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Bureau of Indian Standards is involved in different activities like standards formulation, certification of products, system certifications, hallmarking, laboratory services, registration scheme and more
Introduction: BIS Hallmark
When there are festivals around the corner, it calls for a shopping spree. We Indians, in general, have been in love with gold and it shows the most during festive seasons. It doesn’t matter if it is in the form of an investment in gold or buying gold jewelry and coins, Gold has become such an integral part of our culture that we have special occasions fundamentally and essentially to buy gold. Being such a big nation that loves gold, you could find a jewelry shop in each and every market complex.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: BIS Hallmark
- What Is BIS Hallmarking?
- Why Is It Important To Buy Hallmarked Gold?
- What Are The Signs Or Stickers Of BIS Hallmark?
- Guidelines On Testing Of Un-Hallmarked Gold By The Bureau Of The Indian Standards
- What Would Happen If You Were Sold An Un-Hallmarked Jewellery?
- What Is The Process Of Filing For A Complaint For Un-Hallmarked Gold
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The Government of India introduced a purity system to ensure that consumers do not get duped when buying gold. This marking system is most commonly known as the BIS hallmark, it is devised in a manner to test the purity of gold and certify the product. In the early months of 2021, the Government made it mandatory for every jeweler to follow and abide by the Hallmark regulations.
What Is BIS Hallmarking?
The system which determines the fineness of the silver and gold jewelry sold across the nation is called the Bureau of Indian Standard Hallmarking. In simple words, if a commodity in gold is hallmarked, the consumer can understand the authenticity of the gold. Gold is a fragile metal and is very prone to chipping and breaking, during the process of manufacturing, the jewelers add other metals to the gold to strengthen the gold commodity; metals like zinc and silver are generally used to ensure the strengthening of the gold commodity. The purity system through which hallmarking is commenced is based on the additional metals which are added to the commodity.
The test process through which the precious metals are assessed is called ‘assaying’ and hence the office which assesses the purity of gold is called the ‘assay office’. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, hallmarking of gold is conducted to protect the consumers who indulge in buying or investing in gold and to protect against contamination; for safeguarding the consumer’s interest and to help Jewelry manufacturers comply with the regulations, several government-authorized assay offices carry out the purity test to issue purity certifications.
Why Is It Important To Buy Hallmarked Gold?
By looking at the rare and expensive metal, gold, it is very difficult to determine the purity of gold. Without a confirmation of purity and fineness, a buyer could end up paying more than the actual worth of gold thus being duped and cheated. After checking for all four stamps, one can be sure of the purity and fineness of the piece of gold.
For jewelers and con artists alike, selling recycled and refurbished gold is easier since they don’t have to merge strengthening metals into the gold commodity again, however, it does affect the purity of gold, and since it is virtually impossible to assess the purity of gold, they jewelers and con-artists have a significant advantage against a buyer who is not aware of the Hallmarking stamps. After identifying the above-mentioned stamps, one can assess the quality, purity, and fineness of the gold by understanding what each sticker stands for thus, avoiding being duped and cheated.
What Are The Signs Or Stickers Of BIS Hallmark?
The gold jewelry is stamped with four components to ensure the purity of gold. The symbol of Hallmark on the gold which you might have noticed is the symbol of purity according to the Bureau of Indian Standards.
- BIS Standard logo
The triangle-shaped stamp indicates the purity of the gold item and is verified in the government-authorized assay office. The triangular stamp could be found on almost every piece of gold jewelry and is very common.
- Purity mark
A purity Mark is a stamp that indicates purity in two forms, fineness number, and purity. The carat form has three denominations, 18K, 22k, and 24k. the purest form of gold is rated as 24k and denotes that, 24-carat gold-rated commodities have the least amount of strengthening metals infused in the gold thus, making it closer to, if not, the purest form of gold.
The fineness form of the purity system indicates the purity of the gold through an article that provides information on what percentage of pure gold is in the entire gold alloy.
- Assaying and Hallmarking Centre’s Marks
This stamp; on any hallmarked piece of gold indicates the logo of the government-authorized center from which the test of purity was conducted upon the gold commodity. Only licensed assay labs have the authorization to conduct the test of purity on the gold piece. The logo of the assay office is stamped on the gold commodity to ensure that the gold could be traced to protect the owner against any discrepancy.
- Jeweler’s Identification Mark
Every Bureau-certified jeweler has a logo, which is unique to every authorized gold commodity seller. The official website of the Bureau of the Indian Standard has a complete list of jewelers, which are certified by them. The jeweler’s Identification Mark is stamped on the piece of gold to protect the owner’s interest and to trace the gold in respect of future discrepancies if there are any.
Guidelines On Testing Of Un-Hallmarked Gold By The Bureau Of The Indian Standards
The following guidelines have been given by the Bureau of Indian Standards to the consumers for the protection of their best interests and protection against being cheated:
- The consumer shall bring one or more than one piece of the jewelry for testing to the assaying office or hallmarking center which is recognized by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
- The piece(s) of gold shall be weighed in the presence of the consumer.
