Chennai’s jewellers welcome Union government’s move to ensure hallmarking of gold jewellery

Photograph used for representational purposes only

Photograph used for representational purposes only   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

While big names in the gold business have already been selling hallmarked gold, smaller sellers will have to ensure compliance by the deadline next January

Jewellers in Thyagaraya Nagar, the gold hub of Chennai, have welcomed the announcement pertaining to mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery by the Union Consumer Affairs Minister. They also said that they have been selling 100% BIS hallmarked gold even before this announcement had come.

Earlier this week, Consumer Affairs Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan announced that no jeweller will be permitted to sell gold jewellery without hallmarking from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) from January 15, 2021.

“This is a good move by the government and will infuse more confidence into the minds of customers while they purchase gold. All the gold that we sell is hallmarked and we have been doing this for several years now,” G.R. Radhakrishnan, Managing Director of GRT Group said. “The gold that we sell even in the smaller towns like Thanjavur is hallmarked. We even have purity-checking machines across all our stores,” he added. The group has 37 stores across Tamil Nadu.

Amarendran Vummidi, Managing Partner, Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers (VBJ), said that this was a good move -- both for the jeweller and the consumer. He added that adequate time had been given to jewellers to allow infrastructure to come into place. “We have been hallmarking all our gold for over five years now,” he said.

“In metro cities such as Chennai and mini metros including Madurai and Coimbatore, awareness about BIS Hallmarked jewellery is very high. More than 95% of our customers are well aware about these benefits and those purchasing diamonds jewellery are familiar with the caratage and 18K or 22K jewellery. The same is the case with customers exchanging old gold jewellery,” said T.S. Kalyanramanan, Chairman and Managing Director, Kalyan Jewellers. It is only in the smaller towns of Tamil Nadu that we get some customers -- less than 30% --who need to be educated about BIS Hallmarking and its benefits,” he said.

While big players are already hallmark compliant, smaller ones have indicated that they would get this done in the coming months. A small jeweller in T. Nagar, said that only 60% of his current consignment is hallmarked. “The announcement has just come in and going forward we will ensure that all our gold is hallmarked,” he said on condition on anonymity.

Another jeweller who requested not to be named said that only 40% of his consignment is hallmarked. “Customers who come here are not specific about whether gold is hallmarked or not. They just look at the designs and patterns when they purchase,” he said. Several other small jewellers in T. Nagar and in Sowcarpet said that since ample time has been given by the Union government they will soon ensure that all gold sold by them is hallmarked.

Statistics show that India is the largest importer of gold, with annual imports of 700-800 tonnes. According to a World Gold Council report, hallmarking could largely wipe out the malpractice of gold jewellery and ornaments of inferior purity being sold as 22-carat. “Trust in the industry would increase. This would benefit consumers, retailers and exporters,” the report said.

Hallmarking of gold has four main components – BIS mark, carat purity and fineness, assaying and hallmarking centre number, and jewellers’ identification mark.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:55:17 AM |

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