Government looks to make gold hallmarking mandatory

In November, Food and Consumers Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the government is planning to make hallmarking mandatory for gold jewelry sold in India. “BIS has set standards for hallmarking of gold jewelry in three grades of 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat. We are going to make it mandatory soon,” he said. Currently, despite being a purity certification, hallmarking is optional.

Certification and hallmarking of gold jewelry is accredited by Bureau of International Standards (BIS). It includes a stamp of BIS, mark of the hallmarking center, year of mark, jeweller’s identification mark, and carat. While the purest form of gold is 24k, jewelry offers 22k at the maximum since alloys are mixed to hold a certain shape. India has more than 330 BIS-recognized hallmarking centres with a major share in Tamil Nadu and Kerela.

Though Paswan did not mention a specific date, he emphasized the importance of the upcoming decision on the customers. Hallmarked and non-hallmarked items are sold in the same retail outlets. As a result, inappropriate ratio of gold to alloy makes the customer prone to purchase overpriced gold product.

Experts at Rajesh Exports, the world’s biggest gold processor expressed that hallmarking is essential in order to ensure consistency in the quality of gold delivered to the end customer. This increases the value of yellow metal bought by them while simultaneously minimizing the chances of fraud.

Furthermore, the fourth Industrial Revolution would introduce new technologies that pose a challenge to BIS for creating new standards. As new-age machines integrate with multiple verticals, it is important to establish a framework that is aligned with the existing as well as upcoming norms of the gold industry.

Mandatory hallmarking and strict norms, when implemented, will ensure that the hallmarking centres are meeting the quality benchmarks. For instance, some of these do not execute the complete series of tests. As a result, customer may buy a legitimate hallmarked product with compromised purity. Streamlined functioning of centers will increase the global level of quality, stabilize the market, and consequently, bolster exports.

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