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Jewelers are requesting yet another delay for the mandatory hallmarking deadline.

Indian jewellers are seeking another extension to the deadline for selling mandatorily hallmarked jewellery as the pandemic prevented them from extinguishing old stock of the metal. Mid-June is the existing deadline, which the industry wants pushed back to the start of 2022.

Jewellers with old stock have not been able to sell them off due to the pandemic, and they have decided to meet the Union minister of state for consumer affairsfood and public distribution, Rao Saheb Patil Danve, and officials of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to defer the mandatory hallmarking deadline to January 1, 2022.

In July 2020, due to the pandemic, the government had extended the deadline of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts by more than four months to June 1, 2021, from the earlier deadline of January 15, 2021.

Anantha Padmanabhan, chairman, All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), told ET that it was not possible to melt high-value bridal jewellery stock lying with jewellers for hallmarking as jewellers may incur a loss.

GJC represents about 3 lakh jewellers.

“About a fifth of the total rollover stock constitutes bridal jewellery which takes time to be sold off,” Padmanabhan said.

Hallmarking of gold jewellery was introduced in India by BIS, the agency that certifies assaying and hallmarking centres, in April 2000. But, as of now, hallmarking is voluntary in the country. Out of around 3lakh jewellers, only about 30,000 sell hallmarked jewellery.

The GJC chairman said that by September 2021, jewellers will be able to replace 70% of their stock with hallmarked gold.

“We will need another three to four months to completely replace the stock with hallmark gold. So the deadline should be extended to January 1, 2022,” he said. “The small jewellers will suffer if the deadline is June 1, 2021.”

The government has made hallmarking mandatory for 22 karat, 18 karat and 14 karat gold jewellery. It is a certificate of purity of the metal used in the jewellery. Hallmarking specifies the exact quality of the gold used. It protects the consumer from counterfeiting or buying gold of inferior quality compared to what is claimed by the jeweller.

Jewellers have demanded that hallmark be mandatory for 24 karat, 23 karat and 20 karat jewellery as well. A karat is a measurement indicating the proportion of gold in an alloy out of 24 parts, so 18K gold is 18/24 parts gold.

“We anticipated that at least 1 lakh jewellers would opt for mandatory hallmarking by October this year. But the pandemic has delayed the process,” said Uday Shinde, president of the Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres. “However, I feel that the process should not be delayed beyond June 1, 2021. If the date has to be deferred further, then jewellers should disclose to the government about their stock – both hallmarked and non-hallmarked.”



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