Satish Pratap, the dynamic person behind the hallmarking of gold and silver talks about how hallmarking can ultimately benefit the consumers. He also talks about the future prospects of hallmarking in India. Excerpts of the exclusive interview given to The Friday Mania.
Brief us about your hallmarking business?
Government of India has identified BIS or Bureau of Indian Standards as a sole agency in India to operate this scheme. BIS hallmarking Scheme is voluntary in nature and is operating under BIS Act, Rules and Regulations. It operates on the basis of trust and thus it is desirable that aspect of quality control are in built in the system responsible for managing quality. This scheme was introduced in the year 2000 by the government to protect the consumers from purchasing lesser cartage jewellery from the market and also to make sure that they get the proper value for their money. The BIS Hallmarking Scheme has been aligned with International criteria on hallmarking (Vienna Convention 1972). As per this scheme, license is granted to the jewelers by BIS under Hallmarking Scheme. The BIS certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS recognized Assaying and Hallmarking Centre. We SPS ASSAY AND HALLMARKING is a BIS recognized Assay and hallmarking centre. We have branches across Kerala at Trichur,Calicut, Trivandrum, Kodungaloor and Ernakulam.
Since how long you are into this?
We have been in this business since 2007
Is hallmarking beneficial for the consumers and whether it’s mandatory to have hallmarking.?
Yes definitely! Hallmarking of gold jewellery was introduced by the government of India to protect the interests of the consumers. Earlier gold ornaments were purchased from the jewellers purely on the basis of trust which was sadly misused by many jewelers by selling under carat-age gold and cheating a lot of consumers in the process. The consumers lost a lot of money when they went to sell their old ornaments or mortgage the jewellery with financial institutions. The consumers were never able to realize the actual,value of gold. Hallmarking scheme also ensures that the consumers get the full value of gold in the banks as well as in the open market when they sell BIS hallmarked ornaments or pledge it in the banks Though the scheme now is voluntary government is planning to introduce mandatoryhallmarking for all jewellers across the nation.
How do you do this. Explain the techniques used in this?
The jeweller has to bring the ornaments to the hallmarking center for ascertaining the purity and homogeneity of the ornaments. This is only possible if the jewellers have a valid BIS license to assay and mark the jewellery and to sell the hallmarked jewellery in their showroom. The manufactured ornaments are weighed and tested preliminary through an X-Ray Florescent Spectrometer to ascertain that all the ornaments have a purity above 916.0. Anything that fails below that reading is rejected and given back to the jeweler and the rest is passed ahead for sampling. The sampler takes a random sample cuts it from a lot and is further send for chemical testing of the sample which is known as assaying. The entire process takes about 3 hours. Once the assaying results are determined and is satisfied that it is above 916.0 by the quality manager the ornaments are finally send for laser marking. The BIS hallmark, a mark of conformity widely accepted by the consumer bestow the additional confidence to the consumer on the purity of gold jewellery.
What made you to venture into this business?
We have been in the assaying and purification of jewellery from 1955 and were pioneers in this technique. We had to take the opportunity when the time was right and the government was promoting their scheme from 2001 and we saw a big future in the standardization of gold and silver that was unheard of in the initial years.
Your background and experience in this business.?
We have been in the testing and purification business for more than six decades and it was only natural transition for us. We hail from Sangli district of Maharashtra and have learned this art of assaying and refining for many decades. it was our family business.
Your list of clients?
We hallmark for almost all the jewellers in the city and in Kerala but our major clients are Bhima jewellers, Kalyan,Chungath, Athira, Josco, Allapat and many more.We have a list of about 120 jewellers in the district.
We plan to expand more once the scheme is made mandatory now we already have 5 BIS recognized Assay and hallmarking centres . We are also looking forward to expand to Northern part of Kerala in the future.
My family consists of my wife Bageshri who is a Homeopathic doctor and two children Karan pursuing his studies in Symbiosis Pune in Commerce and Tanuj is in 10th standard in Choice school. We are a joint family and my brother Shekhar Pratap is a partner in the above ventures.