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Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in gold. Hallmarks are thus official marks used in many countries as a guarantee of purity or fineness of gold jewellery.
One of the most sought after item by Indians is gold. Since ancient time, Gold is considered as a store house of value in India. Be it urban India or rural India, rich or poor India, each one tries to buy gold at the first available opportunity. Ladies always eye for this yellow metal. In an estimate India consumers over 500 tons of gold every year and 80% of this is used in jewellery manufacture. Rural India accounts for nearly 70% of Indian gold consumption. In India majority of jewellery is still manufactured in traditional method i.e. by hand using a mouth blowpipe with an oil or candle flame for soldering and melting and alloyed using charcoal furnaces.
However, the purity of gold has always been of great concern for households in India. We are all well aware that large scale sales of gold are prevalent in India which is far from pure gold. All over India corers of people are being cheated by jewellers. They can inflate prices on one pretext or other, but quality of gold content has certainly shown some improvement. However, in smaller towns where there is a tradition of family jewellers, who frankly speaking really betray the gullible poor customers. In the name that they are ready to buy back gold any time, they are able to sell gold with lots of impurities.
In order to solve above mentioned issue, Government of India’ has identified BIS a sole agency in India to operate this scheme. BIS hallmarking Scheme is voluntary in nature and is operating under BIS Act, Rules and Regulations. It operates on the basis of trust and thus it is desirable that aspect of quality control is in built in the system responsible for managing quality.
The BIS Hallmarking Scheme has been aligned with International criteria on hallmarking (Vienna Convention 1972). As per this scheme, license is granted to the jewellers by BIS under Hallmarking Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewelry hallmarked from any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre. The recognition to an Assaying and Hallmarking Centre is given against BIS criteria which is in line with International criteria on Marking and Control of Precious metals. Hallmarking will provide clear indication of his capability, strong evidence of commitment to quality and assurance of consistency in purity and quality of gold (or silver) jewellery. Hallmarking does not add to the cost of Gold jewelry because Hallmarking charges for gold jewellery are Rs.25/- per article only.
BIS hallmark for gold jewellery consists of five components:
- The BIS logo
- A three digit number (out of a set of six pre-defined values) indicating the purity of the gold
in part-per- thousand-format viz; 958, 916, 875, 750, 585, 375. Thus a BIS 916 hallmark
would certify to a purity of 916 per 1000, that is 91.6%, translating to a 22 carat purity
- Purity grade
958 Corresponding to 23 Carat
916 Corresponding to 22 Carat
875 Corresponding to 21 Carat
750Corresponding to 18 Carat
585 Corresponding to 14 Carat
375 Corresponding to 9 Carat
- Logo of the assaying centre
• A code denoting the year of hallmarking e.g.
‘A’ is 2000
‘B’ – 2001
‘C’ – 2002
‘D’ – 2003
‘E’ – 2004
‘F’ – 2005
‘G’ – 2006
‘H’ – 2007
‘J’ – 2008
‘K’ – 2009
‘L’ – 2010
‘M’ – 2011
- Logo/code of the jeweller
The marking is done either using punches or laser marking machine.
As per this scheme the jewelry retailer/manufacturer desirous of obtaining a license apply to BIS for use of Standard Mark (Hallmark) on their jewelry. If the application submitted with necessary documents and fees is found in order, license is granted to the jeweller within 7 working days.
After grant of license, the jeweller (retailer/manufacturer) has to follow a BIS approved Scheme for certification. A BIS certified jewellers (retailer/manufacturers) has right to register himself with any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centers to get his jewelry hallmarked. BIS maintains surveillance on the certified jewellers, at a defined periodicity. Market surveillance involves collection of hallmarked gold jewelry from licensee’s retail outlet/manufacturing premises and having it tested for conformity in BIS recognized Hallmarking Centre.
