Buying gold in India will soon become much safe as far as the gold purity is concerned. Going forward, the government is going to make the selling of hallmarked gold compulsory. Currently, hallmarking of gold is optional and can be voluntarily opted for by jewellers. If you are buying gold which is not hallmarked, the possibility of buying impure gold is high. As per the government, Hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts will be made mandatory across the nation from January 15, 2020. Jewellers, however, will be given a period of one year from the date of the notification by the government, for the implementation of the scheme. "With the rule coming into effect, hallmarking of jewellery will become mandatory in India from January 2021, and this move will propel the growth of the organised jewellery sector," says T S Kalyanaraman, Chairman and Managing Director-Kalyan Jewellers.
This means, by January 2021, the registration process of jewellers will have to be completed and it will also give the jewellers a period of one -year to clear their existing stock. "Currently, BIS certification centres are only present in bigger cities and towns. It will be a challenge to effectively manage this aspect so that retailers in smaller towns can also make the shift to hallmarked jewellery," says T S Kalyanaraman.
More than the verbal assurance of the jeweller, the hallmarking sign will provide the buyer of the purity of the gold. As a consumer of gold, one will be assured of the authenticity of the jewellery, if it is hallmarked. So, if you are buying 18-carat gold which is hallmarked, it will actually mean that 18/24 parts are gold and the rest is alloy.
To identify hallmarked gold, one needs to look at 4 hallmark signs or symbols. These are:
1. BIS Mark
2. Purity in carat and Fineness (any one)
a) 22K916 – Equal to 22 Carat
b) 18K750 – Equal to 18 Carat
c) 14K585 – Equal to 14 Carat
3. Identification Mark or Number of the Hallmarking Centre's
4. Identification Mark or number of the Jeweller's
Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) is authorised to carry out the hallmarking of gold jewellery and any jewellery can apply for license before getting their jewellery hallmarked from them. The BIS (Bureau of Indian standards) Act 2016 has enabling provisions under Section 14 & Section 16 for making hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts mandatory by the Central Government. As on 31st October 2019 there are 877 Assaying and hallmarking centres spread in 234 district locations across the country and so far 26,019 jewellers have taken BIS registration.
With the timeline fixed by the government for selling only hallmarked gold, it will be important for gold buyers to buy only hallmarked from today. There will be a probability of jewellers in selling non-hallmarked gold at a bargain or discounted price in order to clear the existing stock. Buyers need to be aware that only hallmarked gold will fetch them the right market price for gold in future. This step is seen as a positive development in the direction of consumer protection in the country. ‘What you pay for is what you get’ will be the norm in the Indian gold market.