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Business News/ Money / Calculators/  Why looking at the hallmark is important when buying gold jewellery
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Why looking at the hallmark is important when buying gold jewellery

A hallmark consists of carat, stamp of BIS, hallmarking centre's mark, year of mark and jeweller's identification mark

Photo: Pradeep Gaur/MintPremium
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

It is festival time and television, social media and billboards are all splattered with advertisements of gold jewellery.

But how do you assess the purity of that gold neckpiece that you are planning to buy? Look at the hallmark on the jewellery. Hallmark certifies the purity of gold and here is how you can decode it.

In India, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the accreditation agency which certifies and hallmarks gold jewellery. A hallmark consists of carat, stamp of BIS, hallmarking centre’s mark, year of mark and jeweller’s identification mark.

Carat indicates the purity of the metal. The purest form of gold is 24 carat or 24k. However, typically 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 also helps determine the price of jewellery, even if it does not carry a price tag. You can get a sense of the price of a piece of jewellery by getting the piece weighed and then comparing it’s selling price with the day’s rate of gold, which is usually displayed by most jewellers. So, assuming that the rate of 10g gold is Rs30,000, the price of a 10g piece of 22k gold would be 91.6% of 24k gold, or about Rs27,500.

Over and above all these costs come the making charges. These charges can be anywhere between 8% and 25% of the cost of gold. This would depend on how intricate, or detailed, the work is. This is also your bargaining window. If you feel the labour charges do not match the work on your jewellery, bargain.

Stamp of BIS, i.e a triangle, means that the jewellery has been assessed and stamped by the authority. There are licensed hallmarking or assaying centres that hallmark the jewellery so their mark is also there on the piece of jewellery. It also contains the year of hallmarking the jewellery and the mark of the jeweller. 

Since hallmarking in India is optional, some jewellers may carry their personal hallmark or have no hallmark at all. Mint Money recommends that you look for the BIS stamp as it is widely accepted. Also, keep in mind that the cost of hallmarking is nominal and hence it doesn’t impact the price of the jewellery at all. 

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Updated: 18 Oct 2017, 05:08 PM IST
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