In June 2021, the government of India made hallmarking of jewellery mandatory for 14-, 18- and 22-karat gold jewellery and artefacts. Only Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)-registered jewellers at certified sales outlets can sell hallmarked jewellery.
However, what happens to the old un-hallmarked jewellery available in our households? Will jewellers continue to buy back old gold jewellery without the hallmark from consumers?
Here is the two-step process to get your old jewellery hallmarked:
If you have old un-hallmarked gold or silver jewellery, then you can follow either of the two options to get it hallmarked:
1: Old jewellery can be tested at any BIS-recognised Assaying and Hallmarking (A&H) Centre and hallmarked through a BIS-registered jeweller.
2: Old un-hallmarked jewellery can be melted to convert it into a new product, which can then be hallmarked by a BIS-recognised AHC
In order to get the old ornaments hallmarked, the BIS-registered jeweller will submit the old un-hallmarked jewellery for testing and hallmarking to a BIS-recognised A&H centre. After testing, the A&H centre will apply the hallmark on the jewellery, if it meets the requirement of the purity standard.
BIS has developed a digital solution in which the workflow at the A&H centre is automated. The jeweller submits the online request for hallmarking and the data for the entire process, including inward receipt and weight, XRF (X-ray fluorescence), sampling, fireassay and laser marking are monitored in real-time.
After testing, a unique six-digit alpha numerical code is generated from the BIS server for each jewellery article and is laser-marked by the A&H centre on the jewellery along with a BIS logo and purity mark.
Cost of hallmarking
Hallmarking charges for the jewellery are: Rs 35 per piece of gold jewellery and Rs 25 per piece of silver jewellery, irrespective of the weight.
The charge for testing gold jewellery for up to four articles (consignment) is Rs 200 and for five or more articles, an additional Rs 45 per article is charged.
No fee is charged from jewellers for grant of certificate or registration.
What is hallmarking?
According to the BIS, hallmarking defines “accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in the jewellery/artefacts or bullion/coins”.
Consumers can get their old jewellery tested from any BIS-authorised A&H centre. After testing, a report will be issued that will assure consumers of the purity and credibility of jewellery, along with accurate identifications.
The hallmark: Gold jewellery artefacts consist of three marks–BIS mark, purity in carat and fineness for gold (e.g. 22K916,18K750, 14K585); and a six-digit alphanumeric hallmark unique identification (HUID) code that is affixed with each hallmarked gold article.
What is HUID?
The HUID acts as an integral system of hallmarking to ensure traceability of certified precious articles in order to protect customers from being cheated. The HUID is given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking and it is unique for every piece.
At present, it is voluntary to mention the HUID number on the invoice.
How to identify jeweller’s name from HUID?
Customer can verify the authenticity and purity of the hallmarked gold jewellery items purchased with the HUID number, using ‘Verify HUID’ in the BIS CARE app and receive the jeweller-related information.
What will happen to old gold without a hallmark?
According to Pramod Kumar Tiwari, DG Bureau of Indian Standards, “Old jewellery without a hallmark can still be sold to jewellery shops or jewellers, who will then be responsible for hallmarking it or making new jewellery from it by maintaining standards.”
Is it mandatory to re-hallmark the already-hallmarked jewellery?
It is not necessary to re-hallmark the already-hallmarked jewellery after the introduction of a new hallmark with a six-digit code. In case, the hallmarked jewellery has an erased or damaged portion of the hallmarking, then it can be re-hallmarked after being subjected to the entire process of assaying and only if it is found to conform to the relevant Indian Standard. Exemptions under mandatory hallmarking:
- Gold articles weighing less than two grams and articles meant for export and re-import are exempted from hallmarking
- An article intended to be used for medical, dental, veterinary, scientific or industrial purposes
- Any article of gold thread
- An incomplete manufactured article
- Gold bullion in any shape of bar, plate, sheet, foil, rod, wire, strip, tube or coin
- Jewellery for government-approved international exhibitions and domestic B2B exhibitions
- Special categories of jewellery like — kundan, polki and jadaau
- Jewellers with an annual turnover of upto Rs 4 million per annum
- A gold watch and fountain pen
Can a jewellery with one or more metals mixed with gold be hallmarked?
If an alloy is made by mixing gold with one or more metals and if it is found conforming to the grades mentioned under the IS 1417, then the article will be covered under mandatory hallmarking.
Can BIS hallmark be fake?
To rule out the possibility of a fake BIS mark, check these four most important signs on your precious commodity:
- Jewellery hallmark must have a BIS logo
- Purity/Fineness grade: Caratage (22K915).
- Jewellers’ identification mark and A&H Centre’s identification mark or number
- HUID code