Is hallmarking compulsory for silver jewelery and coins?
With the Navratris behind, the festive season is now rapidly heading towards the Diwali festivities. Both Dhanteras and Diwali are considered auspicious days for buying jewelry. Therefore, several people prepare for a visit to jewelry stores. It is certain that when it comes to most gold ornaments, stores will only sell hallmarked items. But what about jewelry and silver coins?
What is punching?
Hallmarking, according to the Bureau of Indian Standards, refers to the precise determination and formal recording of the proportional content of precious metals in items made from these materials. In several countries, hallmarks serve as official marks guaranteeing the purity or fineness of articles made of precious metals. The main purpose of the hallmark system in India, which currently has only two precious metals – gold and silver – under its responsibility, is to protect the public against forgery. It also requires manufacturers to maintain legal fineness standards for these metals in the country.
Obligatory hallmarking of gold
The Government of India (GoI) made hallmarking of gold jewelery compulsory in mid-June last year. As of June 1, 2022, manufacturers became legally obligated to only sell hallmarked gold jewelry, regardless of purity. This also applies to white gold alloys.
While there is some degree of clarity regarding gold, people still have questions about silver jewelry and coins, both of which are quite popular in the market during the holiday season. It is important to note that the mandatory hallmarking rules in place for gold items do not apply to silver jewelry and coins. In fact, the mandatory hallmark does not apply to gold coins either as it only covers precious metal objects and jewelry.
Although manufacturers are not legally required to hallmark silver items, there is a provision allowing them to do so voluntarily. The government has also issued certain fineness and purity standards for marking silver ornaments. The six qualities of Indian silver, namely 990, 970, 925, 900, 835 and 800, correspond to 99, 97, 92.5, 90, 83.5 and 80% purity respectively.
According to BIS, consumers can have their jewelry or precious metal samples tested at one of the BIS recognized assay and hallmarking centers.
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