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13.04.2007 Business & Finance

Standards Board To Mark Jewellery

The Ghana Standards Board (GSB) has started an exercise to emboss quality control marks on jewellery to authenticate their purity and fineness.

The method, known as “hallmarking”, is an accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in jewellery.

A statement from the Marketing and Public Affairs Department of the board said the exercise was aimed at protecting the consumer against fraud, due to irregular gold quality, providing accurate and verifiable reports about the constituents of jewellery and develop the export competitiveness of local manufacturers to make the country one of the world's leading gold marketing destinations.

Hallmarks are official marks stamped on gold, silver and platinum articles as a guarantee of purity and fineness of the jewellery.

In an interview, the Executive Director of the GSB, Mr Adu Gyamfi Darkwa, said the Ghana hallmark would contain three symbols, namely, the sponsor's mark (often called a maker's mark), a number indicating the purity or fineness in parts per thousand, and an Assay Office mark.

Currently, an X-ray Florescence (XRF) machine had been installed at the assay laboratory and trial tests had been completed on both locally-made and imported jewellery, he said.

Hallmark tests are independently carried out only by an assay office, which the board has established for the exercise.

The executive director said although the jewellery industry in Ghana had a long history with well-recognised and patronised products, there was a little or no control over the operations of the industry.

The situation, he said, had left consumers of jewellery items vulnerable and at the mercy of manufacturers and importers.

Mr Darkwa said manufacturers and exporters of genuine jewellery were also unhappy about the lack of control in the sector, hence the need to hallmark jewellery items.

The statement said there were enormous benefits to both consumers and manufacturers.

The board said the move was part of fulfilling its mandate to protect the consumer and to improve the precious mineral trade.

“We are extending our third party certification activities to the jewellery industry by building capability and capacity for the assaying and hallmarking of precious metals,” the statement said.

Story By Samuel Doe Ablordeppey