A hallmark is an official mark or sequence of marks stamped on metal products, usually to confirm the number of noble metals like platinum, gold, silver, and palladium in some countries. The term hallmark can also be used to refer to any distinguishing feature in a broader meaning. In the past, hallmarks were applied by a trusted third party, such as "guardians of the craft" or, more recently, "masters of the craft." Inspection stamps were used to manage or examine valuable metals, which was an ancient notion of examination and stamping (punch marks).
Without adequate examination, it is impossible to identify the purity of gold simply by feeling or looking at it. Two Hallmarking gold ornaments with the same pattern and style may differ substantially due to differences in gold purity. The presence of BIS Hallmark can alleviate these concerns by providing all of the necessary information and confirming the purity of the gold. As a result, regulatory mandates are in place to protect consumers from adulteration and to require jewellers to maintain legal purity standards. In the year 2000, the Gold Hallmarking Registration Scheme (Gold Hallmarking Services) was launched, and in the year 2005, the silver scheme was implemented. The BIS hallmarking scheme for gold and silver is accessible, and in India, it is required to confirm the metal's purity before introducing the Gold & Silver products to consumers.
PARTS OF A BIS HALLMARK
Earlier, the BIS Hallmark for gold objects were made up of five elements, components, or marks (that's also known as old method of Hallmarking). The presence of these stamps on your gold indicates that it meets the 'Bureau of Indian Standards' purity specifications. These are the marks:-
Old Methods of HallMarking
- BIS Standard Mark: The BIS Standard Mark is a triangle mark that shows that a third party or independent assessor has properly evaluated the decoration and validated the metal's purity. In most cases, it is validated by one of the BIS-approved laboratories. BIS is the only government-approved institution for hallmarking gold ornaments (Jewellery Hallmarking).
- Purity Grade: Karats (denoted as KT) and Fineness Number are two ways to determine the purity of gold. The purest type of gold is 24 KT, but it is too soft to be utilized in jewellery or ornamentation. As a result, a trace amount of other metals, such as zinc or silver, is added to gold to create long-lasting jewellery or adornment. The carat value of gold jewellery is typically measured in three numbers and varies from 22k to 14k. A 22k gold ring, for example, has a purity grade of 916 HallMark. It denotes purity of 916 parts per 1000 or 91.6 percent. Similarly, 18k and 14k gold jewellery have purity grades of 750 and 585, respectively.
- Hallmarking Centre’s Mark: This is the BIS-licensed trademark (Hallmarking License) of the marking centre or third-party evaluator. The label is stamped on every product in the centre and is inspected for purity. This is done so that the object may be tracked back to the centre if any inconsistencies arise afterwards.
- Year of Marking: This represents the year the object was labeled. The marking year is identified by a letter of code assigned by BIS. For example, the code letter "A" stood for 2000, "B" for 2001, and so on.
- Jeweller Mark: This is the jeweller's or
manufacturer’s mark on the piece. Each BIS-
accredited jeweller's decorations bear a distinct logo. All of these markings are readily visible on the jewellery. To confirm the purity of a piece of jewellery, look for these indications.
New Methods of HallMarking
Recently BIS has Introduced a new system for marking Jewellery. The new method contains HallMarking Unique Identification Number with BIS Hallmark and purity of the metal.
The government of India announced in November 2019 that hallmarking of gold jewellery and artifacts would be compulsory across the country beginning January 15, 2021. However, owing to the epidemic, the deadline was pushed back four months, from June 1 to June 15. Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal made this decision during a meeting with industry stakeholders. Hallmarking is an official mark that is recognized internationally on precious metal items. Hallmarking Licence is required in India for certified jewellers to sell or produce jewellery or artefacts. The BIS approved jewellery mark is required from any of the Assay and Hallmarking services recognised with the Bureau of Indian Standard.
BIS Registration for Hallmarking Showroom/Jewellers
A jeweller who wishes to sell Hallmarked gold jewellery or artefacts must first get registration from BIS for each of their sales outlets. The Registration is granted to the jeweller for the specified location if the application in the prescribed format along with relevant paperwork documents is deemed to be in order, and the required cost is paid and as well as the signing of the agreement for the operation of licence by the jeweller. If the jeweller additionally wishes to sell Hallmarked silver jewellery/artefacts, a separate registration from BIS must be obtained by filing a second application.
Following the grant of a licence, the jeweller must adhere to the agreement's terms and conditions. The licence may be revoked if there are deviations in the purity of precious metals (gold/silver) or if activities are not carried out in accordance with stipulated specifications. BIS has the authority to launch penalty proceedings.
