Concerns over goldsmiths and artisans in small towns not having or getting the six-digit hallmarking unique identification number (HUID) for gold jewellery are misplaced. 

Also, only one-third of the districts in the country having the requisite infrastructure to provide hallmarking is not an issue to be worried about, say industry experts and sources. 

Mandatory from April 1

“These sort of arguments against HUID for gold jewellery are misleading. A picture is being painted as if goldsmiths in rural areas will suffer due to this but this is not correct,” said an industry source, who did not wish to be quoted.

From April 1, the Centre made it mandatory for all gold jewellery sold in the country to bear HUID.  The Government, however, has given time to jewellers till July 1 to clear their old jewellery items that do not have the HUID. 

The HUID requires each gold item to get stamped with the six-digit number which will ensure there is no malpractice and gives confidence to consumers on the purity of the product they buy. 

Hallmarking of gold jewellery became mandatory from June 23, 2021 and since then millions of jewellery articles have been hallmarked.

Coming from clusters

Lakhs of jewellers, too, have registered themselves with the Bureau of Indian Standards for hallmarking gold jewellery. The registration, free of cost, will be valid for lifetime, the Government said.

“For a jeweller, each product comes from a different artisan. One can come from a rural area, one from his neighbour and another from a different State. So, there is no need for an artisan or goldsmith to register for a HUID,” the source said. 

Currently, 95 per cent of the jewellery sold all over the country, even in districts that don’t have a hallmarking centre, comes from the main manufacturing clusters of Mumbai, Jaipur, and Kolkata, said Colin Shah, Managing Director, Kama Jewellery.

Industry sources said artisans and goldsmiths work on conversion basis. “They do not invest to buy gold and then make a jewel out of it,” the source said. 

Credibility at stake

According to Ankit Gala, Managing Director, Antara Jewellery, consumers can sell their old un-hallmarked jewellery to the jeweller who in turn may melt and make a new jewellery out of it. This can be hallmarked with UID before reselling.

If jewellery is sold, it can be recycled and moulded into new jewellery with a proper hallmarked ID, said Shah.

According to sources, a jeweller sources jewels from various artisans and goldsmiths. “Before the jewel is sold, the jeweller gets it hallmarked. The jeweller would want to check the product himself before getting the HUID and selling it because his credibility is at stake,” a source said.   

The source said it is not necessary for all the 788 districts in the country to have the infrastructure to provide hallmarking. 

Shah said the infrastructure is ample for the hallmarking of jewellery as there are over 1,500 centres. “Currently, 340 districts are under voluntary hallmarking. The remaining regions will soon start hallmarking jewellery,” he said. 

Gala said BIS should establish more assaying centres in each district for smoother and faster implementation of hallmarking.

In long-term consumer interest 

Shah said hallmarking and standardisation are in the long-term interest of all consumers. “A wealth-creating asset needs a robust policy and business framework,” he said.

Gala concurred with Shah’s view, saying the government, with this regulation, would safeguard and protect consumers.

Industry sources pointed out some exemptions in hallmarking and said it could also benefit artisans and goldsmiths.

According to the BIS, certain types of gold jewellery are exempt from hallmarking, including gold articles weighing less two grams, any article of gold thread, special categories of jewellery - Kundan, Polki and Jadaau, gold watch and fountain pen and gold bullion in any shape of bar, plate, sheet, foil, rod, wire, strip, tube or coin.

Also articles intended to be used for medical, dental, veterinary, scientific or industrial purposes are exempt from hallmarking.

“All the din and bustle raised against gold hallmarking will die a natural death in 4-5 years,” said the source.