Indian Gold Hallmarks

Asian gold

Unlike British hallmarking (which is mandatory for all items of gold jewellery weighing more than 1g), gold jewellery made in India does not have to be hallmarked or assayed. For the consumer, there is therefore no guarantee that an item purchased contains the correct quantity of gold, or in-fact, any gold at all!

If you have gold to sell, don’t forget to check out our up-to-date scrap gold prices.

Occasionally, we’ll receive an item bought in Asia in good faith, seemingly stamped as being gold, but being fake.

It is common to see Indian (and Asian) jewellery marked as ’22kt’, but when tested may only be between 87% to 88% pure, the equivalent of 21ct gold. This could be down to the quantity of solder used in intricate items (solder is often of a lower purity) or the jeweller simply using slightly less gold to increase their margin.

BIS Hallmark

A 22ct gold bangle with a BIS hallmark

To introduce more certainty within the Indian gold industry, the Bureau of Indian Standards introduced a voluntary BIS hallmarking scheme in 2000. For the consumer, an item of jewellery with the BIS mark can be relied on to contain the correct amount of gold.

Like a British hallmark, the BIS mark is made-up of a series of elements:

  • the official BIS logo
  • the purity / fineness of the item
  • the assaying & hallmarking centre’s mark
  • the date letter, indicating the year of marking
  • the jewellers identification mark

Indian Gold Hallmarks : The BIS logo

BIS Mark

Bureau of Indian Standards mark

This is the official BIS logo. Jewellers who want to use the BIS mark must obtain a licence and adhere to strict guidlines relating to the purity of marked items.

Purity / Fineness

The BIS recognise the following gold purities:

  • 375 : 9 carat
  • 585 : 14 carat
  • 750 : 18 carat
  • 875 : 21 carat
  • 916 : 22 carat
  • 958 : 23 carat

Assaying & Hallmarking Centre’s Mark

This mark identifies where the item of jewellery has been assayed and hallmarked.

Date Letter

The date letter shows the year the item was hallmarked. Starting in 2000 with the letter ‘A’ and moving up one letter each year, it is easy to work out the correct date. In our example photo above, the date letter ‘L’ tells us the bangle was assayed in 2011.

Jewellers Mark

This mark identifies the BIS certified jeweller / manufacturer of the item.

Related article: Bureau of Indian Standards hallmarking

19 Responses to “Indian Gold Hallmarks”

  1. I buy gold chain and on gold chain there is BIS LOGO 22K 916. THIS ONLY MENTIONED SHOW IS THIS REAL OR FAKE says:

    I buy gold chain and on gold chain there is BIS LOGO

  2. The hallmarking basically gives the purity of gold. The other important question is how many grams of gold in the jewelry, that remains unanswered by the hallmarking. When I buy a ring, it will tell me the purity of gold, but not the amount of gold.

  3. James Greg says:

    Is the BIS hallmark accepted worldwide?

  4. KIM says:

    Ihave had several pieces of jewelry with the marking C or Ct. They have all been gold. The purity of the items has been from 22kt to 24kt. if someone is telling you they are not real take to another place to have them tested. Dont metion that you took them some where else and see what they say. With that being said I have also come across more pieces that have been stamped kt and have not been real.

  5. thet says:

    hi I have a gold earrings that has 916 markings on it . that is all the markings, no BIS symbol or any other markings. Does it mean it’s gold? Can I rely on those numbers on the purity of gold?
    Thank you.

    • 916 would indicate the item is 22ct gold, but you can’t rely on those marks being truthful. Therefore, the only way to confirm the purity of your item is to get it tested.

  6. gold bangle thats been magnet tested+passed+its got diff stamps inside it is this gold ? says:

    Done magnet test on gold bangle+it dosent stick ,inside bangle its got stamp +marks but hard to see what karot it is +done all home tests bite test +scrape test +passed do you think it is real gold ?

    • Doing the magnet test on a gold bangle can be misleading because you’ll often find a steel tension wire running through its centre.

      It sounds like you need to identify those markings you’ve spotted… Get yourself a decent eyeglass / magnifier & see what the stamps say.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi I have 21 Kdm earrings just wondering would they be worth anything? Many thanks

    • KDM is an abbreviation for Cadmium, a metal with a low melting point that is often found in Asian jewellery and is used as a solder. Cadmium is very toxic when melted & is known to cause cancer, hence it is banned in many countries. Your earrings are 21ct gold, so yes they are worth something! Use our calculator in the right-hand column to get a valuation.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi i have bought 5bangles is marked 22ct the gold shop are saying isnt gold is that true please help

    • A mark of ’22ct’ give you no guarantee the item is gold. If you bought them in the UK, they should all have carry British hallmarks. If they don’t and they were sold to you as gold, report the seller to your local Trading Standards office.

  9. Robyn says:

    I have a pair of earrings marked 23C. I believe it to be purchased from India, and I am unsure what they truly are. Can anyone help me, please?

  10. Julie Thompson says:

    Thank you for that, Phil.

  11. Julie Thompson says:

    I have a gold bangle that is stamped 22ct. Can anyone tell me if this means it’s actually 22 carat gold, please?

    • Phil says:

      Hi Julie,

      If your bangle is just marked 22ct, it has more than likely been purchased abroad. You’ll need to get it tested to confirm it’s gold. Make sure you use someone who doesn’t charge for testing or for its return!

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October 20th, 2011 19 Comments » Hallmarks |