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Gold is a yellow metal that is considered to be very precious in India. It is linked to most Indian traditions where people buy on the occasion of marriage, festival, anniversary, etc. While purchasing gold, its purity can be altered, which can go unnoticed. For this reason, the purity of gold has certain standardisation, which can ease recognising pure gold. In this article, we will cover What is 916 Gold, its purity standards and What is 916 Hallmark Gold.

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What is 916 Gold?

When someone purchases a gold ornament or jewellery, the seller often refers to “916 Gold”. This term represents the percentage of gold present in the gold jewellery, ornament or coin. 

Any ornament or coin with ‘916 Gold’ means that it is made of 91.6% pure gold, and the remaining is other metals. In other words, 916 is the finest of gold jewellery. Also, 916 gold has a proportion of 91.6 gms pure gold in 100 grams of alloy (22k/24k = 91.6%). It is the purest form of gold for any alloy making. 

100% gold is a soft metal with low malleability and durability. It is too soft to make jewellery or ornaments. Therefore, it is mixed with other metals like zinc, nickel, copper and silver to add strength. However, investors can buy pure gold for investment purposes.

Check: Gold Rates Today 20 May 2024

What are the Different Purity Standards For Gold?

People who are purchasing gold must be aware of the different purity terminologies. The following are the different purity standards for gold that can help customers to make an informed choice.

Purity Denotations
24 Karat99.9 gms of gold per 100 gms
23 karat95.8 gms of gold per 100 gms
22 karat (916 gold)91.6 gms of gold per 100 gms
18 karat75 gms of gold per 100 gms
14 karat58.5 gms of gold per 100 gms

What is Hallmark Gold? 

Hallmark refers to certifying the fineness and purity of gold. For this purpose, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is in charge of hallmarking the purity of gold and silver. Therefore, purchasing an ornament or jewellery with a hallmark ensures the quality of gold as per BIS standards. Also, customers are not cheated while buying or reselling these items. 

Hallmark ensures the purity of gold items. Hence, when a customer purchases a gold ornament or jewellery with a 916 hallmark, it guarantees its gold purity. Also, 916 hallmark gold will have a BIS symbol engraved on it, indicating its authenticity. Furthermore, 916 hallmark gold is a notation for 22k 916. This is the purest form of gold used for jewellery making. The following are the details engraved on the hallmarked gold – 

  • BIS logo
  • Retailer’s logo
  • Purity (916, 875,750 etc.)
  • Year of certification
  • Assaying centre’s logo

Since 15th January 2021, it has become mandatory for gold jewellers to sell only hallmarked gold. 

What is KDM?

KDM is a combination of gold and cadmium. KDM is an alloy with 92% gold and 8% cadmium composition. The KDM alloy’s melting point is lower than that of gold. Thus, when melted, it maintains the purity of the base jewellery. Thus, allowing you to retain the purity of gold jewellery when selling it. 

However, it was found that when melting the alloy, it was having an adverse impact on weavers’ health. Thus the usage and technology of KDM was banned and was replaced by other alloys. Therefore, you can no longer find KDM jewellery in the market.

Things To Remember While Buying Gold

Indians love gold, and their fascination for gold goes beyond realms. Buying gold jewellery has become not only an investment but also a fashion statement. However, gold can easily be altered. Hence, customers need to ensure that the gold they are purchasing is the purest form. The following are the things to remember while buying gold –

BIS Hallmark

Gold jewellery or ornament with a BIS logo indicates that it has been inspected and certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Also, it verifies the purity of gold by a licensed laboratory under BIS. 

In India, 40% of gold jewellery sold is hallmarked by BIS. Also, it has been mandatory for all gold jewellers to sell only hallmark jewellery, ornaments and artefacts. However, certain sellers provide hallmark certificates, not by BIS. This can be risky for the customer as it might not guarantee the purity of gold. Therefore, always look for the BIS hallmark to purchase gold in any form. 


The purity of gold is denoted in karat, where 24 karat gold is 99.9% pure, and 22 karat gold is 91.6% pure. All gold ornaments, jewellery and artefacts are made with 22 karat gold which is the highest purity. Thus, 24 karat gold is not suitable for making jewellery as it is a very soft metal.

Hallmarking Centre Number

The purity of gold is assessed if it is certified by a BIS authorised laboratory. Hence, as a customer, look for a lab license number or logo. This ensures that the laboratory has evaluated gold. Consequently, many jewellers provide certification cards with the laboratory’s license number. Also, sometimes, this number is engraved on the jewellery directly along with the BIS hallmark.

Jeweller Identification Mark

Apart from the BIS hallmark, jewellers should also have their identification number engraved on the gold when they send it for BIS certification. Thus, it is better to buy from a BIS certified jeweller to ensure the purity and fineness of gold. 

Difference Between Hallmark, KDM & 916 Gold

Hallmark Gold: Hallmark gold is gold that has the finesse and purity as per the BIS standards. 

KDM: KDM is a combination of gold and cadmium, having a 92% gold and 8% cadmium composition. 

916 Gold: 916 is a type of 22K gold that has 91.6 grams of gold in every 100 grams of alloy.


Purchasing gold is not like buying groceries. It is a very expensive purchase because it is a very valuable and precious metal. As a customer, you should be extra careful to ensure that you do not purchase low purity gold. Therefore, it is important to look for the 916 BIS hallmark to ensure the highest purity and fineness of gold. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the details engraved in hallmark gold?

BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) mark 
Fineness or purity grade of gold
Assaying and hallmarking centre’s identification mark 
Year of certification 
Jeweller’s ID

How to confirm the purity of gold?

To confirm the purity of the gold, you need to look for purity in karat and fineness, BIS hallmark, assaying, jeweller’s identification number and hallmarking centre’s identification mark or number.

What are alternative gold investment options to physical gold?

The alternative gold investment options to owning physical gold are Gold Mutual Funds, Gold Exchange Traded Funds (Gold ETFs), and Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs).

Why ‘hallmark gold’ price varies with the normal gold prices in India?

The main reason is wastage and making charges that the jewellers charge along with hallmarking charges on the ornament. And also, the price varies depending on the purity grade of the gold, for example, 24 carat, 22 carat, and 18 carat etc.

How is Hallmarking done?

Jewellers must get a BIS license to get the jewellery hallmarked. Jewellers can get it hallmarked from any of the BIS-recognized hallmarking and assaying.