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Home > Business > Business Headline > Commodities





What is hallmarking of gold?

May 31, 2007 12:07 IST
Last Updated: May 31, 2007 16:59 IST


Are you looking for purity when you purchase the gold jewellery? If so, ensure that you buy the precious metals like gold hallmarked by the Bureau of Indian Standards.

But what is hallmark and how does it work?

Here is all you need to know about hallmarking of gold.

What is hallmark?

Hallmark has been acting as a safeguard to purchasers of gold and gold articles for centuries in various countries. In simple terms, Hallmark is a purity certification of gold articles in accordance with Indian Standard specifications.

Gold articles are evaluated and tested at an official Assaying and Hallmarking Centre and then certified that the metal used conforms to the national and international standard of fineness and purity.

Who provides the hallmark in India?

The Bureau of Indian Standards, the country'a apex standards body, is involved in the development of technical standards (popularly known as Indian Standards), product quality and management system certifications and consumer affairs in all matters concerning standardisation, certification and quality.

The BIS hallmarking scheme has been aligned with international criteria on hallmarking (Vienna Convention 1972). As per this scheme, licence is granted to the jewellers by BIS under Product Certification Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centre.

What does hallmark consist of?

Hallmark consists of five components i.e. BIS Mark, the fineness number (corresponding to given caratage), Assaying and Hallmarking Centre's mark, jeweller's mark and year of marking denoted by a code letter and decided by BIS (e.g. code letter 'A' was approved by BIS for year 2000, 'B' being used for the year 2001 and 'C' for 2002). The marking is done either using punches or laser marking machine.

The BIS hallmark, a mark of conformity widely accepted by the consumer, bestows the additional confidence to the consumer on the purity of gold jewellery.

How does the hallmarking scheme operate?

As per this scheme the jewellery retailer/manufacturer desirous of obtaining a licence apply to BIS for use of Standard Mark (hallmark) on their jewellery. After registration, BIS officials conduct a preliminary inspection for verification of premises retailing/manufacturing, testing facilities and competence of testing personnel. A sample is drawn from the jewellers retail/manufacturing premises for independent testing. Based on the satisfactory preliminary inspection report and test report of the sample drawn during inspection, licence is granted to the jeweller.

What happens after a jeweler gets the license?

After getting the licence, the jeweller (retailer/manufacturer) has to follow a BIS approved scheme of testing and inspection on a continuing basis to have confidence in the homogeneity and purity of the gold jewellery offered for hallmarking.

A BIS certified jewellers (retailer/manufacturers) has right to register himself with any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centres to get his jewellery hallmarked. BIS maintains surveillance on the certified jewellers, at a defined periodicity. Market surveillance involves collection of hallmarked gold jewellery from licensee's retail outlet/manufacturing premises and having it tested for conformity in BIS recognised Hallmarking Centre.

Can BIS cancel the Hallmarking license?

Yes. Deviations in degree of purity of fine metal and observance of operations not in conformance to the system may result in cancellation of BIS licence, and invoke legal proceedings for penalties under the BIS Act, Rules and Regulations.

What are the main objectives of Assaying and Hallmarking system?

The principal objective of assaying and hallmarking is to protect a consumer against victimization of irregular gold quality. Besides consumer satisfaction, hallmarking helps to create an export competitiveness of gold jewellery industry thus provide strong impetus for gold jewellery exports.

In addition, it develops gold based financial products that will help in mopping up the vast dormant gold resources lying with the household sector. It also helps develop India as a leading gold market centre in the world commensurate with its status as the topmost consumer.

What are the benefits of certified jewelers?

The jewelers with BIS license of Hallmark Gold Jewellery provide clear indication of their capabilities, strong evidence of their commitment to quality, assurance of consistence in purity and quality of gold jewellery.

It provides opportunity is to describe the way they maintain their standards for quality control and later demonstrate that they consistently do what they claim. It provides international competitiveness and enhanced customer satisfaction. It also provides third-party assurance and satisfaction that they have got the right purity of gold for the given price and protection against victimization of irregular gold quality/purity.



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