How much gold do your ornaments have?

How much gold do the ornaments that you wear have? What percentage of the ornaments sold in gold shops is gold? What is the actual value of gold? How much are you paying?  How can you say how many karats of gold you are buying? These are facts that gold enthusiasts should know.

The purity of gold is valued in karats. If it is 99.9 per cent gold, than it is said to be 24 karats. This gold is very soft. So ornaments are not made with pure gold. Ornaments that we wear  are hard and long-lasting. To make gold hard, metals like copper, silver, cadium, and other metals  are used. Depending on the amount of other metals that are mixed in the gold, the purity of gold get's reduced as 22 karats, 18 karats, 14 karats and less than that.

You already know that 24 karats of gold is 99.9 per cent pure. Similarly, 22 karats of gold is 91.6 per cent pure. It means that 8.4 per cent is other metals. If it is 18 karats of gold, than it just 75 per cent pure. Also, 14 karats of gold is 58.5 per cent, 12 karats of gold is 50 per cent and 10 karats of gold is 41.7 per cent pure.

Hall mark is the sign of purityrepresentative image

 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will certify the purity of gold. The certification will be in the form of Hall Mark. When buying gold, make sure that this mark is made on the gold. BIS will examine the jewellery and give this Hall Mark to the jewellery trader. So the ornaments with this mark are considered valuable.

Hall Mark will have BIS Standard mark. Then a number indicating the purity of gold, will be etched. If the gold is 99.9 per cent pure, the number '999' will be etched. Similarly, you will find, 958 for 23 karats, 916 for 22 karats, 875 for 21 karats, 750 for 18 karats, 708 for 17 karats, and 585 for 14 karats of gold.

After this, a number indicating the centre where the Hall Mark was made, will be etched. The year of manufacture is mentioned, in the form of an English letter code. That is, for the year 2000 they have given the code 'A'. Starting from there, every year is symbolised by the alphabet in a serial order. At the end, there is the mark of the jeweller who manufactured BIS certified jewellery. Truly speaking 22 karat gold is used more often in India. People of other nations use ornaments that have 14 to 18 karats gold.

The Hall Mark details can be examined on ornaments with the help of a magnifying glass. In case of doubt, you can go to a Hall Mark testing centre and inspect it. Customers use not just Hall Mark gold jewellery but also silver. However, the sale of Hall Mark silver is less. Because of lack of awareness among buyers, silver traders are able to cheat them. You can learn the details of jewellers have BIS licence, on the link http://www.

Price and other charges

The price of gold keeps changing depending on the number of karats and weight. Most traders charge for wastage, that is some gold is lost while making the ornaments. The wastage charges depend on the kind of jewellery that is being made. All ornaments are not the same. Some have more designs. Customers are charged, Making Charges, for the making of the design and the time taken to make it. VAT is charged as per State government regulations and shortly it is replaced by goods and service tax (GST).  All these charges will be made while buying gold ornaments. In reality, the wastage, making and other charges are not the same in all shops and keep changing depending on the store.

For example, if you buy a necklace weighing one tola of gold, and the shop keeper charges you Rs. 30,000 for one tola, you will be charged Rs. 3,600 more for wastage at the rate of 12  per cent wastage. The making charges will be Rs. 500 at the rate of Rs. 50 per gram. This altogether will come to Rs. 34,100. One per cent VAT on this is Rs. 341. On the whole, the amount to be paid will be Rs. 34,441.

If you bargain, these charges might be reduced. The trader will reduce the wastage and making charges and sometimes even the rate of gold. Taking a bill is a must when buying gold. A small bit of paper with estimates scribbled on it, will not do. Find out if the jewellery can be returned if necessary. It is better to buy in a shop where they would take back the ornaments if necessary. It is also important to see whether the weight of the gems in a gems studded ornament is removed. In case of suspicion, you can call 1860 425 3333, and inform the authorities concerned.

This is deceit

Earlier, ornaments were made with hand. With this, the traders usually charged customers for wastage, stating that some gold was lost while making the ornament. But at present, most ornaments are made by machines. There is no question of wastage. Still customers are being duped in the name of wastage charges.  Depending on the shop and the ornaments bought, these charges vary from 10 to 18 per cent. Some shops are charging 24 per cent. It is clear why some gold merchants are earning heftily.