Deviations in degree of purity of fine metal and observance of operations not in conformance to the system may result in cancellation of BIS license, and evoke legal proceedings for penalties under the BIS Act, Rules and Regulations.
An Assaying Centre desirous of obtaining recognition shall apply to BIS along with their Quality Manual ensuring implementation of BIS criteria on hallmarking and Quality Management System by the Centre. After ensuring the adequacy of the Quality Manual documented by the Centre with respect to all the requirements of the BIS criteria and commitment of top Management to implement Quality Management system, a Preliminary Visit of the centre is planned by BIS.
The main objectives of the Preliminary visit are to verify the implementation level of Quality Management System and availability of infrastructure. An assessment of the centre is carried out by a team of trained/expert officials from BIS or from organizations of repute in India like India Govt. Mint (IGM). During the assessment, implementation of the documented system, availability of sampling and hallmarking facilities, availability of complete testing facilities as per IS 1417:1999 and IS 1418:1999, competence of manpower and their training, availability of adequate safety and security arrangement and commitment to follow BIS guidelines issued from time to time is ensured. Based on satisfactory assessment report of the assessment team, recognition is granted to a centre for a period of 3 years.
A BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre can register any of the BIS certified jewellers for the purpose of hallmarking. However, the Hallmarking of the Gold jewelry will be done only after ensuring the conformance of gold jewelry received from a particular jeweller with respect to declared fineness. The same is returned within 48 hrs. BIS maintains strict surveillance on the Hallmarking Centre during which visits are paid to the Centre and the purity/fineness of the hallmarked samples verified. The recognition of the hallmarking centre after 3 years is renewed based on the satisfactory performance during surveillance assessment.
Documents/Information Required for Hallmark certification:
- Memorandum of Article / Partnership Deed / Proprietorship firm
- Last Property Tax receipt / ownership of property/ Copy of rented property/ Colored Photograph of the Shop
- Location Map (Illustrative only) of Premises from some nearest prominent landmark
- Sales Tax / VAT registration copy
- Copy of the PAN /Copy of Income tax Returns for last two years
Application for License to Use the Hallmark:
- Full Name of Firm
- Factory/Sales Outlet
- Name & Address Designation Seal of Firm
- Contact Person, Tel. , Fax No. & E mail address, if any
- Correspondence Address
The application is made to use the BIS Hallmark on:
- Indian Standard
- Present Sale (Sale per Annum) or Present Installed Capacity (Production per Annum)
Any other BIS License held, if yes:
- License No.
- Details of Previous Cancellation/ Convictions, if any, under BIS Act
- I hereby accept Certification Fees and Hallmarking Charges
- IS No
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. What is Hallmarking?
Ans. Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in gold. Hallmarks are thus official marks used in many countries as a guarantee of purity or fineness of gold jewellery.
Hallmark has been acting as a safeguard to purchasers of gold and gold articles for centuries in various countries. In simple terms, Hallmark is a purity certification of gold articles in accordance with Indian Standard specifications.
Gold articles are evaluated and tested at an official Assaying and Hallmarking Centre and then certified that the metal used conforms to the national and international standard of fineness and purity.
Q2. What are the objectives behind instituting Hallmarking Scheme?
Ans. To protect consumer against victimization due to irregular gold quality, develop India as a leading gold market centre in the World and to develop export competitiveness.
Q3. What are the benefits to Customer?
Ans. Provide third party assurance and satisfaction that customer gets right purity of gold for the given price (value for money).
Q4. How will the jewelers benefits?
Ans. It will provide clear indication of his capability, strong evidence of commitment to quality and assurance of consistency in purity and quality of gold jewellery.
Q5. Who operates the Hallmarking Scheme?
Ans. . It is a voluntary scheme being operated by BIS under the BIS Act 1986. As per this scheme the license is granted to a jeweler for certification of purity of gold jewellery in accordance with IS 1417.BIS is operating the scheme through its network of Regional/ Branch Offices all over the country. A licensee jeweler has to go to get the jewellery hallmarked through any of the recognized Assaying and hallmarking centre.
