With the government deciding to make hallmarking of jewellery and artefacts mandatory from January 2021, the jewellery sector expects the step to boost consumers’ trust and bring in much-needed transparency in the sector.

Hallmarking is a purity certification of precious metals and it is a voluntary process at present. Though the Bureau of Indian Standards has a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery since April 2000, currently only 40 per cent of gold and silver jewellery are hallmarked.

Mandatory hallmarking

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts will be made mandatory across the country from January 15, 2021 to ensure the purity of precious metals.

A notification in this regard will be issued on January 15 next year and the decision will come into effect after a year, making it compulsory for all the jewellers to register with the BIS and sell only hallmarked gold jewellery and artefacts. The BIS has formulated standards for hallmarking gold jewellery in three grades – 14 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat. Somasundaram PR, Managing Director (India), World Gold Council, said the long overdue decision of the government would bring trust back to the gold industry, benefiting consumers and trade alike.

Mandatory hallmarking will lead to more jobs in assaying and purity verification which in turn will support the gold monetisation scheme. The period of one year to transition takes into account business realities and is very supportive of trade, he said.

Uniformity needed

Ahammed MP, Chairman, Malabar Gold and Diamonds said there could be an immediate impact on sales and supply due to compulsory purity compliance of the inventory.

The government should ensure that the hallmarking centres follow best practices while assaying the jewellery to ensure uniformity, he said. The government should introduce digital tracking mechanism to check the movement of hallmarked jewellery to curb the menace of unauthorised transactions, he added.

Vaibhav Saraf, Director, Aisshpra Gems and Jewels said the key to successful implementation of mandatory hallmarking will be to eliminate fake hallmarking centres and rapid expansion in number of centres.

Quoting a World Gold Council survey, Tanya Rastogi, Director, Indian Bullion Jewellers Association and Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers. said about 56 per cent of consumers refrain from investing in gold due to mistrust and the mandatory hallmarking would go a long way in attracting these consumers.

Need more centres

Ishu Datwani, Founder, Anmol, said the industry needs more hallmarking centres to be set up, so that hallmarking facility is made more accessible to jewellers.

As on October-end, there were 877 assaying and hallmarking centres spread across 234 districts and 26,019 jewellers have taken BIS registration.