Most of us lack the experience or knowledge necessary to ascertain real gold from fake or impure gold. Hence it is very easy to fall prey to scams when purchasing precious jewellery like gold rings. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the jewellery you purchase meets the necessary quality standards.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to ensure that the ring that you purchase is of high quality. How? By checking for the gold hallmark identification. Wondering what this identification is? Here’s a comprehensive guide on hallmarks in gold rings including the different types of hallmarks used in jewellery.
Hallmark – An Introduction
Hallmark is an identification mark placed on a piece of precious metal or jewellery. The presence of such a mark acts as a confirmation of the metal’s purity. Before a precious metal or a piece of jewellery is hallmarked, it is extensively examined and tested by dedicated centres. This ensures that the product adheres to the accepted purity standards set for it.
Contrary to popular opinion, gold isn’t the only precious metal that’s hallmarked. Silver, platinum, and palladium are three other metals that also go through the process of hallmarking.
The Process of Hallmarking Gold Rings
Once a gold ring is made, the maker submits the piece of jewellery to a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) registered Assaying and Hallmarking (A&H) centre. Here, the gold ring is put through several rounds of intensive examination and testing.
The primary method used to test the gold ring for purity and quality is X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy. It is a completely non-destructive method that uses X-Rays to determine the quality and the amount of gold and other metals used in the ring.
Once the gold ring passes the testing phase, the gold hallmark identification mark is placed on the inner band to not interfere with the design of the jewellery. The placing of the hallmark identification is done through either of two methods – stamping or etching.
Stamping involves imprinting the hallmark onto the ring by pressing a steel punch containing the mark against the ring. Etching, on the other hand, involves the use of a high-powered laser that cleanly etches the logo onto the gold ring.
Once the etching or stamping of the gold hallmark identification is done, the gold ring is then handed back to the maker, who can proceed to sell it to their customers.
The Different Types of Marks in Gold Rings
Previously, a hallmarked gold ring used to come with four marks – the BIS logo, a mark of purity, a mark of the Assay centre, and the identification number of the jeweller.
However, with effect from July 01, 2021, there has been a revision in the number of marks on a hallmarked gold ring.
Presently, a gold ring that’s gone through the process of hallmarking should contain three marks – a BIS logo, a mark of purity, and a six-digit HUID. Here’s some more information regarding each of these marks and what they mean.
The logo of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is either stamped or etched onto the gold ring. This signifies that the piece of jewellery has gone through a BIS-approved A&H centre.
Mark of Purity
The mark of purity is a three-digit number that signifies the level of purity of the metal used in the gold ring. Here’s a quick look at the different purity levels and the three-digit numbers assigned to each of them.
- 9-carat gold – 375
- 14-carat gold – 585
- 18-carat gold – 750
- 22-carat gold – 916
- 23-carat gold – 958
- 24-carat gold – 995
The three-digit number represents the percentage of gold in the ring. For instance, the percentage of gold in a 22-carat gold ring is 91.6%, whereas, in an 18-carat ring, it would be 75.0%.
HUID, also known as the Hallmark Unique Identification number, is a six-character alphanumeric code. The HUID enables customers to quickly authenticate the veracity of the gold hallmark identification and ascertain the purity of gold in the gold ring. The six-character code can also be used to trace the origins of the ring.
To get more information regarding your gold ring or to verify its authenticity, all that you need to do is download the BIS CARE smartphone application. Open the app and navigate to the ‘Verify HUID’ section. Here, enter the HUID present on the inner band of your gold ring. You should now be able to view a host of information including the name of the BIS-registered jeweller that made the ring, the purity level of the gold used in it, and the A&H centre that hallmarked the jewellery.
Since it is virtually impossible to determine the quality and genuineness of the gold used to manufacture a gold ring by simply touching or feeling it, having an identification mark like the hallmark can be very useful.
The gold hallmark identification acts as an assurance of the gold ring’s authenticity and quality, allowing you to purchase the piece of jewellery you covet without worrying about falling prey to any scams.
That’s not all. According to a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) notification published on April 04, 2022, all gold jewellery including gold rings are mandatorily required to be hallmarked from June 01, 2022. The notification also mandates that all jewellers sell only hallmarked jewellery to customers.
So, the next time you purchase a gold ring, make sure to check for the gold hallmark identification without fail.