The Bureau of India Standards will launch a web-based hallmarking system for gold jewellery soon. Accordingly, unique identification numbers will be provided to items with hallmarking logo. A software is being developed to introduce the new system in three months.

The new system would effectively curb the sale of ornaments that display spurious logo of hallmarking, Sunil Soni, Director General of BIS, told The Hindu. BIS provides hallmarking certification to various assay and hallmarking centres across the country. Cases of spurious hallmarking had come to light in the past and the licences of some of the approved centres had been cancelled. The new project envisages verification of the purity of the gold by establishing the accuracy of the unique identity number provided on the ornament, through web-based services. The plan is to facilitate the verification through an app available on mobile phone. Mr.Soni said talks were under way to strike an agreement with jewellers because the new facility would incur additional costs.

BIS undertakes surprise checks on jewellery outlets to assess the purity of the hallmarked items. Penalty is imposed on erring jewellers. Based on the percentage of impurity in the item, double the difference in value is being charged as penalty. The tests are carried out at BIS offices. A new laboratory for testing BIS certified items is being set up in Kochi.

BIS has been conducting regular training programmes for artisans who are not aware of the latest techniques available in the manufacture of jewellery.