Tips for purchasing Quality Gold

Nowadays due to high price of gold ornaments, buyers should exercise caution in purchasing gold jewels. Since gold ornaments are capital one for important functions like marriage, birth days, wedding anniversaries and for investments, buyers should know what they purchase is real gold. Many jewellary shops are cheating customers mentioning less cost than market rate and sell poor quality gold jewellary. To understand about quality controls that can be exercised by layman/woman in purchasing gold jewels are explained below:

Pure gold and silver cannot be used for jewels as they are too soft to withstand wear and hence small proportion of some other metal is being added so that they can be made malleable and ductile. Gold and Silver metals are costly but the alloying metal is cheaper.  Excess of alloy can be introduced without changing the color of the precious metals thus making it difficult to detect without technical tests. In order to control frauds on public who are not aware of this mixing technique, Hall marking is introduced in India. It is the accurate determination and universal official recording of the proportionate content of precious metals like gold and silver in precious metal articles.

This is used now in many countries which serve as a guarantee of purity of the metals in any precious metal articles including jewelery. India is being hub of precious delicate jewellary, now it attempts to be store house of gold in India for catering to universal buyers as India is secure as compared to some other countries and it has many tourist and cheap medical hospitals catering to the world at large.  This will make India also gold hub soon just like Dubai, Singapore etc. and make India competitive in world market.

Benefits to customers and jewelers

Buyer gets right purity of gold/silver for the value of the money paid which is supported by third party assurance. This will help jewelers to get more customers to their shops thus assuring quality and quantity.

Who operates the Hall marking scheme in India?

The Bureau of Indian Standards, empowered through a legislative Act of the Indian Parliament, known as the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986,(BIS) operates a product certification scheme, and has till date granted more than 30 000 licenses’ to manufacturers covering practically every industrial discipline from Agriculture to Textiles to Electronics. The certification allows the licensees to use the popular ISI Mark, which has become synonymous with Quality products for the Indian and neighboring markets over the past 50 years.

The Bureau’s predecessor, the Indian Standards Institution began operating the product certification Scheme in 1955. Presently more than 19000 licenses’ are in operation covering about 1000 products. . It is a voluntary scheme being operated by BIS under the BIS Act 1986. BIS is operating the scheme through its network of Regional/ Branch Offices all over the country. As per this scheme the license is granted to a jeweler for certification of purity of gold (or silver) jewelery in accordance with IS1417 (IS 2112 for Silver). A licensee jeweler has to get the jewellary hallmarked through any of the BIS recognized Assaying and hallmarking centers. List of assaying centres are available in in under Hall marking of gold and silver.

Control mechanism of BIS on  licensee jewelers and Assyaing and hallmarking centres

Regular sample audit of assaying and hall marking centers and testing random market samples drawn from licensee jewelers helps BIS to have control on quality of gold and silver. Renewal of recognition of hall marking centers and jewelers is based on performance for ever three years. If any one is not found conforming to the requirements, they are not allowed to use the license.

What are the things layman to look for  in an Hall marked gold/silver article

Gold Hallmark consists of following:(total five in number)

  1. BIS seal: This will be in the shape of triangle  which can be seen in BIS website.The site of the BIS is
  2. Purity grade/fineness:Purity grade/fineness can be any one of the following : 1000-  Corresponds to 24 carat958  –  Corresponds to 23 Carat916  –  Corresponds to 22 Carat875  –  Corresponds to 21 Carat750   – Corresponds to 18 Carat708   – Corresponds to 17 Carat585   – Corresponds to 14 Carat375   – Corresponds to   9 Carat
  3. Assaying/Hallmarking Centre’s Identification MarkOne of the logos as displayed on BIS website.
  4. Year of Marking – denoted by a code letter e.g.‘A’ for year 2000 ‘B’for year 2001‘C’ for year 2002 ‘D’for year 2003‘E’ for year 2004 ‘F’for year 2005 ‘G’ for year 2006 ‘H’ for year 2007 ‘J’ for year 2008 ‘K’ for 2009 ‘L’ for 2010
  5. Jeweler’s Identification MarkJeweler’s own shop identification mark. Gold/Silver Buyer should be careful in checking the following while purchasing precious metal article having gold/silver.

Check for the above five items. The shop owner who says that his jewels have Hall marking, then the jewels should have these five items .The shop owner has to provide Magnifying lens to check the same also to customer.  The shops which shows some of the items only are not reliable.

Can we believe Carat Meter maintained in Jewelery shops?

No. The Xray used in Carat meter in shops just checks upto 20 micron level at the surface of jewellary and tells the purity. If the jewelery is gold plated, then any one can be cheated. So don’t believe Carat Meter.

What is KDM?

KDM is nothing to do with purity of gold. It refers to a metal named Cadmium Monoxide which is a solder metal which helps in soldering the precious metals.  Since usage of KDM may invite cancer for the user, BIS is not allowing usage of this metal.  Some jewelers are mentioning in their jewels as  KDM to cheat the hapless victims who think that it denotes purity of gold. So customers should be careful about this.

Is there any grievance redressal mechanism from BIS?

Yes. The customer should obtain bill from jeweler who is supposed to be Hallmark repute. If any complaint is there about quality and quantity, You can lodge it with BIS, South zone office, CIT campus, Taramani,Chennai, Tamil nadu for south based shops and other offices for other places. The site of the BIS is

What is the Cost for getting an Gold/Silver article hall marked?

It is very cheap and Jewellary shops uses this facility to improve their sales. So any shop not using this facility is cheating the customers that it is costly thus avoiding quality and quantity complaints andsell jewels without quality and quantity.The rates as determined by BIS is only:Rs.18 per article of gold and minimum charges for a consignment shall be Rs.100/-.Taxes extra.Rs.10 per article of silver upto 100 gm. Rs.50 from 100-500 gm per article. Rs.100 for more than 500 gm per article. Minimum charges per consignment is Rs.150/-. Taxes extra.

Happy investing in Gold as this is the asset which is the weapon against inflation.

C.R. Venkata Ramani



3 thoughts on “Tips for purchasing Quality Gold

  1. Why BIS should not give the order to jewellers to hang a bord showing the daily prizes of the gold for 24 K, 23 K, 22 K, 18 K respectively. So customers should aware of fraud or cheating?

  2. There is no such thing as KDM, actually. Some illiterate but shrewd businessman coined this term, obviously because he did not understand that it is cadmium and notr cadium or kdm. The educated business class did nothing to educate the masses. Atleast “KDM’ meant that the solder used was not copper and aluminium.
    Thanks for the info.
    I have jewellery purchased before the BIS era, can I go a BIS assaying shop and get it stamped after assaying. I believe it will not even be 85% pure.

    so based on this certification can I demand refund, replacement fro the jeweler who has issued a bill for 22 ct gold and charged the retail rate, wastage and making charges?????

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