The purity of gold has always been one of the major concerns for buyers in India. Though the government has mandated jewellers to sell only hallmark gold jewellery, but to ensure consumers are not cheated when purchasing one, they should know the components to look for on their gold jewellery/gold. BIS mark, purity in karat, hallmarking centre’s and jeweller identification mark are the four aspects to check that ensures purity of gold. In the midst of this, you might have come across terms such as BIS hallmark gold, KDM gold and 916 Gold when buying gold jewellery and wondered what they are and what is the difference between them. Well, here is your answer.
What is Hallmark Gold?
The process of certifying the purity and fineness of gold is called hallmarking. Bureau of Indian Standards, the National Standards Body of India, is responsible for hallmarking gold as well as silver jewellery under the BIS Act. BIS hallmark certifies that a piece of jewellery or gold bar conforms to a set of standards laid down by the BIS. Hallmarking gives consumers an assurance regarding authenticity and purity of the gold. This means, if you are buying hallmark 18K gold jewellery, it will actually mean that 18/24 parts are gold and rest is alloy.
Earlier hallmarking was optional but with effect from 15th January, 2021, BIS has mandated all Jewellers across the nation to sell only hallmark gold Jewellery. This will make purchasing gold safe but at the same time consumer awareness is essential. To check whether it is hallmark gold or not, one needs to look for the following hallmark signs or symbols:
- BIS Hallmark: Indicates that its purity is verified in one of their licensed laboratories
- Purity in carat and fineness (corresponding to given caratage KT):
- 22K916 (91.6% Purity)
- 18K750 (75% Purity)
- 14K585 (58.5% Purity)
- Hallmarking Centre’s mark
- Jeweller’s mark
If you have bought gold jewellery on or before 31st December 2016, there was an additional component that was hallmarked on the gold jewellery apart from the above-mentioned components- year of hallmarking of jewellery denoted by a code letter. For e.g, code letter ‘A’ for year 2000, B for the year 2001, etc.
Note: The purity of the gold jewellery is mentioned in the laser engraving of a hallmark seal.
What is KDM Gold?
Before getting into the details about KDM Gold, one should know about the making of gold jewellery. To make delicate jewellery, gold needs to be combined with two or more metals which is done with the help of a filler metal and this process is called soldering. For a very long time, a combination of Gold and Copper (60% gold and 40% copper) was used in making gold jewellery. However, the drawback of using this combination was that the final purity was only 60%. This implies that gold jewellery soldered with this alloy when melted will give you purity of less than 22 karat. This is the reason why your old jewellery had 22/20 marking, where 22 karat represents the purity of gold used and 20 karat represents the melting purity.
To attain a high standard of purity in gold, makers started to use Cadmium as filler with a ratio of 92 per cent gold and 8 per cent cadmium alloy and this is where the term KDM gold came from. The solder itself had a purity of 92%. Bottom line, it ensures the purity of gold jewellery remain constant irrespective of the amount of solder used. Although it didn’t affect the purity, it caused serious health issues for artisans working with it and due to this; it is now banned by BIS. Now cadmium is replaced with advanced solder metal such as Zinc and other metals.
Also Read : Know How Jewellers Quote Gold Jewellery Rates
What does ‘916 Gold’ mean?
Gold is categorised on the basis of its purity such as 24K, 23K, and 18K, etc. If it’s hallmarked, 22K gold will be referred to as ‘BIS 916’ gold; the number is a part of the hallmark seal. Likewise, 23K gold is referred to as BIS 958 which means 95.8 grams of pure gold in 100 gram alloy. 916 Gold is nothing but the 22K gold, i.e., 91.6 grams of pure 24 karat gold per 100 grams of alloy.
Also Check For:
Gold is available in different varieties in India. Considering its price and hedging properties, consumers need to consider various aspects while purchasing gold/gold jewellery such as purity, making charges, wastage charged levied by the jeweller, buy-back terms,etc. on your jewellery.
Q1. How is Hallmarking done?
Hallmarking certifies that the metal used in the bar or in jewellery is in accordance with standard specifications laid by the BIS, the accreditation agency. BIS grants license to jewellers and they can get the jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognized assaying and hallmarking centers. Gold/silver articles are evaluated and tested at official hallmarking centres which certify that the metal used in the bar/jewellery conforms to the national and international standard of fineness and purity.
Q2. How can I know the jewellery store I am buying gold from is certified by BIS?
One can know the list of gold and silver jewellers that are certified and licensed by BIS from their official website. Apart from this, the list also provides the names and addresses of the jewellers and date till which their license with BIS is valid.
Q3. Why can’t we make 24K gold jewellery?
Pure gold or 24K gold is too soft in nature which makes it difficult to create any jewellery with intricate designs. Hence, most of the people go for 22K gold (BIS 916) or 18K gold for making jewellery.
Q4. How does buying hallmark gold jewellery will benefit me?
Hallmark certifies the purity of gold and since it is the mark of purity, it instills confidence in the mind of the consumer. This means, if you are buying hallmark 18K gold jewellery, it will actually mean that 18/24 parts are gold and rest is alloy which will help you get resale value prevailing at the time of selling.