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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Doing jewelry shopping while in India

While in India, do you have any plans for shopping? How about jewelry? Gold prices are dropping and Indians are cheering. Well…. Indians are obsessed with gold and Indians consume about 500 tons of gold every year making it the largest consumer in the world. If you’re visiting India, this is the time to do shopping for gold jewelry to buy for your Indian born children.

You’re the best judge of what you want to buy but on the same token of confidence, do you know how to buy? 24 Karat Gold – pure gold is too soft to wear as an ornament so it needs to be blended with small quantities of strengthening alloy to make it strong. Do you know how much of gold and strengthening alloy is blended in a piece of jewelry you’re buying for sure? Your family friend goldsmith may have told you about the Karatage but can he give you objective information in writing? This is precisely where the customers are vulnerable to succumb to fraud – by adding disproportionate amount of strengthening alloy.

Taking the malpractice and the magnitude of the market into consideration, Government of India has introduced hallmarking of jewelry and appointed ‘Bureau of Indian Standards’ (BIS), the national standards body of India as the body to prepare and promote standards and operation of different quality certification schemes. Hallmarking is a system of analyzing of precious metals like gold in a laboratory to ascertain their purity or fineness and certifying it.

Hallmarking is not compulsory but voluntary so when you go for your next jewelry shopping, go for hallmarked piece. You can find the jewelry shop selling hallmarked pieces near you from the BIS web site at http://www.bis.org.in/cert/locate.htm and choose 1417:1999 option before you choose the location (state and city) and search. When you do make a purchase, don’t forget to get your official payment receipt and hallmark certificate of purity.

You may have to pay more for the hallmarked jewelry, but that's a small price to pay for quality. It is believed that If jeweler sell you jewelry made of say 16.5-Karat gold, claiming it to be of 22-Karat purity, you stand to lose as much as Rs 1000-1200 for every 10-gm of jewelry bought. You may be paying more once but you’re buying peace of mind and also investing in something for sure to appreciate with time. Happy shopping.

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