Hallmark on gold jewellery lends credibility to the purity of gold. It tells you the percentage of purity, among other things. The percentage of purity is important as the price that you pay hinges on it. Also, hallmarked jewellery is much easier to sell since the buyer is assured of the quality. Here is how you can decode the hallmark.
In India, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the accreditation agency which certifies and hallmark gold jewellery and other precious metals. A hallmark consists of carat, stamp of BIS, year of mark and jeweller’s identification mark.
Carat indicates the percentage of purity of the metal. For instance, the purest form of gold is one which is 24 carat, or 24k. So a 24k means that the gold content is 100%. However, to lend some strength to the metal, ornaments are made of gold whose purity ranges from 18k to 22k. In percentage terms, 18k would mean 75% purity (denoted by 750) and 22k would mean 91.6% (denoted by 916) purity.
Carat can also help in determining the price of a jewellery. Good retail shops, who don’t sell on maximum retail price, will have the bullion rate on display for 24k, 22k and even 18k gold.
Apart from the bullion price, jewellers also charge making charges which can be bargained.
Stamp of BIS and year of mark
These are other prominent inscriptions on your ornament. Stamp of BIS, i.e a triangle, means that the jewellery has been assessed and stamped by the authority and hence you can be sure of the purity. BIS also stamps the year of hallmarking the jewellery. Jewellers also carry their personal hallmark which includes year of make and purity of the metal. However, look for the BIS stamp as it is widely accepted.
Jeweller’s identification mark
The BIS hallmark also carries the jeweller’s stamp to indicate that the jeweller is BIS certified. BIS certification is very cheap compared with what you pay for the precious metal. It is around Rs 2 per g of gold.