Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Mar 20, 2002
Standards & Benchmarks
Industry & Economy - Gems & Jewellery
Jewellers fight shy of `Hallmarking' ornaments
COIMBATORE, March 19
UNTIL recently, buyers of gold jewellery were not too sure about the quality of the jewels offered by a store. Yet the demand continued to rise, by virtue of customs and traditions, apart from fashion and style.
But buyers are now becoming increasingly quality conscious and have started looking for `purity' in jewellery purchases.
Though the awareness for `Hallmark' jewellery is catching up, less than tenth of the jewellers have actually got the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Certification. This is evident from the number of jewellers, who have applied for the BIS licence.
Out of the 300-odd players here, only about 12 are understood to have evinced interest for getting the BIS Certification for assaying and hallmarking their jewellery articles by any of the BIS recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centres, so far this year. BIS sources say that the response for certification was slow.
Hallmarking is not mandatory. Nevertheless, it is a certification of purity of gold jewellery, done in accordance with Indian Standard Specification - IS 1417 `Grades of gold and gold alloys, jewellery or artifacts - Fineness and marking'. BIS charges an annual fee for the licence.
A hallmark jewel should have the BIS logo, purity mark, mark of the assaying and hallmarking centre, jeweller's logo and the year of hallmark engraved on the article or ornament after ensuring its quality.
While the objective behind instituting the system of assaying and hallmarking is to protect the consumer against victimisation of poor quality and give him value for his money, jewellers claim that the annual licence fee charged by the BIS was high. "Whether hallmarked or not, we market quality jewels and have no intention of losing our customers," a jeweller said.
According to BIS sources, the quantity hallmarked was meagre when compared to all the jewellery on display. In its bid to bring more jewellery articles under the `hallmark umbrella', the BIS has decided to offer a concession on renewal. The concession is expected to be around Rs10,000/- on renewal of the licence, if a minimum of 5,000 jewellery articles were hallmarked in a year.
In fact, as per BIS norms, a BIS Certified Jeweller should have a separate enclosure for Hallmark Jewels, but the jeweller community states that it would not be viable if only a small percentage of the jewels in a store was certified for purity.
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