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New Hallmark in India: How It is Impacting Gold Buyers and Why It Becomes Tough for the Jewellers

30 July, 2022
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New Hallmark in India: How It is Impacting Gold Buyers and Why It Becomes Tough for the Jewellers

Hallmark is an official mark used to ensure the purity or quality of precious metal products. One can best explain hallmarking as the precise assessment and official documentation of the proportionate quantity of precious metals in the particular metal items category, according to Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) guidelines.

It is mandatory now to sell gold jewellery and artifacts made in 14K, 18K, and 22K. Several steps have been taken to alter Indian Standards to allow for the hallmarking of other caratages. This post will examine many such questions about how it affects gold buyers and why it gets hard for the jewellers. Understand such factors for a better and more accurate assessment of the precious metals.

The Meaning of Hallmark Gold

When purchasing gold, purity is always the first factor to consider when buying precious metal. Don't forget that it is only certified gold and not hallmark Gold. A hallmark is a stamp applied by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on a gold certificate certifying its purity and fineness. A hallmark on the metal demonstrates that the purity requirements for gold used to make jewellery are met. Therefore one should buy it with peace of mind for not being duped anyway. The Indian government authorizes only one organization to run the certification program for gold jewellery hallmarking: the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standard) Act, which governs how the hallmarking certification program is run, is in effect.

Impact on Gold Buyers: Why It Becomes Tough for Jewellers & How They Can Counter It?

Indian gold jewellery sales have changed drastically due to the new hallmarking regulations launched in the recent past. As a result of new rules established by the union government, jewellers are now required to mark their gold as genuine as possible to sell under the proper mechanism and regulation followed and adhered to without fail. However, for the time being, jewellers can still purchase old gold. The security of buying genuine gold will be provided going forward by this.

Customers are guaranteed the purity of the precious metal by the hallmarking of gold jewellery. Ironically, only 30% of the gold jewellery made in India has a hallmark. The segment should become more authentic and professional due to the new standards that will undoubtedly have ample impact. World Gold Council highlights that there are around 4 lakh jewellers in India. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has certified just 35879 of them. It is a question that remains unanswered.

New Hallmark in India: How It is Impacting Gold Buyers

Furthermore, each piece of hallmarked jewellery has its own Hallmarking Unique ID or HUID. An alphanumeric six-digit code is called a HUID. During the hallmarking process, this ID would be provided for overall assessment. The new unrest has this in its sights. According to some insiders in the sector, is the certification process for jewellery being held up by HUID. It will be implemented in 256 districts in the first stage. The government has agreed, considering it will bring a new dawn in the sector. Assaying marking centres exist in these regions already. The new mandatory hallmarking method would not apply to jewellers whose yearly sales are less than Rs. 40 lakhs. Many such aspects are associated with the new rules.

Midway through June 2021, India implemented a requirement for gold jewellery to bear a hallmark. Since then, more than a month ago, an increase in jewellers signing up with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to offer hallmarked jewellery has been observed. Therefore, 74,000 was doubled from the original figure. The Indian jewellery industry is attempting to adapt to the new restrictions, but the process is taking a long time.

What did GJC say?

In a brief period, the union government put the rules into effect, which took the jewellers off guard in India. Therefore, the enterprises did not have much opportunity to prepare for the new ecology they perhaps didn't expect. This judgment confused severe dissatisfaction amongst the traders and disruption among jewellers. According to a formal statement of the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), this fact came to the forefront.

GJC added that the government left out several crucial things that could be addressed thoroughly and systematically. The union government and industry stakeholders met on June 15, 2021, and these topics were covered during the meeting. Ashish Pethe, the GJC's chairman, emphasized, "The BIS website's FAQs still don't adequately address the crucial issue that jewellers only need to register once and don't need to renew their registration. A crucial detail omitted regarding the first point of sale is the only place where hallmarking is applicable."

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An odd issue in Himachal

Only two active AHCs—one in each of Kangra and Mandi—are present despite the mountainous state having almost 4,000 jewellers. The jewellers and karigars (goldsmiths) in other areas in the state that do not yet have any hallmarking centres are at a loss.

The jewellers also indicated that the secretary of the Jewellers Association of Shimla, and president of the Sarafa Swarnkar Sangh, HP pointed out those elements. The process will take longer because each article has a six-digit alphanumeric HUID. More factors need to be taken into account after that. An investment of about Rs 60 lakh is required to open an AHC. The person opening the centre invests just Rs 6 lakh because the government covers 90% of the costs of setting up an AHC. It is a relief indeed.

In Solan, a jeweller further adds, "many local jewellers would prefer to acquire jewellery that is already hallmarked since all jewellery will have to be hallmarked and there are no AHCs nearby; the closest one is in Chandigarh, located at a distance of 60 km from there. It will impact the livelihood of neighbourhood karigars, many of whom have already relocated to other cities like Kolkata in West Bengal to find more employment there. Local karigars manufacture a large portion of the jewellery that people usually own. It won't be long before the area is devoid of skilled craftspeople. Such facts can't be ruled out. He continues, "a hallmarking centre near to the district is crucial to saving the livelihood of local craftsmen," about the lack of a platform, unlike jewellers' associations, that can advocate for people who work as artisans and craftsmen.

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Impact on Gold Jewellers

The need for jewellers to tag each piece of jewellery with a unique ID and upload the information to the BIS website will make things difficult for them. After that, it can be sent to "Assaying and Hallmarking Centers," or AHCs, for hallmarking. The jewellers will also be involved, in addition to the AHCs. This choice, however, was made following repeated postponements and discussions with various industry stakeholders. In June 2018, The BIS Hallmarking Regulations became effective.

Over the past 1.5 months, the new laws have suspended 72 out of 933 AHCs. It is significant because the 72 assaying facilities in the nation have been in operation for many years. These are currently suspended, so that they may have violated the rules in the past.

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Observations of the Government

To ease the concerns of artisans and small jewellers, Satish Kumar, Scientist' F' and Regional Hallmarking Coordinating Officer (Northern Region), BIS, states, "contrary to these fears, hallmarking will benefit small jewellers since their products will be on par with big brands selling hallmarked jewellery. As long as they work for a jeweller, artists won't be impacted because they aren't required to have any jewellery hallmarked."

He continues by saying that any antique jewellery sitting around the house would not be affected by hallmarking. To exchange it, like before, take it to a jeweller. According to him, concerns about the viability of HUID have been addressed, and if any new ones arise, BIS will deal with them. More accountability and transparency are the primary goals, he continues.

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