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Make sure your gold jewellery is hallmarked

Going by the crowds at jewellery shops these days, it is obvious that the skyrocketing price of gold is in no way deterring consumers from purchasing jewellery this festive season.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2010 01:09 IST
Pushpa Girimaji

Going by the crowds at jewellery shops these days, it is obvious that the skyrocketing price of gold is in no way deterring consumers from purchasing jewellery this festive season.

Well, if you have the money and would like to splurge, go ahead by all means, but make sure that the piece of jewellery you choose is hallmarked. Remember, the higher the price of gold, the greater the loss, in case you get defrauded on its quality or purity.

Hallmarking involves analysing or assaying jewellery in a laboratory (assaying centre) to ascertain its purity and certify it. And since the certification is done not by the jeweller selling the jewellery but by an independent agency like the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), it provides a third party guarantee on quality.

But more important, unlike certain other methods of checking the caratage, which only give you the purity on the surface to a depth of 25 microns or so, assaying is a more authentic method of testing the purity of gold.

If you go on to the website of the Bureau of Indian Standards. (www.bis.org.in), you can get a list of jewellers who sell hallmarked jewellery in your city and also access more information on hallmarking.

I must also tell you that if, at any time, you want to pledge your gold to take a loan, you would get a better deal with hallmarked gold.

Nidhi Ahuja: I purchased a pair of branded diamond studded earrings of 18 carat gold in early 2010. I have the bill and a guarantee card on the caratage. However, subsequently, I found that the quality of the jewellery was inferior than promised. It has been tested thrice on the company's caratmeter and found to be below 18 carats (17.7 approx.). Please guide me about what are the possible solutions in front of me, as the company is pressurising me to exchange the product for a new piece. Their product is not hallmarked, as it is backed by their brand name.

Answer: This is a clear case of cheating on quality and an unfair trade practice. It's obvious that the company is pressuring you to return the sub-standard piece in order to save face (or the brand's reputation).

I’d suggest that you take the following steps: First, get a receipt from the showroom confirming that the jewellery is only of 17.7 carats, as shown on their machine.

Second, please get this piece of jewellery tested at the Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) or any other assaying centre. You can get the address from the BIS website.

Tell them that you are a regular customer of this shop; if you have doubts about the caratage of other pieces of jewellery, you can have them checked up too.

Once you have the results from the assaying centre, file a complaint before the consumer court, seeking a refund and compensation.

You can also seek damages and costs of litigation.

This way, you will not only be holding the company accountable for poor quality, but also sending a clear signal that it cannot take its customers lightly. Also, this will force the company to be more careful with the quality that it sells and may even force it to go for hallmarking.

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