BIS CRITERIA FOR RECOGNITION OF
ASSAYING AND HALLMARKING CENTRES

 

0 GENERAL INFORMATION

0.1 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body had laid down Indian Standards for gold and gold alloys, its purity and testing which are in line with International Standards. With the increasing Awareness of the Indian consumer and market demand and competitiveness in the domestic and export market by the jewellery trade, for the high value metal, of which India is the largest global consumer, Gold and Gold jewellery Certification is launched by BIS under the BIS Act 1986. The scheme is named as the BIS Certification Scheme for Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery.

The Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery is proposed to be done on a voluntary basis. Certification of purity of gold jewellery will be done in accordance with the Indian Standard IS 1417 Gold and Gold alloys, Jewellery Artifacts - Fineness and Marking. Assaying of gold and its alloys will be done in accordance with IS 1418 Method for assaying of gold in gold bullion, gold alloys and gold jewellery.

Jewellers desirous of operating the BIS Hallmarking Scheme for gold jewellery shall apply to BIS and ensure homogeneity of batches of jewellery offered for Hallmarking by following a systematic quality system. The jewellers quality management system and conforming test reports will form the basis for Certification of Jewellers. A Certified Jeweller will have the license to get his jewellery Hallmarked by any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre. BIS certified jewellers would only offer finished/ semi finished jewellery capable of Hallmarking to any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre and will bear any risk associated with Hallmarking of the article.

Fee Schedule
Recognition of Assaying and Hallmarking Centre

Fees Rs.
Application Fees 10,000/-
Assessment Fee 3,000/- per manday+travel and stay expenses at cost
Recognition Fee 40,000/- for three years
Cost of Hallmarking 10% cost of Hallmarking charged by the centre
from BIS Certified Jewellers/ Jewellery manufacturers
Renewal Application Fee 2,000/-

The recognition of the Assaying and Hallmarking Centres would be done by BIS after ensuring that these Centres are following BIS Criteria for all the operations of the Centre i.e. receipt, sampling, assaying and hallmarking and for Assessment of Assaying Laboratory as per ISO/IEC Guide 25.

0.2 Alignment with International Convention on the Control and Marking of Articles of Precious Metals

BIS Hallmarking Scheme for recognition of Assaying and Hallmarking Centres is in line with International Convention on the Control and Markings of Articles of Precious Metals (Vienna Convention). As per this Convention an article bearing an Official Mark of one of the contracting states/countries and the `Common Control Mark' of the Convention will not undergo further testing and marking in another member country. A further advantage is that the responsibility mark does not need to be registered in the importing country. The Guidelines will be of much use when India becomes a member of Vienna Convention after gaining experience in the field.

1 SCOPE

1.1 The document lays down general as well as technical criteria for the recognition of an Assaying and Hallmarking Centres operating under the BIS Criteria for Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery (hereafter reffered to as Centre). The requirements for the operations of the Centre with respect to receipt, sampling and hallmarking are based on ISO 9002. The specific requirement for assessment of assaying laboratory of the Centre is based on ISO/IEC Guide 25.

The same are also in line with the Guidelines issued by the Convention on the Control and Marking of articles of precious metal.

2. DEFINITIONS

2.1 Access to a Certification System

The opportunity to obtain certification under the rules of the system.

2.2 Certification Body

An impartial body, governmental or non-governmental, possessing the necessary competence and reliability to operate a certification system, and in which the interests of all parties concerned with the functioning of the system are represented.

2.3 Certification Scheme

Part of a certification system relating to a certain product or group of products to which the same particular rules (such as rules on type testing, assessment of the manufacturer, product surveillance and/or production surveillance) and the same procedure apply.

2.4 Conformity with Standards or Technical Specifications

The conformity of a product or a service with all the requirements of specific standards or technical specifications.

2.5 International Standard

A standard adopted by an international standards organization or in certain cases a technical specification adopted by an international standardizing body.

2.6 International Standards Organization

An organization, governmental or non-governmental, whose membership is open to all countries of the world and whose principal function, by virtue of its statutes, is the preparation and/or publication of standards and/or the harmonization of the standards of its members.

2.7 Laboratory Assessor

An individual who carries out some or all functions related to laboratory assessment.

2.8 Laboratory Assessment

Examination of a testing laboratory of evaluates its compliance with specific criteria.

2.9 Manufacturer/ Jeweller

An organization, situated at a stated location or stated locations, that carries out or controls such stages in the manufacture, assessment, handling and storage of a product that enables it to accept responsibility for continued compliance of the product with the relevant requirements and undertakes all obligations in that connection.

