The Dirty Truth About Indian Gold

wealthymatters.comHere is an article that appeared in the TOI in Jan ’09.If you invest in Indian gold jewellery,this article might just persuade you to have a fire assay done on your hoard to determine its fineness.


Your wedding jewellery may not be as pure or as precious as you think it is. Several goldsmiths across India have taken to adulterating the precious metal with iridium and ruthenium,and are getting away with it, as until recently the metals failed to show up on all purity checks. It’s an alchemist’s dream, and the practice is becoming increasingly commonplace if you go by the stocks of the ‘duplicate’ metals at even the smallest of karigar workshops.

Both iridium and ruthenium belong to the platinum family of metals, and when mixed with gold, do not form an alloy but sit tight in the yellow metal.

What makes the adulteration even more alarming is that the metals do not replace silver and copper, which are added to the gold during the jewellery-making process to harden the soft, malleable yellow metal. As Saumen Bhaumik, general manager (Retailing) at Tanishq put it, “The two metals manage to camouflage as gold.’’

TOI tested several pieces of jewellery, and all had some amount of either iridium or ruthenium lurking inconspicuously with the gold. A 22-carat gold bangle bought in 2003 from a century-and-a-half-old jeweller—who has since then expanded from Mumbai to other parts of the country—when tested at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, had 3% iridium in it.

A gold chain bought from a shop in Bangalore in 2002 when tested at another citybased centre had 2.39% ruthenium, while a pair of earrings from Kerala was found to be adulterated with 4.65% of iridium.

On an average, a piece of jewellery or a bar of gold contains nearly 5-6% of the adulterant, and manufacturers—wholesalers and retailers across India—are aware of how rampant this notorious practice is. Consumers, however, are the biggest losers as they have been kept in the dark. Read more of this post

Empowered Jewellery Shopping

wealthymattersIf you are a typical Indian,and have some spare cash,you probably buy gold and that too as gold jewellery.The jewellery might be for personal consumption but it is still going to have to do double duty as a safe,low-risk and liquid investment . So the jewellery is going to be bought with a sharp eye on its resale value.Purity and grammage will be important considerations.Also getting a good price will be a major consideration and there is bound to be a bit of bargaining.

Concerns about purity can be allayed by buying hallmarked jewellery. To find out the jewellers who carry BIS certified hallmarked jewellery in any city in India you can search here :Link

The price of gold follows the international rate,but there is no such thing as an all India rate.Infact there is nothing as a city-wide rate.Each shop notifies its own rate.But the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation’s Trustmark rate for hallmarked gold jewellery can be used as a peg while bargaining about the price.To find out the Trustmark rate SMS GOLD RATE to 575758 or check the rate on the GJF website here :Link

In case you are making a significant purchase ,it is worthwhile getting a hallmark certificate from the jeweller. Hallmarking costs 25 INR per item,a pair of earrings being counted as 2 items.

Hope you find Great Bargains!Happy Shopping!

%d bloggers like this: