Is your old gold jewellery at risk with the govt’s new hallmarking rules?

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July 07, 2021 11:38 AM

A buyer should only purchase hallmarked jewellery after examining the four signs of purity and should always get a bill from the jeweller.

gold price in city, 22 Karat gold jewellery, pure gold jewellery, New hallmarking rules, BIS, hallmarked goldWhen a buyer enters a showroom, he or she should seek the BIS Certification mark to check if the jeweller is BIS registered or not.

Sample this: You walk into a jewellery showroom looking to buy gold ornaments. Soon after telling the jeweller about the budget you have in mind, you get different gold jewellery set designs placed in front of you. The gold price in your city will more or less be fixed across jewellers and needless to say, you will want to buy pure gold if you are paying the price for pure gold.

But, how will you ensure that the jewellery you are buying is pure and is also adhering to the guidelines set by the government? Ketan Kothari, Director of Augmont, in an email interview with FE Online breaks down the gold buying process and talks about the ways and means to identify pure gold jewellery, the new hallmarking rules in the country and what if you wish to get your old jewellery hallmarked.

Let us start with the basics. Is it true that only 22 Karat gold is used for making jewellery?

Gold is available in a variety of purity levels, ranging from 10 karat gold, which has the lowest purity, to 24 karat gold, which has the highest purity.

Because 24-karat gold is pure gold and does not include any other metal, it is soft and pliable in nature. It is widely utilized in the production of gold bars, coins, electrical devices, and medical equipment.

While other grades of gold, such as 23K, 22K, 20K, 18K, 14K, and 10K, which contain gold and other alloys such as silver, zinc, and nickel, create durable and sturdy pieces of jewellery, all of these gold grades are used to make jewellery.

And, of all grades, 22-karat gold is the most commonly utilized in the creation of jewellery in India.

What are the new hallmarking rules for the benefit of retail buyers?

While the government’s action will assist customers in ensuring the quality of gold jewellery they purchase, it will also assist the country in becoming a global gold buying hub. Consumers will benefit from the development since it will bring accountability to the industry, enabling them to be confident about the quality of their gold.

Hallmarking rules are currently implemented only in 256 districts. As a buyer walking into a showroom, how to ensure that he or she is not cheated?

The gold hallmarking restrictions are being phased in, with stores in 256 districts throughout India being the first to be affected. When a buyer enters a showroom, he or she should seek the BIS Certification mark to check if the jeweller is BIS registered or not.

Following that, the buyer should only purchase hallmarked jewellery after examining the four signs of purity, and should always get a bill from the jeweller.

According to BIS guidelines, if jewellery does not meet the necessary requirements, the buyer will be reimbursed two times the difference computed based on purity shortage for the weight of the article sold and the testing charges.

How to make sure that the 22 Karat gold jewellery that one is buying is hallmarked? 

Looking for the karat mark on the jewellery item is an easy technique to determine the purity of your gold jewellery. Jewellers must now stamp each gold item with the hallmark and gold carat. If it is not visible, ask the jeweller to display it to you using a 10x magnifying lens.

What are the signs that the buyer needs to watchout for?

There are four main hallmarking signs: the BIS mark represented by a triangle; the caratage (22K916) indicating purity; the jeweller’s mark; and the accredited assaying center mark. In India, gold jewellery can be hallmarked in 14, 18, 20, 22, 23, and 24 carats.

For those who are looking to sell old jewellery which may not be hallmarked, how will the jeweller ascertain cost, will the jeweller buyback?

Don’t worry about the value of your old gold jewellery diminishing because it will still be legitimate. Even if the gold jewellery does not have a hallmark, jewellers can continue to buy it back from customers. If the jeweller thinks it’s feasible, old jewellery can be hallmarked as is. Furthermore, the hallmark can be applied after the gold has been melted to create new jewellery.

Is there a possibility that no-hallmarked jewellery will be sold to buyers at a lesser cost? What are the fallouts?

No, such a possibility does not exist. According to section 29 of the BIS Act, 2016, anyone who violates the provisions of unhallmarked jewellery is liable to a year in prison or a fine of not less than one lakh rupees, but not less than five times the value of the goods or articles produced, sold, or offered to be sold, or affixed or applied with a Standard Mark including Hallmark.

However, there would be no penalty until the end of August to give producers, distributors, and dealers of gold jewellery enough time to prepare.

How will new hallmarking rules help bring in standardization?

Gold watches, fountain pens, and some forms of jewellery, such as Kundan, Polki, and Jadau, will be excluded from the mandatory hallmarking requirement. Mandatory hallmarking will standardize the purity of gold jewellery and lead to a more structured sector, as well as accelerate the current transition of business and customers from unorganised to organized jewellery.

Small jewellers will benefit a lot since all jewellers branded and non branded are now at par in terms of purity of gold. Hence, design, service and making charges will become differentiating factors.

As households begin to replace their older jewellery for new, hallmarked jewellery, jewellery that meets the criterion will command a premium, perhaps bringing out the family silver. This has the potential to help monetize the $ 1.5 trillion in gold and jewellery that now sits in the almirahs of Indian households.

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