Q6. What is the procedure for Grant of Recognition to Hallmarking Centers?
Ans. . The recognition of the Hallmarking Centre is done by BIS after ensuring that the Hallmarking Centre follows BIS guidelines which are in line with international norms for sampling and testing and also have adequate Test Facilities as per IS 1418, trained and competent manpower.
Q7. Who provides the hallmark in India?
Ans. The Bureau of Indian Standards, the country’a apex standards body, is involved in the development of technical standards (popularly known as Indian Standards), product quality and management system certifications and consumer affairs in all matters concerning standardisation, certification and quality.
The BIS hallmarking scheme has been aligned with international criteria on hallmarking (Vienna Convention 1972). As per this scheme, licence is granted to the jewellers by BIS under Product Certification Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centre.
Q8. What does hallmark consist of?
Ans. Hallmark consists of five components i.e. BIS Mark, the fineness number (corresponding to given caratage), Assaying and Hallmarking Centre’s mark, jeweller’s mark and year of marking denoted by a code letter and decided by BIS (e.g. code letter ‘A’ was approved by BIS for year 2000, ‘B’ being used for the year 2001 and ‘C’ for 2002). The marking is done either using punches or laser marking machine.
The BIS hallmark, a mark of conformity widely accepted by the consumer, bestows the additional confidence to the consumer on the purity of gold jewellery.
Q9. How does the hallmarking scheme operate?
Ans. As per this scheme the jewellery retailer/manufacturer desirous of obtaining a licence apply to BIS for use of Standard Mark (hallmark) on their jewellery. After registration, BIS officials conduct a preliminary inspection for verification of premises retailing/manufacturing, testing facilities and competence of testing personnel. A sample is drawn from the jewellers retail/manufacturing premises for independent testing. Based on the satisfactory preliminary inspection report and test report of the sample drawn during inspection, licence is granted to the jeweller.
Q10. What happens after a jeweller gets the license?
Ans. After getting the licence, the jeweller (retailer/manufacturer) has to follow a BIS approved scheme of testing and inspection on a continuing basis to have confidence in the homogeneity and purity of the gold jewellery offered for hallmarking.
A BIS certified jewellers (retailer/manufacturers) has right to register himself with any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centres to get his jewellery hallmarked. BIS maintains surveillance on the certified jewellers, at a defined periodicity. Market surveillance involves collection of hallmarked gold jewellery from licensee’s retail outlet/manufacturing premises and having it tested for conformity in BIS recognised Hallmarking Centre.
Q11. Can BIS cancel the Hallmarking license?
Ans. Yes. Deviations in degree of purity of fine metal and observance of operations not in conformance to the system may result in cancellation of BIS licence, and invoke legal proceedings for penalties under the BIS Act, Rules and Regulations.
Q12. What are the main objectives of Assaying and Hallmarking system?
Ans. The principal objective of assaying and hallmarking is to protect a consumer against victimization of irregular gold quality. Besides consumer satisfaction, hallmarking helps to create an export competitiveness of gold jewellery industry thus provide strong impetus for gold jewellery exports.
In addition, it develops gold based financial products that will help in mopping up the vast dormant gold resources lying with the household sector. It also helps develop India as a leading gold market centre in the world commensurate with its status as the topmost consumer.
Q13. What are the benefits of certified jewellers?
Ans. The jewelers with BIS license of Hallmark Gold Jewellery provide clear indication of their capabilities, strong evidence of their commitment to quality, assurance of consistence in purity and quality of gold jewellery.
It provides opportunity is to describe the way they maintain their standards for quality control and later demonstrate that they consistently do what they claim. It provides international competitiveness and enhanced customer satisfaction. It also provides third-party assurance and satisfaction that they have got the right purity of gold for the given price and protection against victimization of irregular gold quality/purity.
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