‘Be vig­i­lant while pur­chas­ing gold’

Num­ber of jew­ellers sell­ing hall­marked or­na­ments on the rise: BIS

The Hindu - - CHENNAI - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

The num­ber of jew­ellers with li­cence to sell hall­marked gold or­na­ments across the State has in­creased by nearly 40% in the past three years. But, as the scheme con­tin­ues to be vol­un­tary, many jew­ellers are yet to be brought under the hall­mark cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Ahead of Ak­shaya Tri­tiya, a day con­sid­ered aus­pi­cious to buy gold, that falls on April 18, the Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards (BIS), Chen­nai, stressed that con­sumers must look for hall­mark on gold jew­ellery to en­sure pu­rity. Con­sumers may seek a mag­ni­fy­ing glass to en­sure it, said of­fi­cials of BIS at a press brief­ing on Mon­day.

Speak­ing to The Hindu,

P.M. Pan­tulu, Deputy Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (South), said the num­ber of hall­mark-li­censed jew­ellers across Tamil Nadu had gone up from 1,350 in 2016 to 1,940 now. Of this, 257 jew­ellers were based in Chen­nai.

Sim­i­larly, the BIS-recog­nised as­say­ing and hall­mark­ing cen­tres have in­creased in the past few years. In Tamil Nadu, there are 65 such cen­tres to test pre­cious me­tals for pu­rity. “It may take time for hall­mark­ing to be made manda­tory as in­fras­truc­ture has to be im­proved match­ing with the grow­ing num­ber of jew­ellery shops,” he said.

Li­cences can­celled

To en­sure that qual­ity prod­ucts reach con­sumers, BIS had can­celled the li­cences of 14 hall­mark­ing cen­tres found to have been in­volved in mal­prac­tices last year. “We have in­ten­si­fied sur­veil­lance au­dits as a run-up to Ak­shaya Tri­tiya. Nearly 48 jewel sam­ples last year failed the pu­rity test,” he said.

High­light­ing a study of the In­dian In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion, New Delhi, he said nearly 81.5% of peo­ple were aware of hall­marked jew­ellery and 67% of con­sumers pre­ferred to pur­chase only hall­marked jew­ellery.

How­ever, given the sheer vol­ume of jew­ellers across the State, much needs to be done. While there are over 35,000 jew­ellers in Tamil Nadu, nearly 7,000 are based in Chen­nai. Ac­cord­ing to BIS of­fi­cials, many are yet to ap­ply for li­cence as it is not manda­tory.

While the sale of cad­mium-sol­dered jew­ellery pop­u­larly de­scribed as KDM jewels, is pro­hib­ited as hall­marked or­na­ments, com­plaints on wastage and mak­ing charges do not come under the BIS am­bit.

Mean­while, jew­ellers in the city hoped for bet­ter sales this Ak­shaya Tri­tiya. N. Anan­tha­pad­man­ab­han, vice-chair­man of the All In­dia Gems and Jew­ellery Trade Fed­er­a­tion, said gold price has not fluc­tu­ated for few days now. “We ex­pect a 10-15% in­crease in sales this year and have es­ca­lated se­cu­rity mea­sures,” he said.

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