomed to the new system. It takes time.”

In addition to this, to ensure that the maximum number of jewellers opt for hallmark registration, the government has exempted a one-time registration fee from jewellers.

Moneycontrol journalists were not involved in the creation of the article.

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first published: Apr 29, 2022 04:27 pm
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