The Consumer Affairs Ministry on Thursday said that nearly 3.7 crore jewellery pieces have been hallmarked in the country between April 1-July 31. The government had introduced mandatory hallmarking norms last year in a phased manner, and said that in the 2021-22 period, nearly 8.68 jewellery articles have been hallmarked.

Hallmarking provides consumers third-party assurance and satisfaction that they get right purity of gold. The number of BIS registered jewellers have also increased from about 43,153 (July 1, 2021) to 1,43,497 as of August 1.

In an official statement, the Ministry said the number of recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centres have also increased to 1,220 as of July 1. Earlier there were only about 948 AHCs (as of July 1, 2021).

Earlier this year, the government also made provisions to allow common consumers to get the purity of their unhallmarked gold jewellery tested at any of the BIS recognised AHCs. It also brought in a scheme to allow existing AHCs to set up Off Site Centres (OSC) to increase their reach and facilitate jewellers and consumers.

Public vulnerable to adulteration

“Government of India took cognizance of the need to protect consumers and decided to make Hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts mandatory as gold is too soft to withstand wear tear, therefore, for jewellery making, gold is always alloyed with some other metal. The need for alloying of gold also makes the public extremely vulnerable to excessive adulteration and detection of adulteration in gold is difficult without performing technical tests. The common consumer though well aware of such practices, has no option but to depend on the assurances given by traders,” it stated.

Under the Hallmarking Scheme of BIS, registration is granted to jewellers for selling hallmarked jewellery and recognition is given to AHCs for hallmarking jewellery based on purity observed during testing. Mandatory hallmarking norms were implemented with effect from June 23 in 256 districts having at least one Assaying and Hallmarking Centre.

In the second phase,mandatory hallmarking was implemented from June 1, 2022, and covers an additional 32 districts under the mandatory hallmarking regime wherein an AHC has been set up post implementation of the first phase of the mandatory hallmarking order. While in the first phase, gold articles of 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat was covered, now even 20 carat, 23 carat and 24 carat are covered under the mandatory hallmarking norms.