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24-carat gold? No way to know

In the coming wedding season, there is no way to know if the gold you buy is all 24 carats, reports Aditya Ghosh.

business Updated: Sep 10, 2007 02:32 IST
Aditya Ghosh

IT MAY not be pure for sure.

In the coming wedding season, there is no way to know if the gold you buy is all 24 carats. Lately, a number of international brands arriving in India have advertised their jewellery as made of the yellow metal in its purest form, but Indian authorities have no way to measure it.

“There was no concept of 24-carat gold jewellery before. Now, it seems they are making jewellery with pure gold as well. But we do not have the system of hallmarking it,” said S.L. Palkar, western region coordinator on gold hallmarks of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the authority to certify gold. “There is no way to know whether the gold sold as 24 carat really has 99.99 per cent purity or not.

To make matters worse, it will be mandatory from January 2008 for all jewellers in India to get gold hallmarked by the bureau. So, there has been a sudden outbreak of panic on getting its laboratories ready with technology and equipment.

The Gem and Jewellery Promotional Council brought it to the notice of the bureau in Delhi and a meeting was convened in August involving manufactures, importers, technical experts and BIS officials. It was decided that the bureau needed time to get measures in place.

The 24-carat measurement standard is available in countries like the UK, the US, Malaysia and Thailand. “We were at a loss because all other countries we operate in have the standards and monitoring mechanism,” said Art Sorakraikitikul, south Asian regional business development manager, Primagold International Co Ltd, a Bangkok-based company which has started sending their 24-carat jewellery to India.

“Pure gold jewellery will become popular. It is considered auspicious and wall-hanging pieces are also being made,” said Gem and Jewellery Council executive director Arvind Pradhan.