Mandatory Gold Hallmarking Brings Immense Benefits To Both Customers and Jewelry Retail Trade From the trade perspective, compulsory hallmarking will also benefit gold jewellery retailers immensely

By Ahammed M.P.

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Mandatory hallmarking of gold jewelry and artefacts is a major step towards implementing gold purity standardization, making jewelry retail trade organized and safeguarding consumer interest. The decision of the ministry of consumer affairs to make gold hallmarking compulsory is in line with the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 which upholds various consumer rights to ensure value for money for buyers while purchasing products for consumption.

It's a historic phase in the mission to safeguard rights of the buyers of gold jewelry and artefacts. Compulsory hallmarking will empower the consumers and root out retail malpractices under which a section of unscrupulous retailers deceive gullible customers with jewelry made of inferior quality of gold under the garb of discounted price. Hence, compulsory hallmarking is in the best interest of buyers of gold and gold articles, as it offers legal protection to the consumers against any act of cheating.

As a matter of fact, gold used in jewelry or other artefacts is not of optimum purity. Gold as a metal is fragile in nature and is susceptible to breaking. During manufacturing, metals such as zinc, silver, etc., are mixed with gold to ensure strength and durability. That's why gold jewelry can withstand the daily wear-and-tear. On the basis of the quantity of other metals present in gold, the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) has categorized gold into various purity levels such as 18 carat, 22 carat, etc. In gold of 22 carat purity level, each gram of gold should have 91.6 per cent pure metal. Similarly, in 18 carat must contain 75 per cent pure gold and 14 carat should consist of 58.5 per cent pure gold.

However, the best practices of gold jewelry were not being practiced by a section of jewellers. The new announcement on mandatory hallmarking ensures that the purity standards stipulated by BIS are strictly implemented. The decision will make the trade organized.

To help jewellers comply with the compulsory hallmarking norms, the government has authorised a number of assaying marking agencies to carry out gold purity testing and issue purity level certificates. As per the rule, every hallmarked article should have the BIS hallmark label along with purity of gold clearly mentioned. In addition, names of the hallmarking agency should also be compulsorily mentioned on jewellery. The detailed label will help the law enforcement agencies track all the participants involved in the hallmarking process in case of any wrongdoing. In future, the hallmarked gold jewellery and artefact will have a six digit unique identification number (HUID) as well.

There are concerns in the trade that the number of assaying marking agencies to certify the purity of gold won't be able to cater to the increased hallmarking demand. But, in my opinion, that view is incorrect. There are 965 hallmarking centres in the country and most of them are not functioning to full capacity. The process of getting gold jewellery and gold artefacts hallmarked won't face any bottleneck if the services of those hallmarking centres are properly utilized.

As hallmarking makes quality compliance mandatory, it will eventually weed out gold smuggling menace. If the government implements e-governance and tracking facilities to prevent violation of law, it will be able to get rid of illegal gold trade.

Thanks to mandatory hallmarking, consumers are set to reap multiple benefits. Firstly, the buyers are assured of the purity of gold they buy. Secondly, it will offer them higher resale or exchange value of gold articles as quality standardization will lead to price parity. And more importantly, it offers legal protection to buyers of gold and gold articles.

From the trade perspective, compulsory hallmarking will also benefit gold jewellery retailers immensely. By selling hallmarked gold, retailers will be able to strengthen the consumer trust, the foundation of a sustainable business growth. Therefore, the industry as a whole should endorse compulsory gold hallmarking.

Ahammed M.P.

Chairman, Malabar Gold & Diamonds

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