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Is Hallmarking Mandatory For Silver Jewellery, Coins?

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With the Navratris behind, the festive season is now swiftly moving towards the Diwali festivities. Both Dhanteras and Diwali are considered auspicious days for buying jewellery. Hence, several people are gearing up for a visit to jewellery stores. It is certain that when it comes to most gold ornaments, stores will only be selling hallmarked items. But what about silver jewellery and coins?

What is hallmarking?

Hallmarking, according to the Bureau of Indian Standards, refers to the accurate determination and formal recording of the proportional content of precious metals in articles made from such materials. In several countries, hallmarks serve as official marks that guarantee the purity or fineness of precious metal articles. The main objective of the hallmarking scheme in India, which currently has only two precious metals- gold and silver- under its purview, is to protect the public against adulteration. It also obligates manufacturers to maintain legal standards of the fineness of such metals in the country.

Mandatory hallmarking of gold

The Government of India (GoI) made the hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory in mid-June last year. From June 1, 2022, manufacturers became legally bound to only sell hallmarked gold jewellery, regardless of its purity. This is applicable to white gold alloys as well.

While there is a certain degree of clarity regarding gold, people still have questions about silver jewellery and coins, both of which are rather popular in the market during the festive season. It is important to note that the mandatory hallmarking rules in place for gold articles do not apply to silver jewellery and coins. In fact, the mandatory hallmarking also does not apply to gold coins as it only covers artefacts and jewellery made of precious metal.

While manufacturers are not legally bound to hallmark silver articles, there is a provision for them to do so voluntarily. The government has released certain fineness and purity standards for marking ornaments of silver as well. The six grades of Indian silver, namely 990, 970, 925, 900, 835, and 800, correspond with 99, 97, 92.5, 90, 83.5, and 80 per cent purity, respectively.

According to BIS, consumers can get their jewellery or precious metal sample tested from any of the BIS Recognized Assaying & Hallmarking Centres.

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