What is Hallmarking of Gold and Why has it been made Mandatory?
The government has issued new guidelines to make hallmarking of gold jewellery and artifacts mandatory in the country. After multiple extensions of the implementation deadline, hallmarking of gold jewellery and other gold items has become mandatory from June 15. In the first phase, gold hallmarking will be available only in 256 districts and jewellers having annual turnover upto Rs 40 lakh will not come under its purview. As per the new guidelines, jewellers will now be allowed to sell gold items of only 14, 18 and 22 carats and no penalty will be imposed till August on jewellers and artisans who do not comply with the mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts.
What is Hallmarking of Gold?
The Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), an organisation which regulates gold and silver hallmarking in India, defines hallmarking as the “accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.” In simple terms Hallmarking is a guarantee of purity or fineness of precious metal, like gold and silver, articles. The Bureau of Indian Standards conducts purity tests and issues a certificate guaranteeing the purity of metal in jewellery and artifacts. The certificates are issued to all jewellers registered with the BIS.
Why has Hallmarking of Gold made mandatory?
According to the government, the hallmarking of jewellery/artefacts is essential to enhance the credibility of gold jewellery and customer satisfaction. Also this step would be helpful in developing India as a leading gold market centre in the world.
As per the government data there has been a 25% increase in Assaying and Hallmarking (A and H) centres in the last five years.
This step is vital for consumers as with mandatory hallmarking, customers will be assured that they get gold products that guarantee purity as marked on items. Despite being one of the largest consumers of Gold the level of hallmarked jewellery is very low in India. According to the ministry, at present, only 30% of Indian gold jewellery is hallmarked.