India is among the few nations where the demand for gold related items is quite massive. India is the second largest nation in the world in terms of gold supply chain. Before 2000, there was no viable framework to assure the quality of gold and its fineness. Considering this, the GOI, in association with BIS, came up with a marking system known as BIS hallmarking. Today, BIS hallmarking acts as a frontline standard to affirm the quality and fineness of gold-related commodities, including coins and jewellery. BIS mark on Gold items serves as a sign of quality and pureness.
What is the BIS mark on Gold, aka BIS Hallmarking?
The BIS hallmark refers to a hallmarking system for jewellery sold in India, be it Gold or silver. It certifies the metal’s purity and ensures that the same affirms the underlying norms of BIS.
BIS hallmarking aims at curbing the availability of fake ornaments that are otherwise fraudulently sold as Gold ornaments. BIS hallmarking refers to a certificate granted by the BIS, an apex regulator that formulates and enacts the quality standards for different products in India. It is noteworthy the government has mandated every jeweller in the country to put BIS mark on gold items from 15th January 2021.
What are the Signs of a BIS Hallmark?
As per the BIS, hallmarked gold products are stamped or inscribed with four components to affirm the Gold’s purity. These marks are as follows:
- The BIS logo
- Purity mark relating to fineness and karat
- The test and hallmarking centre’s number/logo
- The identification mark of the jeweller
Note: Before 1st January 2017, Gold hallmarks were also utilized to incorporate the marking year indicated by a code letter A.
BIS standard Logo
It refers to a triangular-shaped mark which implies that the purity of the given gold commodity is affirmed in one of the certified BIS labs. This logo is standard on every hallmarked gold item or coin.
This mark confirms the threshold of gold purity in that item implied in the following two ways:
- Fineness number
- Karat (denoted as KT or K) and
As per the BIS from 1st Jan 2017, hallmarking is done of 3 levels of gold karats- 14k, 18k, and 22k. Before that, hallmarking was applicable to more standards such as 9k, 17k, 21k, and 23k.
Fineness number is another viable method for quantifying the gold purity in PPT, i.e. Parts per thousand. Simply put, it is the % of pure Gold in the total gold alloy. Therefore, this implies a gold earring of purity 17 karats with a fineness of 91 shall be marked as 22k916. Similarly, 14 and 18 k gold jewellery products shall be marked as 14K585 and 18K750, respectively.
Assaying and Hallmarking Centre’s Mark
The third mark refers to a logo of hallmarking centre or the thirty party examinations where Gold is tested to affirm its purity. Only certified labs of BIS are permitted to examine the purity and affix this mark.
This is done to keep a consistent tab on the gold piece so that its tracking becomes easier in case of any discrepancies later. One can visit the BIS portal to check whether the given lab is certified or not.
Jeweller’s Identification Mark
The manufacturer or jeweller of the gold commodity also puts its mark on it. Each BIS accredited manufacturer or jeweller has a unique effect affixed to their jewellery or other related gold commodities. The BIS portal has the complete list of certified jewellers working under their purview.
Grant of BIS certificate to put a BIS mark on Gold items
Any jeweller intending to secure a Certificate of Registration for trading hallmarked products shall apply for BIS Certificate via a dedicated online portal. During online filing, the applicant is required to upload the following documentations.
- Proof of business
- Proof of address of the business
- Proof of identity relating to the signatory
- Map reflecting the location of premises in question from the nearest landmark
- Proof of annual business revenue
- Logo(s) / Identification Marks(s)
- CA Certificate
Upon application submission, the vetting procedure shall be initiated by the BIS designated official. The successful vetting process shall lead to the grant of certification.
Gold is an expensive metal. And just by barely looking at a gold jewellery or coin, it is hard to determine its exact purity and quality. A professional is required to facilitate that level of assurance. Without the affirmation of its quality and purity, a buyer may end up paying more than the exact price of that gold product or purchasing a fake product. But, once consumers can pinpoint all symbols of the BIS mark on the jewellery, they can be sure about the fineness and purity of the item. Moreover, selling or recycling gold items with BIS Hallmark is easier. There is no requirement to test the hallmarked items via a certified lab or obtain a jeweller’s certificate for them. Existence of BIS mark on gold items prevents end-users to look out for third-party inspection and purchase gold products more confidently.