Last Updated : 13 July 2009 at 16:00 IST
India gives gold hallmark licences to 7,000 jewellers
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Though the government has deferred a plan for compulsory hallmarking of gold jewellery after resistance from the jewellers, the increased number of licences have helped it in increasing quality adherence in the precious metal. Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in jewellery. The standrads are used in many countries as a guarantee of purity. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), under the Consumer Affairs Ministry, is the administrative authority of hallmarking.
Starting from 186 licences in 2001, the government has issued 6,775 licences till June 30, 2009, an official release said, adding that more than 140 hallmarking centers, out of which 21 are run by the government, have been set up across the country. Licencee jewellers can get their gold articles hallmarked from any of these recognised centres. Over six crore articles have been given hallmark as on May 31, 2009, compared to 93,000 jewellery items that had been hallmarked in 2001. The objective of hallmarking is to protect the public against adulteration by manufacturers, the release said.
The objective of hallmarking is to protect the public against adulteration by manufacturers.
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.
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 Makring 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 recognized Hallmarking Centre.
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