Every Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi is the first day of Diwali celebration.  “Dhan” stands for wealth and teras signify thirteenth day.  So Dhanteras is celebrated on trayodashi of Kartik Krishna Paksha.This year i.e. Dhanteras 2013 will be celebrated on Friday, 01st November. On Dhanteras, is said to bring prosperity, everyone is indulging to buy gold or jewellery regardless its price. Whether the price is hovering around Rs33,000 or more or less, be it urban India or rural India, rich or poor India, each one tries to buy gold at the first available opportunity. Women always eye for this yellow metal as matter of thing as core of their heart. However, the purity of gold has always been of great concern for households in India.
 
We are all well aware that large scale sales of gold are prevalent in India which is far from pure gold.   All over India, crores of people are being cheated by jewellers.   In India majority of jewellery is still manufactured in traditional method i.e. by hand using a mouth blowpipe with an oil or candle flame for soldering and melting and alloyed using charcoal furnaces.  However, good point is that in recent times, awareness has been created and jewellers in big cities with brand names have also entered in the gold jewellery market in a big way in urban India. Now at least, they do not cheat in large scale.  

They can inflate prices on one pretext or other, but quality of gold content has certainly shown some improvement.  However, in smaller towns where there is a tradition of family jewellers, who frankly speaking really betray the gullible poor customers.   In the name that they are ready to buy back gold any time, they are able to sell gold with lots of impurities.


Hallmarking of Gold

In a move aimed at protecting the interests of consumers and prevent frauds in sale of gold jewellery, the Union Cabinet has ,now approved the proposal to make hallmarking of gold mandatory. At present, hallmarking of gold is voluntary in nature.

The move to hallmark gold will certainly provide value and authenticity to the jewellery bought by the consumers and amounts to purity certification of the yellow metal. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), under the Consumer Affairs Ministry, is the administrative authority of hallmarking.

It is the country’s apex standards body, is involved in the development of technical standards (popularly known as Indian Standards), product quality and management system certifications and consumer affairs in all matters concerning standardisation, certification and quality. The BIS hallmarking scheme has been aligned with international criteria on hallmarking Convention 1972). As per this scheme, licence is granted to the jewellers by BIS under Product Certification Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centre.

In India mostly jewellery sold is under purity of 22 carat, whereas internationally the popular jewellery is of 18 or14 carat. The Hallmarked Jewellery does not necessarily mean that it is of 22 carat purity. It is available in different carat age from 9 carat to 23 carat.

Reluctance by Jewellers
There are salespeople who sell gold jewellery that are not hallmarked, telling customers that hallmarking is an expensive affair and would make the jewellery more expensive. But, this is not true; Hallmarking charges are very nominal Rs25 per article, could differ a bit depending on the weight of gold. But, more importantly, the BIS mark authenticates the quality of gold. Hence, it is better you insist on hallmarked jewellery. You should insist on hallmarked jewellery irrespective of what the jeweller says. If a jeweller is unable to offer one, you better shop from another reputed store that has jewellery with the BIS mark.

Buy only Hallmarked Jewellery

BIS data shows that even today in smaller towns or in the interiors of the country, jewellers sell 19-carat gold as 22 carat gold. As a result you will be paying a higher price for a poorer quality of gold. You have no way to check the authenticity of gold till the time you step into another store to exchange the jewellery for a new one or use a carat meter to check the details. But, you can avoid this situation while buying a hallmarked one from the jewellers with BIS license of Hallmark Gold Jewellery provide clear indication of their capabilities, strong evidence of their commitment to quality, assurance of consistence in purity and quality of gold jewellery. Note that, KDM jewellery is not Hallmarked Jewellery.

Don’t compromise on the Bill
Gold is a precious metal and is becoming expensive day by day. As single piece of jewellery, therefore, changes multiple hands before reaching the end consumer. Hence, consumers have to insist on the bill for hallmarking jewellery to ensure that they get what they are paying for it. You may  save a few hundred or thousands by avoiding the actual bill receipt, could actually land up with a poor quality of gold for a very high price.

Hence, insist on a bill/ invoice, which mention the date of purchase, the carat and weight of gold and the making charges. The jeweller often shows his trustworthiness and convinces the customers to save 1% of the total cost by not insisting on a bill. Ideally, you should always buy jewellery from a store which pays its taxes and has a VAT (value-added tax) number.

Checklist before You Do

Remember, trusted jewellers mostly sell 22-carat gold, 24-carat gold is too soft and very rare is widely used for artefacts. Before making a purchase, know the trading price of the gold prevailing on that day, the making charges, the weight and the carat of gold and the buyback policy of the store.

It would be better to purchase pure gold from BIS hallmarking centres, which are present in major metros as well as smaller towns. A hallmark has the BIS initials, the jeweller’s initial, and the carat of gold and the date of hallmarking. These details are on the back of the jewellery, in the shank of the ring or the inside part of a bangle. However, buying gold jewellery is not an investment; it is just a consumption need. You may exchange today’s gold jewellery for another gold ornaments tomorrow but you would never change it for cash due to emotional strings attached to the precious metal. Hence, there is nothing like instant Hallmarking. REMEMBER, it takes time to check the purity of gold. Be sure, it is pure.
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Suresh Kumar Narula

SEBI Investment Advisor, Founder & Principal Financial Planner at Prudent Financial Planners
Suresh K Narula is founder and Principal Financial Planner at Prudent Financial Planners. He has earned the professional CERITIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and got registered with SEBI as Investment Advisor. He writes on personal and financial planning articles and got published in Dainik Bhaskar, Business Bhaskar and The Financial Planner's Guild, India. He is also a member of Financial Planner's Guild India ( An association of practicing SEBI registered Investment advisers) to create awareness about Financial Planning in general public, promote professional excellence and ensure high quality practice standards. Suresh received his an M.com from Himachal Pardesh University and an MFC from Punjab University, Chandigarh. He can be reached at info@prudentfp.in
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