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Hallmark, KDM, and 916 Varieties of Gold

Gold hallmarking in India offers verified purity, building trust between consumers and jewellers. The BIS license ensures quality, favouring BIS 916 gold over now-illegal KDM gold. Despite being 91.6% pure, hallmarked gold assures value for money and better resale value. A guide to BIS license application is also provided.

Gold has always been regarded as a symbol of prosperity, beauty, and wealth. In India, gold holds immense cultural significance and is an integral part of various celebrations and traditions. When it comes to purchasing gold jewellery, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of terms like 916 gold, hallmark gold, and KDM. In this blog, we will explore these varieties of gold and address common FAQs to help you make informed decisions when buying gold jewellery in India.

916 Gold:

916 gold is a term commonly used in India to refer to 22-carat gold. The purity of gold is measured in carats, and 22-carat gold implies that it contains 91.6% pure gold and 8.4% other metals such as copper, silver, or zinc. The addition of these metals enhances the durability and strength of the gold jewelry, making it suitable for crafting intricate designs.

Hallmark Gold:

Hallmarking is a process that validates the purity of gold jewellery. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is responsible for certifying and hallmarking gold items in India. Hallmarking involves testing the purity of gold and placing a mark or stamp on the jewelry, indicating its authenticity and quality. The hallmark includes the BIS logo, purity grade, jeweler’s identification mark, and year of hallmarking.

What is Hallmark Gold?

Hallmark gold refers to gold jewellery that has been certified by BIS and bears the official hallmark stamp. This stamp guarantees the purity of the gold, providing assurance to consumers that they are purchasing genuine and high-quality gold jewellery.

Why should I go for hallmarked gold in India when it is only 91.6% pure?

While hallmark gold is 91.6% pure, the hallmarking process ensures that the stated purity is accurate. Choosing hallmarked gold provides transparency and eliminates the risk of fraud or purchasing impure gold. It also assures buyers of the gold’s value and aids in easy exchange or resale in the future.

Can hallmarked jewelry be fake?

The hallmarking process is designed to prevent fake or adulterated gold from entering the market. However, there may be instances of counterfeit hallmarks. To minimize the risk, it is essential to purchase gold from reputable jewelers and verify the hallmarking details with the BIS website or app.

How do you check if gold is a hallmark or not?

To determine if gold jewellery is hallmarked, look for the BIS hallmark stamp, which includes the BIS logo, purity grade, jeweler’s identification mark, and year of hallmarking. It is always recommended to purchase gold from trusted jewellers who provide authentic hallmarked jewelry.

Do jewelers charge extra for hallmark?

Jewellers are not allowed to charge extra for hallmarking. The cost of hallmarking is included in the overall price of the jewellery. The BIS charges a nominal fee for the hallmarking process, which is borne by the jeweller.

How does buying hallmark gold jewellery benefit me?

Buying hallmark gold jewellery offers several advantages:

  • Assurance of Purity: 

Hallmarking guarantees that the gold jewellery is of the stated purity, ensuring you get what you pay for.

  • Quality and Craftsmanship: 

Hallmarked jewelry undergoes stringent quality checks, ensuring superior craftsmanship and durability.

  • Resale and Exchange: 

Hallmarking simplifies the process of reselling or exchanging gold jewelry, as its purity is recognized and trusted in the market.

  • Consumer Protection: 

Hallmarking protects consumers from counterfeit or adulterated gold and ensures fair trade practices in the gold industry.

  • Investment Value: 

Hallmarked gold holds its value well, making it a reliable investment for the future.

  • Trust and Reliability: 

Hallmark Gold carries the trust and reliability associated with the BIS certification. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you are purchasing genuine gold from a reputable source.

  • Legal Compliance: 

In India, it is mandatory for jewellers to hallmark gold jewellery to comply with government regulations. By buying hallmarked gold, you support the legal framework and contribute to the integrity of the gold market.

  • Consumer Awareness: 

The widespread awareness of hallmarking has empowered consumers to make informed choices. By opting for hallmarked gold, you actively participate in promoting transparency and ethical practices within the gold industry.

  • Value for Money: 

Hallmarking ensures that you are paying a fair price for the quality and purity of the gold. It protects you from overpaying for impure or substandard gold jewelry.

  • Family Heirloom: 

Hallmarked gold jewelry holds sentimental value and can be passed down through generations as cherished family heirlooms. The authenticity and quality of hallmarked gold make it a valuable and timeless possession.

  • National and International Recognition: 

BIS hallmarking is recognized not only within India but also globally. If you plan to travel or reside abroad, hallmarked gold is readily accepted and valued in international markets.

  • Customer Service: 

Reputable jewelers offering hallmarked gold often provide excellent customer service, including warranties, after-sales support, and assistance with repairs or resizing. This ensures a positive buying experience and long-term satisfaction.

Difference Between Hallmark and KDM Gold?

Hallmark Gold and KDM Gold differ in terms of purity assurance, certification, and craftsmanship.

Hallmark Gold is rigorously tested, certified, and often of high purity (e.g., 22K or 18K). It provides consumers with confidence in quality, making it suitable for both jewellery and investment.

KDM Gold (Kundan Gold) relies on traditional craftsmanship, with artisans fusing gold foils without soldering. Purity may vary depending on the jeweller’s skill. It’s chosen for its artistic appeal and intricate designs.

Your choice between them depends on your priorities: 

Choose Hallmark Gold for assured purity and certification and KDM Gold for its traditional craftsmanship and unique designs.

