Hallmarking of gold jewellery is carried out on a voluntary basis under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986, in accordance with the Vienna Convention's international criteria on hallmarking.
A Hallmark consists of five components -
The BIS Mark
The fineness number (corresponding to given Karatage)
The Assaying and Hallmarking Centre's mark
The jeweller's mark
The year of marking denoted by a code letter and decided by BIS (e.g. the code letter 'A' was approved by BIS for the year 2000, 'B' being used for the year 2001 and 'C' for 2002).
The BIS hallmark, a mark of conformity widely accepted by the consumer bestows the additional confidence to the consumer on the purity of gold jewellery.
BIS maintains surveillance on certified jewellers at a defined periodicity. Market surveillance involves collection of hallmarked gold jewellery from licensee's retail outlet/manufacturing premises and having it tested for conformity in BIS recognized Hallmarking Centre.
Deviations in degree of purity of fine metal and observance of operations not in conformance to the system may result in cancellation of BIS license, and invoke legal proceedings for penalties under the BIS Act, Rules and Regulations.
The principal objective of assaying and hallmarking is to protect a consumer against victimization of irregular gold quality.