IBJA Wishes 'Select' Hallmarking of Silver

IBJA_logoMumbai: India Bullion & Jewellers Association (IBJA) is writing to the consumer affairs ministry about allowing hallmarking in silver of only certain purity, as in gold, to prevent customers from being duped by wily silver jewellers and dealers.

“Ignorance among silver buyers is great and that’s being used to the hilt by certain unscrupulous elements within the trade,” said Surendra Mehta, national secretary of IBJA. “We are writing to the consumer affairs ministry and the Bureau of Indian Standards to allow only certain standards of purity to be hallmarked.”

Hallmarking gold and silver is voluntary. However, in the interest of consumer protection, the BIS mandated that gold of only 14, 18 and 22 carat would be allowed for voluntary hallmarking by jewelers from January 1. Previously, any caratage up to 22 cwt could be hallmarked and certain entities were passing off ornaments of lower purity as 18 or 22 carat.

IBJA wants a similar rule to be passed for silver so that jewellery and articles that are hallmarked bears the stamp of that purity only. In silver, the standard is 92.5% -sterling silver -followed by 99.9% for bars. However, Mehta alleges that few jewellers and dealers sell wares that are “hugely adulterated“.

For instance, he said, silver idols on average consist of just 30% silver, the rest being copper, bismuth and other alloys, even though the seller charges for sterling silver.

Similarly, silver furniture has just 10-20% purity, utensils (5060%) and jewellery (60-70%), resulting in consumers being shortchanged “big time.”