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The hallmark shine on gold sold in showrooms

Jewellers in the state are jittery over the implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold from January 2020, reports Shoma Patnaik

The jewellery industry in India is abuzz with the news of mandatory hallmarking of gold expected to kick in from January 1.

  In a bid to improve the quality of gold being purchased by consumers the government recently announced that it will make it compulsory for jewelers to sell only hallmark gold from January 2020. It is likely that jewelers will be given time to adjust to the rule although the government is not yet revealed what the grace period will be. Most jewelers expect the grace period to be a year. 

  Meanwhile in Goa where residents love to purchase gold, consumers are cheering over the mandatory hallmarking. On the other hand ornament makers are viewing the announcement with concern. For generations they have been doing business on faith and trust. The gold they sell is without any certification and jewelers claim that their quality can never be doubted. 

   Vikram Verlekar, managing director, Ulhas Jewellers, Margao, says that the rule is welcome. “The initiative will create transparency and generate lot of confidence in customers,” he says. According to Verlekar, “Usually customers bargain a lot on the making charges which limits the jeweler to compromise on the quality of jewellery. It results in breach of trust.”

   He says that, mandatory hallmarking will make jewelers sell quality metal leading to customers paying reasonable making charges. “It will improve confidence in buying of gold.” Verlekar adds that hallmarking gold has its challenges in Goa which has only two hallmarking centers in Margao and Mapusa.

  “It is very important to create necessary infrastructure and appropriate accessible hallmarking centers all over India in the one-year period. Today Goa has two centers, one in north and one in the south. After compulsory hallmarking both the centers will be insufficient for all the retailers in the state. Jewellers will have no objection as long as proper infrastructure is created,” says Verlekar.

  Ground level check reveals that local jewelers use the testing centers sparingly. A jeweler from Canacona hardly finds it feasible to travel to Margao for testing. Local gold sellers feel that more centers need to be set up before the rule is implemented in the state.

  Fellow Goans love gold like their contemporaries in other states. They treat gold as an investment and ornaments also have sentimental value. They are passed on from mother to daughter. Most Goans believe that the jewellery in their bank lockers is pure and worth its weight in currency when sold.

  The government had on June 14 2018, said that gold and silver jewellery would be hallmarked. It is expected that the department of consumer affairs will issue a notification by January 15, 2020, for making gold hallmarking mandatory. The department is said that the Bureau of Indian standards will not exercise its authority to arrest, search and seizures to implement the rule.

  Goa is a gold loving state and every street has a jewellery shop for residents. Most of the branded jewellery outlets sell hallmarked products. But smaller gold shops offer no certification and customers go by the word on the purity.

 Gold prices are currently ruling at high of around Rs 39,000 per ten gram range for 24-carat purity. The high price is dampened purchases considerably but the overlying attitude of the average Goan towards gold is favorable. 

  India is estimated to have imported 26 tonnes of gold in September 2019, down from 81.71 tonnes a year ago. In value terms, the September imports fell 51 per cent to US $1.28 billion, according to reports.

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