An explicit study on Gold Hallmarking
Purity is undeniably the most decisive factor for people all around the world when it comes to buying gold jewellery. Considering this fact, the concept of gold hallmarking has gained tremendous popularity and many Federal Governments around the globe has introduced a set of stringent and sustained standards to measure or discern the purity of gold.
Following here is a comprehensive overview on Gold Hallmarking with the prime emphasis on its origin, connotations and its role in the Indian context.
Gold Hallmarking - An Introduction
Hallmarking serves as the precise determination and official documentation of proportionate content of gold present in precious gold articles. To make it more unambiguous, Hallmark is the official purity certification of a gold article with respect to national standard specifications.
Gold jewellery hallmarking was known to be the most archaic form of consumer protection, which dates back to the reign of Edward I of England and King Louis IX of France in 1200s. With the upsurge of craft guilds in these two major markets of the Middle Age Europe, the state-appointed metallurgists inspected the precious metals. Their prescribed marks along with the following marks for small-scale individual goldsmiths and production dates emerge as a necessity for the gold articles to be offered for public sale.
Who Provides the Hallmark in India
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) serves as the apex standard body of the nation. It is directly involved with the development of technical standards, management system and quality certifications along with consumer affairs concerning various aspects including certification, standardization and quality.
BIS hallmarking has been oriented to the International yardstick of hallmarking, mainly the Vienna Convention 1972, which states that; the license is granted to jewellers under the Product Certification Scheme by BIS. BIS certified jewellers are equipped with the right of hallmarking their jewellery from a BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre in India.
Components of a Gold Hallmark
Gold Hallmark comprises of five key components naming the Fineness Number, BIS Mark, Assaying and Hallmarking Centre's Mark, Year of Marking (which is decided by BIS and depicted by a code letter) and Jeweller's Identification Mark. The Hallmarking is done by using either the laser marking machine or punches.
Being widely recognized and accepted as a mark of conformity, the BIS hallmark bequeaths additional confidence to consumers while judging purity of the gold jewellery.
How the Gold Hallmarking Process is Conducted
Considering the present scenario, the advanced and contemporary X-ray fluorescence technique is utilized for assaying or examining the finishing gold articles. This ensures a quick, automated and non-destructive printing by the computer. On the contrary, the 'cupellation' or 'fire assay' method might be used for examining gold in its crude form. This process is basically presided over when the jewellery or article is melted down for extracting the impurities out, which can be a bit destructive yet, highly effective. The examination takes place in any of the authorised Assaying and Hallmarking Centres (A&HMC) in India.
How the Hallmarking Scheme Works
Considering the specifics of the scheme, the jewellery manufacturer/retailer who is willing to obtain a license should apply for use of the Standard Mark (hallmark) to BIS on their jewellery articles. After the registration process, BIS administrators will conduct a primary inspection for authentication of premises manufacturing/retailing, competence of testing personnel and testing facilities. They will draw a sample from the manufacturing/retail premises of jewellers for conducting independent testing. Finally, the license is issued to the jeweller based on the test report of sample conducted during inspection and favorable primary inspection report.
BIS certified jewellers showcase a strong proof of their commitment towards quality and purity of gold jewellery. Thus, as a rational gold buyer, it is of paramount importance to look for gold hallmarking and check all the five marks by BIS whenever you consider buying gold. This will certainly help you attain full-fledged assurance and satisfaction for getting the exact purity of gold for the price being paid and ensure shield against victimization of unscrupulous gold purity/quality.
^ Cupellation is a refining process, where ores or alloyed metals are treated under very high temperatures having controlled operations to separate nobel metals, like gold and silver, from base metals.
^ Fire assaying is the quantitative determination in which a metal is separated from its impurities by fusion process and weighed in order to determine the amount present in the original sample.