Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles. Hallmarks are thus, official marks used in many countries as a guarantee of purity or fineness of precious metal articles. The principle objectives of the Hallmarking Scheme are to protect the public against adulteration and to obligate manufacturers to maintain legal standards of fineness. In India, at present, two precious metals, namely, gold and silver, have been brought under the purview of Hallmarking.
India has a ‘hallmarking’ system for silver and gold. In other words, it is a way of ensuring a certain proportion of a precious metal in a precious metal article. Hallmarks are official marks of fineness or purity and are used in many countries as a guarantee of the quality. In India, this responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). A hallmarked silver article should have five things,
(i) BIS Mark
BIS Mark is one of the foremost marks of purity of silver. It is a sort of triangular symbol with a dot inside the triangle. This is the official logo of Bureau of Indian Standards or BIS.
(ii) Purity Grade/Fineness
For fine silver, the purity grade is either of 999.9, 999.5 or just 999. For silver alloys, Jewellery and artefacts, it is 970, 925, 900, 835, 800.
(iii) Years of Marking
This is denoted by the letter J for the year 2008
(iv) Hallmarking center’s identification mark
As specified on the BIS website
(v) Jeweller’s Identification Mark
Jeweller’s Identification Mark is yet another technique to verify the purity of the metal.
Customers should look for the above five signs while buying silver or silver jewellery. This is the most efficient technique for finding and buying authentic silver in the country. Before the hallmarking technique was launched, metal sellers and especially, jewellers, were able to make a lot of money through swindling transactions. Customers were made to believe that they were buying pure metal when the metal was mixed with certain alloys. This practice led to customers being cheated and sellers making more than the right profit. Since the inception of hallmarking by BIS, customers can now freely buy precious metals like silver and gold without worrying about their purity
The BIS Hallmarking Scheme has been aligned with International criteria on hallmarking. As per this scheme, Registered is granted to the jewellers by BIS under Hallmarking Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centers. The recognition of an Assaying and Hallmarking Center is done against IS 15820:2009.
While buying silver, one of the easiest things to do to make sure you are not being cheated is to check for the hallmark. It may typically look like an illegible set of characters, sometimes with figures and shapes, depending on the country’s set of rules.