The government on Wednesday exempted gold jewellery, artefacts below 2 gram from mandatory hallmarking. In a gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, mandatory hallmarking has been made applicable from January 15, 2021 across the country.
Silver jewellery and articles have been kept out of mandatory hallmarking as of now.
All jewellers who want to sale gold jewellery have to take BIS registration. As of now, 28, 849 jewellers have registered with BIS. Of these, nearly 3000 jewellers took registration in last three months on expectation of hallmarking becoming mandatory.
However, total number of jewellers are several times higher. Jewellers holding jewellery which is not hallmarked have to clear that stock in a one year time. Only 14, 18 and 22 karat jewellery can be sold. Other pure gold jewellery, even if hallmarked, cannot be sold.
Harshad Ajmera, president, Indian Association of Hallmarking Centre said, "Existing hallmarking centers have enough hallmarking capacity to hallmark all the jewellery manufactured in India. These centers are running only at 10-15 per cent of their capacity. 10-12 hubs in the country are making 80 per cent of jewellery where hallmarking centers are present.
The notification gives some exemptions to articles meant for export, which conform to any specification required by the foreign buyer, article with weight less than two grams, article which is intended to be used for medical, dental, veterinary, scientific or industrial, purposes, article of gold thread, gold bullion in any shape of bar, plate, sheet, foil, rod, wire, strip, tube or coin have been exempted. The exemption list also include incomplete articles, articles for exports which will not be required to be hallmarked.
"Hallmarking law for 14, 18 and 22 karat should only apply for selling jewellery and not for manufacturing jewellery. Customer should be permitted to convert jewellery of karat of their own choice when they bring in their old jewellery or bullion. By enforcing customer to convert new jewellery of minimum 14 karat will hit poor people's pocket most who otherwise could have opted even lower karatage by accumulating coin/bullion or old jewellery," said Surendra Mehta, national secretary, Indian Bullion Jewellers Association.
Penalty for violation of BIS act and notification will be as prescribed in the act.
22 karat will be marked as 916 purity, 18 karat as 750 and 14 karat as 585 purity on the hallmarked article. Other details that will have to be mentioned on the hallmarked article, according to BIS, are BIS mark, hallmarking centre’s identification mark and jeweller’s identification mark.