Understanding Indian Hallmarks
The hallmarking of gold jewellery in India has been applied on a voluntary basis since April 2000, and on silver jewellery since December 2005. The hallmarking of gold jewellery sold in India is now in the process of becoming mandatory.
Logo of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
Hallmarking in India comes under the control of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), but the assaying is conducted by private, but official, assayers who are monitored by the BIS. To date around 200 of these assayers have been appointed by the BIS to deal with the massive gold jewellery producton that occurs in India. Hallmarking has not only been introduced in India as part of their consumer protection programme, but also because the the Indian Government believe that official hallmarking will boost exports of Indian jewellery. Doubtlessly, over the coming years, we will soon see a lot of Indian jewellery for sale around the world, and with this in mind, I thought it a good idea to familiarize ourselves with the Indian gold standards and hallmarks.
It is a common misconception that all Indian gold jewellery is of a high carat value, whilst that is true with much of the gold jewellery sold in that country, with 916 (22ct) being the most popular, there are in fact six official standards for gold:
958 (23ct), 916 (22ct), 875 (21ct), 750 (18ct), 585 (14ct), 375 (9ct)
The Indian gold hallmark is made up of five components:
1: The BIS logo
2: A three digit number indicating the purity of the gold in part-per-thousand-format
3: The mark of the assaying centre
4: A letter denoting the date of hallmarking.
5: The maker/sponsor mark
Above is my rather poor attempt of what the Indian gold hallmark looks like, hopefully we will find an image of the real thing soon.
1: The BIS hallmark
2: The purity mark, in this case 916/1000 (22ct)
3: The mark of the assayer, in this case Sree Vishnu Assayers, Durga Nagar Colony, Ameerpet, Hyderabad
4: The date letter, in this case 2008
5: The maker's/sponsor's markThe Date Letter System
The date letter system starts with 'A' for 2000. The letter 'I' is omitted from the sequence.
A - 2000
B — 2001
C — 2002
D — 2003
E — 2004
F — 2005
G — 2006
H — 2007
J — 2008
K — 2009
L — 2010
M — 2011
N - 2012
Further information will be added to this post as it comes to hand.
If you have any further information or additions/corrections on the subject or examples of the marks, please post them here.