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HALLMARKING OF SILVER

Surendra Mehta, National Secretary, IBJA

Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.  Hallmarks are thus official marks used in many countries as a guarantee of purity or fineness of precious metal articles. InIndia, at present two precious metals namely gold and silver have been brought under the purview of hallmarking. In this article we shall discuss about silver hallmarking only.

To protect consumer against victimization due to irregular silver quality, and to develop India as a leading gold market centre in the World and to develop export competitiveness.

Hallmarking provide third party assurance and satisfaction that consumer gets right purity of silver for given price (value of money). Hallmark will serve as third party assurance.

It will provide clear indication of his capability, strong evidence of commitment to quality and assurance of consistency in purity and quality silver jewellery and artifacts.

It is a voluntary scheme being operated by BIS through its network of Regional / Branch Offices all over the country. As per this scheme licence is granted to a jeweller for certification of purity of silver jewellery in accordance with IS 2112 for silver. A licensee jeweller has to get the jewellery hallmarked through any of the BIS recognized assaying and hallmarking centres.

The jeweller needs to apply to the concerned Branch office of BIS in the prescribed application form along with necessary documents and fees for obtaining a licence. Application form with details of documents to be submitted and fees as applicable are available on BIs website (www.bis.org.in). The licensed jeweller shall get the jewellery hallmarked from a BIS recognized Assaying & Hallmarking Centre. It is the prime responsibility of the licenced jeweller to ensure that the jewellery offered for Hallmarking has the declared fineness and homogeneity. List of BIS licensed Jewellers is also available on BIS website.

The recognition of an Assaying and Hallmarking Centre is done by BIS after ensuring that the Centre has requisite infrastructure and quality management system as per IS 15820:2009, IS 2112 for silver and assaying (test) facilities as per IS 2113 for silver and also, trained and competent manpower. The list of BIS recognized assaying and hallmarking centres is also hosted on BIS website.

Regular surveillance audit of assaying and hallmarking centres and testing of random market samples drawn from licensee jewellers is carried out. Renewal of recognition of hallmarking centres and jewellers is based on performance every three years. If any jeweller or assaying and hallmarking centre is not found conforming to the requirements, action is taken by BIS against erring firm as per laid down procedure so that credibility of scheme is maintained.

·         Hallmarking charges for silver is Rs. 25/- per article.

·         Minimum charges per consignment is Rs. 150.00

(GST and other levies as applicable shall be Extra)

What one should look for in an hallmarked silver article?

·         BIS mark

·         Silver Purity grade/fineness ( it can be any one of the following)

Grade

Fineness

9999

999.9

9995

999.5

999 Fine Silver

999.0

990

990.0

970

970.0

925

925.0

900 Silver Alloys

900.0

835 For Jewellery

835.0

800 Artefacts

800.0

 

·         Assaying/ hallmarking centre’s Identification Mark /  Number

·         Jeweller’s Identification Mark / Number

It has been generally noticed that Agra in U.P, Kolhapur in Maharashtra, Rajkot in Gujarat and many others are hub for silver jewellery manufacturing. The most common item purchased by customers in silver are silver coins, Payal, Bichiya. Silver idols of god and goddesses are also popular for worships and gifting. Off late silver furniture is gaining lot of popularity. While the gold is appx. 33 lacs per kg, silver in our country cost only 40 thousand per kgand due to this reason silver is called “Poor man’s Gold”.

However, there is no awareness about purity of silver in our country. It has been generally found that purity of silver is between 40% to 80% only in silver jewellery and artefacts and coins.One cannot deny that good quality & purity silver jewellery is also available at selected stores.

It is important that jewellers start self-regulating measures for sales of silver products so that the faith on “Poor Man’s Gold” i.e. silver remains intact.

While everyone talks of mandatory hallmarking of gold, one speaks about mandatory hallmarking of silver,inspite of tonnes of silver is produced and sold in this country. Surprisingly there are many conferences and seminars held for gold, one does not see any interest of silver trader’s community in this.

It clearly means that silver traders does not want to discuss and debate about transparency and purity. It’s high time big jewellery association come forward to discuss the same, especially when seat has been reserved in domestic council for silver traders also.

Disclaimer: Views are personal and not the views of the publisher.