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Hallmark Gold does not mean 100% purity

Often people confuse that if there is a Hallmark on any gold article, it is made of "pure gold".

No. Hallmark does not mean that the jewellery, bar or coin is of 24 carat gold. Rather, it indicates the "level of purity" i.e. whether it is 24 carat, 22 carat, 18 carat or whatever.

As such, it is important to understand what exactly the Hallmark on any gold article denotes.

Hallmark is a third-party certification managed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

It accurately determines and records the proportionate content of gold in any item of gold such as jewellery, coin or bar. It protects the innocent customer from being sold an impure and adulterated gold article. It gives confidence to the buyer that he is paying the right price for the right product.

Hallmarking is a voluntary scheme, wherein the jewellers are first granted a licence for certification of purity of gold. The licensee jewellers can then get their jewellery hallmarked through any of the BIS-recognized Assaying and Hallmarking centres.

The HALLMARK, which is done either using punches or laser marking machine, comprises FIVE COMPONENTS as shown below:

BIS Logo
Assaying and Hallmarking Centre's Mark
Year of Marking
Jewellers Identification Mark

1st Hallmark Component : BIS Logo

The first symbol that you will see is the logo or mark of the Bureau of Indian Standards.

2nd Hallmark Component : Purity or Fineness

Next comes a number, which is the most important component of the Hallmark. It denotes the purity of gold used, as under:

     999 : Corresponding to Pure 24 Carat Gold
     958 : Corresponding to 23 Carat
     916 : Corresponding to 22 Carat
     875 : Corresponding to 21 Carat
     750 : Corresponding to 18 Carat
     708 : Corresponding to 17 Carat
     585 : Corresponding to 14 Carat
     375 : Corresponding to 9 Carat

3rd Hallmark Component : Logo of the BIS-recognized Hallmarking / Assaying Centre

This represents the BIS approved Centre for Assaying and Hallmarking where the particular gold item has been evaluated and hallmarked.

4th Hallmark Component : Year of Marking

The 'year or marking' is represented by an alphabet... starting with ‘A’ for the year 2000, 'B' for 2001, 'C' for 2002, ‘R’ for 2013 and so on...

5th Hallmark Component : Jewellers' Identification Mark

This is the Jewellers' own logo or mark that identifies the particular jeweller.

Important Points to Note
1. Since the charges for hallmarking are very nominal (Rs.25 per article and minimum Rs.150 for a consignment), don't be misled by jewellers that gold articles become expensive because of hallmarking.

2. Since KDM jewellery is not Hallmarked, the purity of such jewellery cannot be ensured.

3. It takes about 5-6 hours to check the purity of any the gold article. So don't expect instant Hallmarking.

4. Needless to mention, you must buy Hallmarked jewellery only from the BIS Licensed jewellers.

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