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The odyssey of gold

Centuries ago ancient Greek poet Homer mentions gold as “The glory of immortals and as a sign of wealth among ordinary human beings”. This statement holds good even in the current day.
Gold has been a major investment an average Indian chooses over many other avenues. It boasts its origin to approximately 75,000years in central and Eastern Europe. Gold has been carved in different patterns from bracelets to girdles, from earrings to brooches, from necklaces to head ornaments. Early 1500 BC, people of Indus valley civilization started creating gold earrings, beads and bangles. Over the years gold underwent remarkable changes in terms of the colour, finish, texture and purity.
Gold has never been bounded to a specific region; it has been omnipresent through generations of Gandhara period, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Indus valley civilization. It has always been a medium of exchange before the currency.

Science behind Gold

A noble Yellow metal, gold is known as “AURUM” in Italian. As a metal gold is hard, malleable and available in different colors. In order to make gold more malleable, it is combined with a host of alloys to make it ready for various kinds of jewellery. The various alloys used are:

  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Zinc

A definite proportion of alloys are mixed to gold to get desired characteristics. Also alloys alter the color, temper, hardness and annealing characteristics of gold. Following are the changes gold undergoes when mixed with alloys.

  1. The proportion of silver is increased to change the yellow to white.
  2. Redder in appearance as the proportion of copper increases.
  3. Zinc a decolorizer converts some red gold into a more yellowish tone by substitute of zinc.

The Karat system

The purest form of gold is expressed as 24kt which is considered 100 % Finesses.In Indian 22Kt gold jewellery is widely used which means 91.6% pure Gold. Remaining 8.4 % is any other metal or combination of metals through alloying.

24k 99.99% Very soft and not recommended to jewellery.
22k 91.60% Soft for manufacturing jewellery. Widely used in India for jewellery.
18k 75.00% Ideal for fine jewellery.
14k 58.50% Ideal for fine jewellery.
9k 41.70% Not acceptable for jewellery.

types of gold

Gold changes its color with people preferences; example women in Western countries prefer wearing light gold jewellery over heavy Jewellery like their Asians counterparts. Gold can also be changed to different colors:

yellow gold

  • * Alloyed with silver and copper & most frequently used type
  • * It is Malleable, ductile, & generally non-corrosive, it has a high melting point & is not susceptible to compression.

white gold

  • * Alloyed with a large percentage of silver, or a selection of other white metals.
  • * Is highly reflective and not subject to tarnish.
  • * The ancient term for it was Electrum.

rose & pink gold

  • * Alloyed with Copper, & Silver.
  • * The proportions are about one part of copper to three parts of 24-karat gold.

Hallmarking & Bureau of Indian Standards

Hallmark has been acting as a safeguard to purchasers of gold and gold articles for centuries in various countries. In simple terms, Hallmark is a purity certification of gold articles in accordance with Indian Standard specifications.

Gold articles are evaluated and tested at an official Assaying and Hallmarking Centre and then certified that the metal used conforms to the national and international standard of fineness and purity.

Who provides the hallmark in India?

The Bureau of Indian Standards, the country’s apex standards body, is involved in the development of technical standards (popularly known as Indian Standards), product quality and management system certifications and consumer affairs in all matters concerning standardisation, certification and quality.

The BIS hallmarking scheme has been aligned with international criteria on hallmarking (Vienna Convention 1972). As per this scheme, licence is granted to the jewellers by BIS under Product Certification Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centre.

Retail customer hallmarking

If you are in possession of heirlooms, legacy Jewellery that pertain to pre hallmarking era, do not worry. You can now take these ornaments to a nearest hallmarking centre and get them certified. Hallmarked jewellery not only standardizes your gold but also gives them a market value when you choose to sell it.

Understand the laser inscribed Hallmark on Gold Jewellery

what jewellery hallmarking denotes