Difference Between KDM and 916 Gold?

KDM Gold and 916 Gold are terms used in the context of gold jewellery, and they represent distinctions in gold purity and manufacturing processes:

KDM Gold (Kundan Gold):

KDM Gold is crafted using the traditional Kundan method, where skilled artisans fuse gold foils together without soldering. This technique is renowned for its intricate and artistic designs. However, the purity of KDM Gold may vary since it depends on the craftsmanship, making it less consistent in terms of gold valuation. 

The actual purity of KDM gold can vary from piece to piece, and it’s favoured by those who appreciate unique, traditional designs over consistent purity levels.

916 Gold:

916 Gold refers to gold that is 91.6% pure, making it equivalent to 22 karats. It is known for its high gold content and is often used in jewellery. Unlike KDM Gold, 916 Gold is certified and stamped with marks like “916” or “22K” to indicate its purity level. This certification ensures that consumers receive gold of a specific purity, making it a preferred choice for those who prioritize purity.

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FAQs on Hallmark Gold

Why does 'Hallmark Gold' price vary with the normal gold prices in India?

Hallmarked gold, certified for purity by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), has a price that includes the certification cost and operational charges. This price may be higher than non-hallmarked gold, which lacks these additional costs and purity assurance. The value of hallmarked gold also increases due to the credibility it holds among consumers.

How can jewellers apply for license from the Bureau of Indian Standards?

In order to obtain a BIS license, a jeweller needs to go through the following process: The jeweller first needs to apply for a BIS license by filling an application form. The form can be accessed from the BIS's official website or from the regional/sub-regional BIS offices. Along with the application, the jeweller must submit a fee and a bank guarantee. The amount can vary depending on the jeweller's projected annual turnover. The jeweller's premises will be inspected by BIS officers. The officers will assess the facilities and competence of the technical personnel. If the application is approved, the jeweller is then required to mark a set of gold and/or silver artefacts with the BIS hallmark and send them for testing at a BIS-recognised Assaying and Hallmarking centre. If the samples pass the test, the license will be granted.

How does hallmark gold benefit the customer and the jeweller?

Hallmarked gold provides several benefits to both customers and jewellers: For Customers: The main benefit is the assurance of quality and purity. Buying hallmarked gold reduces the risk of purchasing gold of lesser quality than stated. This assurance helps customers make informed buying decisions and receive value for their money. In the event of a resale, hallmarked gold can fetch better prices. For Jewellers: Hallmarking increases credibility and builds trust with customers. It differentiates quality jewellers from those selling substandard products. This can help improve business and customer loyalty. It also promotes fair trade practices in the industry. Which one is the best, the BIS 916 gold or KDM gold? BIS 916 gold refers to gold that is 91.6% pure, a standard set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). On the other hand, KDM gold was a term used to denote gold in which cadmium, a hazardous metal, was used as a solder. As of today, KDM gold is not considered safe or legal due to the harmful effects of cadmium. Therefore, BIS 916 gold, which is certified for its purity, is unquestionably the better choice between the two.

How do I calculate KDM charges on gold jewellery?

KDM gold is no longer used or legally recognized due to the harmful effects of cadmium. Therefore, there are no charges specific to KDM gold. However, the charges for gold jewellery are generally calculated based on the weight of the gold, its purity, and the making charges. The making charges can vary widely based on the complexity of the design and the craftsmanship involved.

Why should I go for hallmarked gold in India when it is only 91.6% pure?

The percentage 91.6 signifies 22-karat gold which is generally considered ideal for making jewellery due to its optimal blend of purity and strength. Pure gold (24 karat) is too soft to be used for making jewellery as it can easily get scratched and lose its shape.

Is there a minimum purity requirement for Hallmark Gold?

Yes, hallmark gold is subject to minimum purity requirements, typically 22K (91.6% pure gold) for jewellery. This ensures that consumers receive gold of a certain quality.

How Can I sell Hallmark Gold jewellery at a higher price?

Yes, to sell hallmark gold jewellery at a higher price, consider factors like market rates, design, and condition. It's also essential to deal with reputable buyers or jewellers who appreciate the value of hallmark gold.

How can I verify the authenticity of Hallmark Gold jewellery?

To verify the authenticity of hallmark gold jewellery, look for the hallmark stamp that indicates purity. You can also request a certificate of authenticity from the seller or get the jewellery tested at a certified assaying centre.

Why is Hallmark Gold preferred over KDM jewellery?

Hallmark Gold is preferred for its purity assurance and certification, making it a trusted choice for both jewellery and investment. KDM jewellery, on the other hand, is favoured for its artistic craftsmanship and unique designs.

Is KDM jewellery safe to wear?

KDM jewellery is safe to wear, but it may have variations in purity. It's crucial to purchase KDM jewellery from reputable jewellers who adhere to quality standards.

Is Hallmark Gold more expensive than non-Hallmark Gold?

KDM jewellery is safe to wear, but it may have variations in purity. It's crucial to purchase KDM jewellery from reputable jewellers who adhere to quality standards.


When it comes to purchasing gold jewellery in India, understanding the significance of hallmark gold, KDM, and 916 gold is crucial. Hallmarking ensures the purity and authenticity of gold jewellery, providing consumers with transparency, trust, and confidence in their purchases. By choosing hallmarked gold, you not only safeguard your investment but also contribute to the integrity of the gold industry. So, make an informed choice, opt for hallmarked gold, and embrace the timeless beauty and value that it brings to your life.

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