- In case the consumer brings multiple pieces of gold, each piece shall be tagged with a serial number for identification.
- During the processes and tests of the purity of gold, each piece shall be thoroughly checked for the absence or presence of harmful and prohibited metals or elements such as Cadmium, Iridium, Ruthenium, and Osmium.
- Consent for the sampling of the gold shall be attained from the consumer and be conducted in a way wherein, the gold piece does not suffer any damage or damage is kept to a minimum.
- If the consumer so desires, a report shall be issued based on XRF (a machine to detect metals) reports, however, the report should mention that the purity levels reported by the XRF machinery may vary by +5 points.
- Cornets and remnants of the jewelry, if any, shall be returned to the consumer who brought the gold commodity for testing of purity shall be returned on the same day to the consumer. In case of delay in the testing of purity and fineness, the gold commodity shall be returned to the consumer on the very next day.
- Rs. 45/- shall be charged for the testing of purity and fineness per gold article. However, the minimum slot for testing of purity and fineness shall be Rs. 200/-
- Before the commencement of the test of purity and fineness, the following shall be explained and informed to the consumer and the same shall be put up on a notice board in the government-authorized testing laboratories.
The following shall be informed and put up on the information board:
- The purity of test and fineness shall be conducted in two phases namely, the XRF method and the Fire assay method
- XRF method is a preliminary method which gives helps to detect gold contents on the surface only and may or may not represent the average purity of the gold commodity. It is a non-destructive method.
- The fire assay method is the most common and widely used method for the testing of a gold article. Though it is a destructive method, it produces accurate results.
- Only 300gms-500gms of gold is required for the fire assay method and therefore, the said quantity shall be removed from the gold commodity for testing.
- Upon completion of the tests for purity and fineness, the remaining and resulting cornets and remnants shall be returned to the consumer along with the entire slot of the gold commodity they had brought for testing.
- After the completion of tests, a difference in weight and sample amount may or may not be noticed since the entire gold alloy is taken for testing and upon the completion of tests, only pure gold cornets and remnants from the sample of the gold commodity shall remain.
- To take the sample from the gold commodity, the government-authorized official shall scrape, drill or cut depending on the size of the gold article. Utmost precautions shall be taken by the official to ensure minimal damage to the commodity, however, there is still a chance of slight damage to the gold ornament or commodity while drawing a sample.
- The charges for testing of purity and fineness shall be Rs. 45/- per article but the charges for slot shall be a minimum of Rs. 200/-
What Would Happen If You Were Sold An Un-Hallmarked Jewellery?
The mandate of BIS hallmarking was enforced in 2021. Hallmarking of the gold mandate is applicable to every jeweler selling to a consumer however, the consumer may sell their non-hallmarked jewelry. The jeweler may then melt the Jewelry and produce 22, 18, or 14-carat ornaments and get them hallmarked before selling them to a consumer.
Hallmark enables consumers to make a conscious and right decision and protect themselves from being duped and cheated on. The BIS Hallmarking process enhances the credibility of the gold jeweler and customer satisfaction.
According to the rules and regulations of the Bureau of Indian Standards, if the gold article is not up to the relevant standards set by the Bureau of the Indian Standards for hallmarking of gold, the consumer is entitled to compensation for the same and the amount shall be two times of the amount of difference of shortage of purity in accordance of the weight of the article; inclusive of testing charges.
What Is The Process Of Filing For A Complaint For Un-Hallmarked Gold
The Bureau of Indian Standards follows a very well-established complaint redressal procedure. The complaints are centrally registered at the department of Complaints Management and Enforcement Department. The consumers have an option of filing the complaint online or offline or through the BIS mobile application aptly named ‘BIS Care’. Online Complaints could be registered on the official web portal by sending an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A complaint could also be registered by writing to or contacting the public grievance officer of the nearest branch of the Bureau of Indian Standard or you could even contact or write a complaint directly to the head of the Complaints Management and Enforcement Department.
On receiving a complaint from a consumer, a receipt is made, and thereafter, further investigations are made. Upon investigation, if the Bureau finds default in the jeweler’s business, further actions are taken for redressal.
The Bureau of Indian Standards hallmarking is the precise determination and recording of the contents of a gold commodity. BIS Hallmarks are the official stamps, authorized by the government of India, put on the gold commodity after conducting essential tests for purity and Fineness of the commodity which ensures the quality of the gold and ensures protection of the consumer. The aim and objective of the rules and regulations brought on by the mandate of hallmark are to protect consumers against adulteration and to compel jewelers to follow and maintain the legalized standards set by the government of India. The Bureau of Indian standards follows a thorough test sequence to produce results of precision for the percentage of other metals in the gold alloy and ensures redressed upon finding default thus protecting the consumers.
This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.
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