No iridium in Kerala jewellery, court told

K. C. Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on December 06, 2013

A study conducted by the Bureau of Indian Standards did not reveal any presence of iridium and ruthenium in gold ornaments in the state as is being widely speculated, according to a submission made by the BIS in the Kerala High Court.

BIS Thiruvananthapuram got 69 samples collected from jewellers examined and none of the samples was found mixed with iridium and ruthenium. The BIS told a division bench that even if either of the metals is present in jewellery, it would not pose any health hazard to the wearers as neither of them is radioactive, according to experts in metallurgy

It also submitted that the use of hallmarking was optional. In fact, no law made it mandatory for jewellery to be hallmarked. Hallmarking of gold ornaments is voluntary no action can be taken against jewellers who did not do hallmarking, the court was told.

The Director General of BIS made the submission during a suo motu proceeding initiated by the court on the basis of a letter from N. Sanakara Menon of Kollam, who alleged that gold ornaments were mixed with highly carcinogenic metals such as iridium and ruthenium.

The BIS further submitted that a hallmark consists of five components i.e. BIS mark, the fineness number (corresponding to given caratage), assaying and hallmarking centre's mark, jeweller's identification mark and year of marking denoted by a code letter and decided by BIS. In fact, BIS marks are meant to maintain market surveillance on certified jewelleries on random basis.

 In view of the submission by the BIS, the bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M. Shaffique observed that there should not be any serious concern about the presence of iridium and ruthenium in gold ornaments. If any complaint was received about the adulteration of gold ornaments, BIS should take appropriate action, the court added, while disposing of the case.


Published on December 06, 2013

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