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Know what you need to check while buying gold jewellery


Come 1 June, and jewellers will be able to sell only hallmarked gold jewellery. The government had initially made hallmarking compulsory from 15 January 2020. However the deadline was extended considering the circumstances that arose due to covid-19. Now, consumer affairs secretary Leena Nandan has said no extension of deadline has been sought and that gold hallmarking will become mandatory from 1 June.

Surendra Mehta, the national secretary of India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), though, has said the association will be seeking an extension of deadline as jewellers will not be able to comply with the deadline as they are stuck with old stock they were unable to sell due to covid-19. Under the new regulations, jewellers can only sell gold jewellery with hallmarking of 14, 18 and 22 caratage.

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It remains to be seen whether the government will extend the deadline or not. However, if you are planning to buy gold jewellery, it will anyways be advisable to buy hallmarked jewellery.

Let us understand how one can verify whether a piece of jewellery is hallmarked or not:

Hallmark is basically a certification of purity given by assaying and hallmarking centres (AHCs) accredited by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). A jeweller selling hallmarked jewellery has to necessarily get a licence from BIS before they get their jewellery or artefact hallmarked at any BIS-recognized assaying and hallmarking centres.

The purity of gold is measured in caratage. While 24-carat (K) gold is considered the purest, it can’t be used for making jewellery as it is too soft. Hallmarking of jewellery is done in three categories of caratage—14K, 18K and 22K—which are suitable for making jewellery. In percentage terms, 14K denotes 58.5% purity (hallmarked as 14K585), 18K denotes 75% purity (hallmarked as 18K750) and 22K denotes 91.6% purity (hallmarked as 22K916).

You need to check three marks on hallmarked jewellery—purity of caratage, assaying, hallmarking centre’s identification mark, and the jeweller’s identification mark/number.

The hallmarked caratage and the day’s price of gold can help determine the estimated price of the jewellery you buy. So if the price of 10gm gold of 24K is Rs30,000 and you are buying 22K jewellery of 10gm gold, its price would be 91.6% of Rs30,000, or Rs27,480. The jeweller may add making charges plus taxes to the price of gold.

So, the next time you go to buy jewellery, it is better to buy a hallmarked one.

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