What do the new hallmarking  rules mean for you?

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From 16 June, jewellers have been allowed to sell only hallmarked gold jewellery and artefacts. The government has planned a phase-wise implementation of mandatory hallmarking under the Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery and Gold Artefacts Order, 2020. Mint explores:

What is hallmarking and what does it cost?

Hallmarking is a certification of purity given by assaying and hallmarking centres (AHCs) accredited by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It signifies that the gold jewellery is of the same quality as promised by the jeweller. There are four basic signs of hallmarking —the BIS mark denoted by a triangle; the caratage (22K915) showing purity; the mark of the jeweller; and that of the accredited BIS. Hallmarking of gold jewellery is allowed in 14, 18, 20, 22, 23 and 24 carats. The hallmarking charges are 35 plus GST per piece, irrespective of the weight of the jewellery.

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Can I sell old non-hallmarked jewellery?

It has been clarified that jewellers can continue to buy non-hallmarked jewellery. If it is feasible, jewellers can get the old jewellery hallmarked as it is, or they can purchase such jewellery and melt it and convert it into new jewellery and get it hallmarked before selling. However, if you are selling non-hallmarked jewellery, you need to be careful. Ideally, you should try to sell it to the same jeweller from whom you have bought the jewellery. Otherwise, you should get the caratage of the jewellery ascertained and then check with different jewellers for the price they are offering.

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Sign of purity

Are some jewellers exempted from new rules?

Yes, currently, mandatory hallmarking will be rolled out in 256 districts of the country which have AHCs. Jewellers with annual turnover up to 40 lakh do not fall within the purview of mandatory hallmarking. They can, however, get registration if they wish to sell hallmarked jewellery. Also, hallmarking is not mandatory for gold jewellery weighing less than two grams.

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Can I check if the jewellery is genuine?

There is a malpractice called “dabba hallmarking” wherein certification is done without due sampling or verification, or fake hallmarking. A jeweller can also put the sign of hallmarking on its own by buying  the  machine. You can ask for the jeweller’s BIS registration or licence number. Jewellers are required to prominently display this licence in their sales outlets. You can also get the jewellery checked at the AHCs by paying 200 as charges. In case of fraud, the jeweller will have to pay penalty.

Will new rules impact loans against gold?

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During the pandemic, many  people have availed of gold loans. Lenders have been taking non-hallmarked gold as collateral against the gold loan. This will continue as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations do not talk about mandatory hallmarking of gold taken as collateral. It says the gold taken as collateral should be valued at the average of the closing price of 22 carat gold for the preceding 30 days as quoted by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Ltd. So, borrowers of gold loans are unlikely to be impacted.

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