India will make hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts mandatory from mid-January, a senior government minister said on Friday, November 29. This move could boost demand in the world's second-biggest gold market by tackling quality concerns. Hallmarking will be mandatory from Jan. 15, but a period of one year will be allowed to set up new hallmarking centres and to clear jewellers' existing stocks, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters.

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A sales person shows a gold ring to customers at a jewellery showroom during Dhanteras, a Hindu festival associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in Ahmedabad, India, October 28, 2016.Reuters file

Tackling quality concerns

Hallmarking jewellery is not yet mandatory in India, where jewellery quality is sometimes an issue, mainly with small jewellers, and customers face problems when selling old jewellery for cash or exchanging it for new. 

The move will bring trust back to the gold industry, benefiting consumers and trade alike. - Somasundaram PR, managing director World Gold Council's Indian operations.

India, the world's second-biggest gold market

A goldsmith shop owner displays gold pieces at a gold market.Reuters

Indians' penchant for gold spans centuries and is rooted in the Hindu religion. Households across the country own an estimated combined 25,000 tonnes of gold, with families often passing their gold assets down from one generation to the next.

Jewellery manufacturing is concentrated in a few cities such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Kolkata. Harshad Ajmera, former president of the Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres, said there were ample centres in these areas to cope with the change.