Karat metersrepresentative image

Karat meters will determine the actual value of gold and how much of other metals is mixed, in an ornament. The machines work like X-rays. However, BIS states that these machines too are unable to determine the exact value of gold in an ornament. Weights and Measures Department has set up an X-ray Fluorescent machine at  Golconda cross roads at Gandhinagar in Hyderabad. Customers can verify the purity of their ornaments here. The whole process takes 30 minutes.

KDM gold is different

The word 'KDM Gold' is familiar. This means soldering of the gold ornament has been done with cadium. KDM gold ornaments are 916 pure. Many countries have restricted the use of cadium, because it affects the health of the wearer. Chronic ailments will strike in case of inhalation of smoke that is produced when cadium is melted. Many countries have regulation in place, directing jewellers to state that KDM jewellery is harmful to health. Unfortunately, in India, KDM is considered a very valuable product and sold with name changed.

One gram gold

You can find ornaments with one gram gold. But these are not gold ornaments. They are made with silver or copper and polished with a layer of gold. That is why they are called one gram gold. These ornaments last longer than imitation jewellery, by way of colour.  But that does not mean to say that they use one gram of gold in the ornaments.

Difference between 'carat'  and 'karat'

Karat is the measure for purity of gold. Carat is not a measure of purity. It is used as measure of weight of diamonds and gems in an ornament.  One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. A gem weighing one gram has five carats.

How do you measure purity of gold

1. Examine carefully the edge o the ornament. You can see if the colour is faded. In this case, the ornament is made of some other metal and is not of gold. It is only gold plated.

2.Just bite the ornament with your teeth with slight pressure. You can easily realise if it is made of gold or of some other metal.

3.If iron has been mixed, it can be detected with a magnet. If the ornament sticks to a magnet, definitely iron has been mixed.

4.When the gold ornament is rubbed against a ceramic plate that does not shine and black marks are formed, it should be understood that it is not pure. If pure, golden marks will be seen.

5.In case of suspicion, test it with nitric acid at the shop itself. A chemical reaction will take place once one drop of nitric acid is used. If it turns green, it should be understood that it is a gold covered article, with a base metal. If the chemical reaction is golden in colour than realise that the ornament is made of brass with gold covering. If the reaction is milky, then the base metal is silver, under gold covering. A pure gold ornament will not react to nitric acid.

Types of goldrepresentative image

If nickle, manganese or Paladium are mixed with gold, to make ornaments, they will be golden in colour with a white hue. When copper is mixed, the ornament will look reddish or rose in colour. Rose gold has 25 per cent of copper in it. This also means that it is 18 karats gold. When copper, silver or manganese is used to mix with gold, the ornaments will look ashen. If only silver is used, it will appear greenish. Unless one looks closely, because of the speciality of gold, all these will look like pure gold ornaments.  In America, white gold ornaments are worn during weddings and these are made of silver or paladium mixed with gold.


If your are exchanging old gold ornaments or selling them, you should not lose out. If they are 22 karat gold ornaments, the whole price must be paid. There is no question of wastage. In any case some traders charge for melting old gold ornaments or handling, which is not necessary. You need not pay for all these. You can choose another shop.

If you have to exchange or sell more than one article, than get each one weighed separately and not all at a time. A detailed Bill must be taken for every item that you buy. The Bill will help  in the case of theft or any other emergency. In well-known branded stores, you can not only get Hall Mark gold ornaments but you can go back to the same shop to exchange if necessary. Also there will less chances of traders duping customers.

Silverrepresentative image

Silver is pure and is soft like gold. That is why silver ornaments too are made by mixing some other metal. Copper, Zinc and Nickel are mostly used. That is why silver ornaments turn black when exposed to air and water. Silver ornaments too are Hall Marked like gold ones. Purity of silver is measured in percentages. Silver coins and bars have 999 purity. Sterling silver is 92.5 per cent pure.  Usually silver is shown as 999.9, 999.5, 999, 990, 970, 925, 900, 835, 800 pure. To test an article if it is silver, used some bleach. Pour a few drops on the article. If the surface loses shine and becomes black, then it is silver.

Sat, Dec 03, 2016, 07:15 PM
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