NOTE - The applicant and the manufacturer are often the same body.

2.10 Marking

Application of indications on a product or on a package primarily for the purpose of identifying the product and/or certain features of the product.

2.11 National Standard

A standard adopted by a national standards body, in this case, by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

2.12 National Standards Body

A nationally recognized body whose principal function at the national level, by virtue of its statutes or the law of the country, is the preparation and/or publication of national standards and/or approval of standards prepared by other bodies. This body is eligible to be the national member of the corresponding international and regional standards organizations. In this case it is BIS.

2.13 Proficiency Testing

Methods of checking laboratory testing performance by means of interlaboratory tests.

2.14 Reference Material (RM)

A material or substance one or more properties of which are sufficiently well established to be used for the calibration of an apparatus or for the verification of a measurement method. (Definition taken from ISO Guide 6 but without the note appearing therein).

2.15 Testing Laboratory

A laboratory, which measures, examines, tests, calibrates or otherwise determines the characteristics or performance of materials or products.

2.16 Test Report

A document which presents the test results and other information relevant to the test.

2.17 Technical Specification

A document, which lays down characteristics of a product or a service such as levels of quality, performance, safety, dimensions. It may include terminology, symbols, testing and test methods, packaging, marking or labeling requirements. A technical specification may also take the form of a code of practice.

2.18 Third Party Certification System

A certification system managed by a certification body or under its surveillance.

2.19 Tolerance

The permissible variation of the specified value of a quantity.

3 ORGANIZATION

3.0 The organization (Assaying and Hallmarking Centre) shall have legal identity and Independent status. The promoters of the organization shall not have any linkage with Jewellers (manufacturers/retailers). It may be a Jewellers' Association.

NOTE - In case the Assaying and Hallmarking Centre is set up by Jeweller's Associations, no office bearer of the Association shall be involved in day to day working of the Centre.

3.1 Management to define and document the organization policy and objectives and commitment to quality.

3.1.1 Ensure that the policy is understood, implemented and maintained at all the levels.

3.2 All staff are adequately qualified and experienced to perform the duties of their position.

3.2.1 The responsibility, authority and the interrelationship of all personnel, who manage, perform and verify work affecting quality shall be defined.

3.3 Management to appoint management representative having defined authority and responsibility for ensuring implementation and maintenance of Quality management system in the organization.

3.4 Management Review

Quality System adopted by the organization to be reviewed at appropriate intervals to ensure its continuing suitability and effectiveness.

Records of such reviews to be maintained.

3.5 Internal Quality Audits

Organization shall carry out internal quality audits by trained internal auditors to ensure that the quality activities comply with planned arrangement to determine the effectiveness of quality system.

Records of internal quality audit and its follow up actions to be maintained.

4 DOCUMENTATION

4.1 Establish and maintain procedures to control all documents (internally generated and from external sources) that form part of quality documentation from receipt to despatch of work. These includes documents of external origin, such as regulations, standards, other normative documents, test and/or calibration methods, as well as drawings, specifications, instructions and manuals.

4.2 Detailed procedures and work instructions are required detailing the method, responsibilities and authorization.

4.3 Procedure shall exist to review the documents at given periodicity (or as desired) and revise the same.

4.4 Obsolete documents to be removed promptly from workplace and copy (if required) retained for legal purposes.

4.5 Changes to documents shall be done by the same function that performed the original review.

4.6 Procedures shall be established to describe how changes in documents maintained in computerization system are made.

5 SAMPLING

5.1 Sampling to obtain representative samples shall be carried out according to detailed documented instructions maintained by Assaying and Hallmarking Centre.

5.2 Sampling plans to be prepared by Assaying and Hallmarking Centres and approved by BIS before implementation.

5.3 The records maintained shall include the sampling procedure used, identification of samples, environmental conditions.

5.4 Samples shall have identifiable traceability with the batch and the test result.

6 ASSAYING

6.1 The assaying of gold and gold jewellery articles to be carried out as per IS 1418 "Methods of Assaying of Gold in Gold Bullion, Gold Alloys and Gold Jewellery", for the purpose of Hallmarking by the Assaying and Hallmarking Centre. The details of the Guidelines to be followed by the Centre for assessment requirements of the Assaying Laboratory are given in Annex A.

7 MARKING

7.1 Marking shall be carried out by the Centre according to detailed documented procedure, in order to provide legible and durable marks either through punches or laser machines. BIS will provide the punches and design of the Hallmark.

7.2 Hallmarking is to be done for jewellery offered by BIS certified jewellers/jewellery manufacturers. All such jewellery offered will only be acceptable if it is capable of being hallmarked. Records shall be maintained for registered jeweller/jewellery manufacturers (See item 16).

