from April 1, the sale of gold jewelery will not be allowed without a Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said on Friday.
As reported by The Indian Express, Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, said, “In consumer interest it has been decided that after 31st March, 2023 the sale of gold jewelery and gold artifacts shall be hallmarked without HUID shall not be permitted.”
“Earlier, the HUID used to be of four digits. As of now both HUIDs (4- and 6-digit) are used in the market. We are saying that after March 31 only 6-digit alphanumeric code will be allowed,” Khare added.
What is HUID and why is it important on gold jewelery and gold artefacts? Why did the government say the new rule is in consumer interest?
What is HUID number on gold jewelery?
As mentioned on the website of the Department of Consumer Affairs, HUID number is a six-digit alphanumeric code. It is given to every piece of jewelery at the time of hall marking, and is a unique identifier for each gold item. The jewelery is stamped with the unique number manually at the Assaying & Hallmarking centre.
According to the department, the HUID makes it easy to trace the individual piece of jewelery, and is a guarantee of quality.
“In HUID-based Hallmarking, registration of jewelers is automatic with no human interference. It is aimed at ensuring the purity of Hallmarked jewelery and checking any malpractice. HUID is a secure system and poses no risk to data privacy or security. HUID-based Hallmarking is a win-win for everyone. It brings about transparency, ensures consumers’ rights and obviates the chances of Inspector Raj,” the Department of Consumer Affairs website says.
And why is hallmarking of gold jewelery important?
As explained earlier, the HUID is stamped on the jewelery at the time of hallmarking. But what is hallmarking?
“Hallmark is a mark on gold jewelery which is affixed by an entity recognized by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to assure its fineness and purity. So whenever you buy any gold jewelery, make sure to check the Hallmark to avoid being cheated,” the government website says.
How to check for this hallmark?
A BIS Hallmark consists of three symbols — the BIS logo, a symbol to indicate the purity and fineness of the jewelery, and then the HUID.
No gold jewelry is made of 100 per cent gold, as the yellow metal itself is very soft and has to be mixed with other metals to shape it into jewelry items. The “purer” the jewelery, ie, the more gold a piece of jewelery has, the more expensive it will be.
The three categories of hallmarked jewelery, according to the government website, are: “22K916 means that it is a 22 carat gold and the piece of jewelery has 91.6 percent gold. 18K750 means that it is an 18 carat gold and the piece of jewelery has 75 percent gold. 14K585 means that it is a 14 carat gold and the piece of jewelery has 58.5 percent gold.”
How can you check the purity of old jewelery?
“You may check the purity of gold jewelery at any BIS-recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre. For this you will have to pay a fee of Rs 200,” the government website says.
However, a consumer cannot apply to the Assaying and Hallmarking Center for getting a hallmark on her gold jewelery. This has to be done through a BIS-registered jeweler.
What are the benefits of hallmarking?
The most obvious benefit is that the consumer is aware of the quality of the product he is buying and will not be cheated. But there are other benefits too. Since the quality of the jewelery is guaranteed, that piece will fetch a higher price when re-sold. Also, banks are likely to give loans on better terms if the mortgaged jewelery is hallmarked, the website says.