- Almost everyone in India loves this precious white metal. When we say we love buying silver, it most often means silver jewellery. Silver buying is not only a precious fashion accessory but also an investment. And we love to flaunt it for every possible occasion too.
- Most often, people find out to their surprise that they are fooled into buying impure silver jewellery at the cost of high-purity silver. To buy real silver and avoid losing money on your investment, read on.
The DOs of Buying Silver Jewellery
Check the purity
- The best method to check for the purity of silver is to find the hallmarking on the piece of jewellery. A hallmark carries the proper proportion of silver used. The official agency responsible for certifying and hallmarking silver jewellery in India is the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). So, when you buy silver, always go for BIS-certified silver.
- However, hallmarking of silver and gold jewellery is a voluntary process. If the jeweller is offering you a non-hallmarked article, you can request him to get it hallmarked. Hallmarking of silver pieces provides valid proof of the purity of silver article.
The four signs are as follows:
1. BIS logo
2. Purity grade/fineness
3. Hallmarking centre’s identification mark/number
4. Jeweller’s identification mark/number
Know the Basics
- Now that you know you have to check for a BIS hallmark, how do you go about reading it? Any jewellery with a hallmark comes with a specific number usually engraved with the BIS stamp. It also carries the year of hallmark and a mark to identify the jeweller. To understand what the caratage is, find the letter “K”. This denotes karat or the percentage of purity.
Cross-Check the price
- As important as checking the hallmarking is cross-checking the pricing. The purity of silver determines its price. The price of the silver changes every day depending on the prevailing market rate. Jewellery stores across India display the daily rates of bullion for their consumers.
Negotiate the Making Charges
- Another critical step while buying silver jewellery is to negotiate the making charges. Making jewellery involves a labour cost, which jewellers pass on to the buyers. The making fee varies as it’s generally a percentage of the present silver price. You have all the rights to bargain to get the best price on your choice of jewellery.
The “Donts” of Buying Silver Jewellery
- Now that you know the DOs, keep in mind, the Don'ts too to get the best value for your money.
Cheap doesn’t mean the best
- There are more than 13,700 BIS-hallmarked showrooms in India. And there are 435 BIS-recognised hallmarking and assaying centres too. However, there are many areas of the country without any hallmarking centres. Another area of concern is the integrity and quality of some of the hallmarking centres, especially in rural India. This brings us to a related point – don’t buy a piece of jewellery from a store if it’s cheap but not hallmarked. This makes it very important for you to purchase ornaments only from a trusted, BIS-hallmarked jeweller. To make your life easy, the BIS website carries an extensive list of the hallmarked jewellers in the country. You can also contact BIS if you are not satisfied and still have concerns regarding a future purchase.
Don’t resell to other jewellers
- The habit of buying new ornaments by exchanging old ones is a new we all follow. It’s best to avoid selling your silver jewellery to any store other than the one you bought it from. Most jewellers have a buy-back policy which ensures you get 100 percent of the net value of silver. However, you will almost always have to drop the making charges from the resale value.
Don’t buy jewellery without bills
- Buying jewellery is not an easy task. You have to pay taxes, and if you purchase above INR 50000, you may even have to share your PAN details. As a result, many people buy jewellery without a bill from the store. This can land you in trouble, especially when you exchange the jewellery or resell it. Always, we repeat it, Always ask for a bill.