7.3 All the items to be marked with the following:

a) Purity Mark with fineness grade
b) Assay Centre's symbol
c) Year of marking denoted by a letter (as defined BIS)

NOTE: Each Centre to ensure that gold jewellery article received for Hallmarking shall mark with Jeweller's/Jewellery manufacturers logo, before offering the lot for Hallmarking.

7.4 A Linear design to be developed with in-built security lines in the background.

7.5 Marking to be done on all parts which can be easily removed or replaced. In case of bangles and light items, marking to be done at one place only.

7.6 Any gold article/ornament which has an additional part made out of any other metal will be additionally marked with the word 'METAL' on the metal part of the article/ ornament.

7.7 Any gold article/ ornament which is not solid or which is made with hollow centre and then filled with cement, lac or other foreign substance which is non-metallic will be additionally marked with the word 'FILLED'.

7.8 Vigilance to be maintained during use by recording Mark's impressions along a punch's life with a specific periodicity and record maintained.

8 INSPECTION

8.1 Inspection and monitoring of articles at various stages to be done by trained personnel.

8.2 Detailed procedure shall be laid down for the inspection and controlled movement of articles at various stages i.e.

a) Receiving

b) Sampling

c) Assaying

d) Hallmarking

e) For correct marking and any damage incurred

f) Packaging and return of cornets, if any

g) Final despatch

9 CONTROL OF NON-CONFORMING ARTICLES

9.1 Procedure to be laid down which shall include identification and segregation of non-conforming and rejected articles at following stages:

i) Sampling by Touch Stone Method and/ or XRF method

ii) Hallmarking

9.2 The responsibility for review and authority for the disposition of non-conforming product shall be defined.

NOTE - 1 the nonconformance at sampling is due to the reasons that the lot submitted is a) not homogenous; b) very different from the declared purity; c) not at sufficient advance stage of manufacturing or all the parts are not in position.

NOTE - 2 the non-conformance at marking stage is after assaying the purity content and when it does not conform to the declared value and thus reject mark is put.

10 CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS

10.1 Procedure shall be laid down for recording, investigating and dealing with customer complaints.

10.2 The complaints shall be resolved within one month.

In case the complaint is not resolved within given time frame i.e. one month same shall be brought to the knowledge of BIS.

10.3 If the complaint is challenged, the final authority for resolving the same lies with BIS.

11 PACKAGING

11.1 A system shall be established to ensure against loss of identity during final packaging for a) Unassayed jewellery after first stage of sampling; b) Hall marked jewellery articles; c) Rejected jewellery articles and d) Cornets (left after assaying of gold articles)

11.2 Items shall be suitably protected in final packaging for transportation.

11.3 Items shall be returned back to the client within 48 hours after sampling, assaying and Hallmarking.

12 SECURITY SYSTEMS

12.1 Security of all the jewellery articles/items and punches to be ensured during working hours and articles held overnight.

12.2 Security system with closed circuit TV/motion picture detection system or any other suitable mechanism linked to police is recommended for the security of a) Jewellery articles received during day time or held overnight; b) Punches maintained for Hallmarking purposes; c) Laser machine, if used for Hallmarking shall have an inbuilt (computerized) security in design.

13 TRAINING

13.1 All personnel to receive in-house training in the techniques required completing their duties e.g. sampling and Hallmarking

13.2 Duration of the training to be laid down for each activity.

13.3 In-House training to be imparted only by the personnel who are already trained for the job from organizations of repute or training is to be supplemented by external training.

13.4 Training records to be maintained of all personnel.

14 PROFESSIONAL IDEMNITY INSURANCE

14.1 The liability of the hall marked jewellery as far as purity is concerned lies with the Assaying and Hallmarking Centre and hence required to take professional idemnity Insurance.

15 INSURANCE

15.1 The jewellery submitted for Hallmarking purpose to be insured by the jeweller/client.

16 RECORDS

16.1 All relevant and complete records will be maintained with respect to the jewellery Hallmarked in the last three years for each of the BIS certified jeweller/jewellery manufacturer.

17 TEST REPORT

17.1 The test report shall include the following information:

a) Identification of the sample including source, date of receipt, form of sample;
b) Sampling procedure;
c) The method used by reference to this standard;
d) Gold content of the sample, in parts per thousand ( % ) by mass, as single and mean values;
e) If relevant, any deviations from the method specified in this standard;
f) Any unusual features observed during the determination;
g) Date of test;
h) Identification of the laboratory carrying out the analysis;
i) Signature of laboratory manager and operator.