Gold purchase is rarely done on impulse. A lot of care and thought is involved while buying gold jewellery. The biggest factor considered is purity of the metal. The 916-marking is considered the stamp of purity in jewellery, as approved by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
What exactly is this 916 BIS-hallmark? The 916 stamp basically indicates that the jewellery you are buying contains 91.6% pure gold. Why not 100% gold, one may wonder! In the case of gold, diluting the metal a little ensures better durability for the jewellery. Pure gold, in its original form, is very brittle and soft and does not make strong moulds.
The quality of gold in the jewellery is indicated by its karat—24 karat gold indicates 100% purity. A 22-karat gold piece indicates 91.6% purity. This means that of the 24 parts, only 22 parts of the ornament is pure gold; the remaining 2 parts are composed of other metals. The 22K gold usually contains 91.6% gold, 5% silver, 2% copper and 1.3% zinc. These elements alter the hardness and ductility, melting point, colour and other properties, making the gold suitable for making jewellery.
The 916 BIS hallmarking is mandatory for gold jewellery, though it has not been implemented by all retailers. At all the Jos Alukkas stores, we strictly abide by the 916 marking and all our jewellery are made from BIS 916 gold. Customers and gold dealers are yet to recognise the value of this important hallmark. The testing of the jewellery as well as the marking is done in recognised Assaying & Hallmarking Centres across the nation. These are private undertakings approved and monitored by the BIS. The BIS hallmark is also used in silver jewellery.
Remember, while 24K gold may be higher in value, it is not suitable for making jewellery. The misconception that 24K (or 100% purity) is superior to 22K (or 91.6% purity) is exactly that; a misconception. Hope this has helped you understand your gold better. Add more glitter to your life and style!