Procedure for BIS Registration for Hallmarking Showroom
||Step 1: Documentation prior to submission of application
||2-3 Working days
||Step 2: Online portal generation on BIS website
||Step 3: Submission of application online through BIS portal
||4-5 Working days
||Step 4: Scrutiny of application file by BIS officials
||Step 5: Grant of BIS Certificate
Documents requirement for BIS Registration for Hallmarking Showroom
- Premises Document (Sell Deed/Rent Agreement)
- Showroom Establishment Certificate (Business Licence)
- GST Certificate
- Turnover proof
- Owners Identity proof (Aadhar Card)
- Logo of the showroom
- Letter Head (for Registered Email ID and Contact No.)
- Location of Showroom on Map
- 2-3 photos of showroom (inside & outside)
BIS Recognition of Assaying & Hallmarking Centre
If a store owner wants to sell ready-made jewellery, the purity and quality of the gold should be checked at a hallmark centre. This is the marking center's or third-party evaluator's BIS Hallmark licensed trademark. Every product in the centre has a label that is stamped and examined for purity. This is done so that if any contradictions develop later, the object may be tracked back to the centre. Jewellery/artefacts are hallmarked in BIS-certified facilities/centres that serve as testing laboratories. These hallmarking facilities, centres, and labs are positioned within city limits or in busy commercial or business buildings close to the jewellery—hubs and markets for manufacturing. The term "assaying" refers to the quantitative chemical analysis of precious metals. Assaying refers to the process of determining the amount of gold in a piece of jewellery or a product. The following are the steps involved:
- Reception section: The first step starts from reception. Here Jewelry are received from different parties, and here jewellers are sorted as per the purity claimed by the party, and after acceptance, jewellery is sent for assaying.
- X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) section: after receiving the jewellery sample, the fineness (purity as declared by the customer) of the samples are verified by the XRF machine by comparing with the reference material.
- Melting section: The accepted samples are drilled in the defined quantity as per BIS guidelines, and these drilled/cut piece of sample is then homogenised in melting furnace in graphite crucibles.
- Sample preparation: The sample is weighed i..e. silver and copper is mixed with the homogenised sample and put in lead foil, which is then assayed. Out of several techniques available for assaying precious metals, Fire Assaying is one of the oldest and most reliable methods for the quantitative analysis of gold and silver.
- Assaying section (Fire Assay Test): As per the standard IS 15820:2009, Assay and Hallmarking of gold are done by the fire assay test as per the method IS 1418: 2009 (Assaying of Gold in Gold Bullion, Gold alloys and Gold Jewelry/Artefacts). In this test, magnesia or calcium phosphate cupels, parting acids (Nitric acids of specific gravity 1.2 & 1.3 g/cm 3 ), lead foil, precious metals (silver) and other metals like copper are used. The fire assay method is based on the principle of removal of all base metals like lead, copper, etc., present in the sample from noble metals like gold and silver through the process of cupellation and Parting.
- Cupellation: in this process, samples are kept in cupels for cupellation inside the muffle furnace for 25 min at 1100 oC. During the process, lead is oxidized into lead oxide& emitted in the form of fumes, whereas other impurities along with lead are absorbed in cupels. Once cupellation is completed, a gold and silver alloy in the form of a bead is obtained. Separating silver from gold by selectively dissolving silver-gold alloy in Nitric acid is known as parting.
- Parting: Once cupellation is completed, a gold and silver alloy in the form of bead is obtained. Separating silver from gold by selectively dissolving silver-gold alloy in Nitric acid is known as parting.
Procedure for BIS Recognition of Assaying & Hallmarking Centre
||Documentation prior to submission of application
||Up to 30 Working days
||Online portal generation on BIS website
||CRM sample testing in BIS laboratory
||Calibration of equipment with NABL Lab
||Testing In-house sample and participate for ILC with other Hallmarking Centre.
||Development of files and formats
||Staff Training and laboratory Installation.
||Submission of application along with test report (Online)
||13-15 Working days
||Submission of hardcopy of complete application to BIS office
||Scrutiny of application file by BIS officials: Pre-Audit
||On-site Inspection by BIS officials
||Scrutiny of application file by BIS officials: Post-Audit
||10-15 Working days
||Grant of BIS Licence
Documents requirement for BIS Recognition of Assaying & Hallmarking Centre
- Premises Documents Registry or Rent Deed
- Director/Partner ID Proof
- GST copy
- MSME Copy
- Electricity Bill
- Logo of the Hallmarking Centre
- NOC from Pollution Department
- MOA/Partnership Deed
- Details of 8 Employees with Qualifications Certificate and I'd Proof