Less than one-third of jewellers in Kerala have hallmarking licence

Representational image: Reuters

Kochi: Adulteration is rife in the jewellery sector and many consumers are short-changed as they buy gold or silver ornaments by spending a significant part of their hard-earned money. As the purity of bangles, chains, earrings and other ornaments made of the yellow metal are questionable the Central government has ordered mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts from June 1, 2021.

Though Kerala is among the leading States in hallmarking just 31 per cent jewelleries have so far obtained the hallmarking licence.

According to the data available with the Kochi office of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) about 3,700 jewelleries out of the 12,000 jewelleries in Kerala have this licence.

At the national level only 34,647 jewelleries have taken the licence. Five lakh traders are yet to obtain license.

After June 1 jewelleries will not be allowed to sell gold in the country without hallmarking.

Hallmarking is being made mandatory to ensure purity of gold ornaments. Hallmark licence is mandatory for traders with or without GST registration.

There are 980 hallmarking centres in the country. At the same time six states do not have hallmarking centres.

Kerala has 73 BIS recognized hallmarking centres.

Why hallmarking alone not enough

Hallmarking is the accurate measurement and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in articles made of precious metals.

About 100 percent of the gold ornaments (above two grams) sold in Kerala has the purity mark. Gold ornaments are sold in all jewelleries after getting quality mark inscribed at variuos hallmarking centres.

However, after June 1 the sale of gold ornaments with hallmark by non-licenced jewelleries would be an offence. In Kerala there are about 7000 jewelleries which have obtained GST registration and about 1,000 jewelleries are without registration.

But the hallmarking condition is only applicable to jewelleries selling gold ornaments to the consumers. But there are 4,000 units engaged in making of gold ornaments in the state. Sale of gold also takes place through many of these units. Licence is mandatory for gold-manufacturing units which are engaged in the sale of ornaments.

How to identify gold ornaments?

From June 1 onwards only gold ornaments of 14, 18 or 22 carat would be permitted to be sold in the country. The quality of gold can be identified by seeing the various marks inscribed on the gold ornaments. They are:

1. BIS mark.

2. Purity in karat and fitness

3. The identification mark/number of the hallmarking centres

4. Jewellery identification mark/number

Advantages of hallmarking

After June 1, the consumers will have no obstacle in selling or mortgaging gold of any karat which is in their po session as long as they are hallmarked. They will receive the market price for the same, i.e. the jeweller will not make any deductions.

"There is no need to visit the office to obtain hallmarking licence. It's a completely online service. One can download licence from www.manakonline.in portal after uploading fee and other required documents. The Centre is also organising special campaigns to encourage hallmarking," stated P Rajeev, the Kerala head of the BIS.  

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