Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan has announced yesterday (January 14, 2020) that no jeweller will be allowed to sell gold jewellery or artefacts without hallmark from the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) from January 15, 2021.
Jewellery made of 14, 18 and 22 carat gold, if sold without a BIS hallmark, would attract a huge penalty and even imprisonment. The penalty may be worth five times the cost of the object and the imprisonment up to one year.
Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the precious metal and is voluntary in nature at present. The BIS is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000 and around 40% of gold jewellery is being hallmarked currently.
Mr. Paswan added, “This will become mandatory from January 15, 2021. We will give one year time for implementation. Jewellers will be allowed to sell only 14, 18 and 22-carat gold jewellery. Instead of 10 grades earlier, hallmarked gold jewellery will now be available in Three grades- 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat.”
BIS Scientist R.S. Pasriche has remarked, “There are only 28849 jewellers so far registered with us. We don’t have an exact estimate of the number of jewellers in the country but it could be 3-4 lakhs. The BIS will also be expanding its hallmarking centres. So far there are 892 centres across the country. Each district will now get one.”
Consumers have to look out for four marks on hallmarked gold jewellery: BIS mark, purity in carat, assay centre’s name and jewellers’ identification mark.
Mr. Paswan further said that people who want to exchange their old gold jewellery which doesn’t carry a hallmark won’t be troubled. This is only for jewellers who are selling new gold items and the customers shall not be harassed unnecessarily. Compulsory hallmarking will protect the public against lower cartage and ensure consumers do not get cheated while buying gold ornaments and get the purity as marked on the ornaments.
Author: Swetalana Rout