‘Be vigilant while purchasing gold’
Number of jewellers selling hallmarked ornaments on the rise: BIS
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.
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.