People who think that Hallmark guarantees the purity of gold jewellery must think again as a section of jewellers are misusing the logo and embossing fake sign on untested jewellery to dupe customers at a time when gold burns a hole in the pocket.
Several goldsmiths of Bowbazar said that Hallmark logo on jewellery doesn’t not always guarantee its purity, as the sign may be a fake one. “The showroom owner instructs us to emboss Hallmark logo on a thin gold plate. Each sign is cut out carefully into small pieces and pasted on jewelleries that have not been tested for Hallmarking,” said a goldsmith in BB Ganguly Street, a major jewellery hub in the city, on condition of anonymity. He said that if the names of the showroom owners were disclosed, he would be tracked down and no one will employ him again.
Another goldsmith in the area said that at times, only a portion of the jewellery is sent for Hallmark testing. “In a gold neckpiece, only the necklace is sent for Hallmarking while the chain is not. This way, the jewellery as a whole will have Hallmark logo, but the chain may have impurities,” he explained. The spurt in such activities was noticed after the gold prices in India skyrocketed.
The customers are easily duped, as the sign of Hallmark is enough for them to be sure of the purity of the ornament. It is only when they go to exchange such jewellery at another showroom or melt it to make another jewellery, they realise that only a portion of the jewellery was Hallmarked.
The general secretary of Bangiya Swarna Shilpi Samity, Mr Tagore Chandra Poddar, said that several goldsmiths working not only in Bowbazar but also in various parts of the state have reported such forgery. Mr Poddar said that when the government was launching the scheme, the samity had demanded that Hallmarking should be given to only 22 carat gold and that license for Assaying and Hallmarking Centres should be given to government agencies. But, their demands were not met. The deputy director general (eastern region) of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Dr DK Chaudhury, said that the testing is very meticulous to ensure that the Hallmarked jewellery is pure and till now they have not received any complaints from consumers. However, if a jeweller misuses the Hallmark sign, his license may be cancelled and he would have to redress the customer’s complaint. An original and Hallmark tested ornament would have the Hallmark logo, purity number, logo of the assaying and hallmarking centre, jeweller’s logo and the month of purchase code.