India has a unique love for gold. Gold symbolizes auspiciousness and richness. It is an integral part of the lives of most Indians. The value of gold is what it is because of the ease of liquidity attached to it. Thus, there is a major concern of its purity. The hallmark is the symbol of its purity and authenticity. It determines and authorizes the content of precious metal in the precious metal articles. These are used in many countries as an official sign or mark as a proof of authenticity. It protects the consumers' rights against adulteration and fraud in precious metals and gems. There are different hallmarks in the country. BIS is one of them.
BIS hallmark is a scheme that is in line with international criteria in hallmarking. The scheme grants registration to the jewelers. So that, they can get their jewelry hallmarked from any of the BIS-recognized hallmarking centers. BIS is the acronym for Bureau of Indian Standards. From Jan. 15th 2021, it is a rile that no jeweler can sell gold without hallmarking.
Certain procedures need to be followed to obtain registration for the same.
- The online portal of BIS under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Government of India is available. Jewelers need to create an account on this portal.
- After account creation login using the credentials
- There you will find the registration form
- Upload mandatory documents such as proof of establishment, proof of address of firm premises, proof of identity of the signatory, map of the nearest landmark, proof of annual turnover, logo, and identification marks
- Pay the application fee (costs around Rs. 20,000)
- Get the Grant certificate of registration.
- You will receive a notification of the grant via SMS or email on your registered mobile phone number.
There are many hallmarking centers. These are authorized to issue hallmarks to jewelers. The list of centers is divided into regions. These are as follows:
- Central Region
- Northern Region
- Southern Region
- Eastern Region
- Western Region
As mentioned earlier BIS is one of the hallmarks. There are few others as well for the hallmarking of precious metals.
These are certain parameters that you should look before buying gold:
- BIS: Gold jewelry is hallmarked by BIS will have its logo to indicate its purity verified by its laboratory. According to the BIS it is the only agency licensed by the government to ensure purity in any kind of gold article. Moreover, BIS hallmarking scheme is voluntary so anyone can offer their own marking in-house hallmarking which is not verified by BIS. So before purchasing the jewelry you must confirm if it is BIS hallmarked or not.
22K916: Karat and fineness number is another measure of the purity of gold. 24KT is considered to be the purest form of gold but since it is too soft to be moulded into any jewelry it is mixed with other metals such as silver or zinc to make a jewelry. Fineness number is the measure in terms of purity in parts per thousand.
- 22K916 – For 22 Karat
- 18K750 – For 18 Karat
- 14K585 – For 14 Karat
- Assaying Centre's Identification Mark:
- Mark of Jeweler: The Jewelers who sell the jewelry also put their identification mark. The mark can be put on by a BIS certified jeweler.
How is the Hallmarking Done?
The hallmarking process is carried out in 3 major steps:
- Homogeneity testing
- Purity Testing
- Individual Items Marking
In the first phase of homogeneity testing all the item samples are checked so as to ensure that they all comply with the BIS regulatory standards.
In the second stage of purity testing a detailed analysis is carried out. As a start 1 out of 50 similar samples is randomly selected. After that a preliminary test is carried out on the surface of each item for further detailed examination. Lastly an assay test is conducted to find out the value, purity and fineness of the sample.
Then the final step of hallmarking is done using laser, press or hand marking based on the results obtained.
The government of India had submitted notices to the hallmarking and assaying centers to shift to the BIS hallmark in June 2020. They were supposed to register with the BIS. This concludes that BIS is the certified hallmark for gold. Make sure to see your gold is having the BIS hallmark.