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Differences between Hallmark, KDM, and 916 Varieties of Gold

April 21, 2023

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    Table of Contents

      Gold is a great investment option. Whenever you buy gold, you must always check for a purity certification. Read here about the differences between Hallmark, KDM and 916 gold.

      Indians use gold abundantly — from weddings to festivals, this shiny yellow metal always makes its presence felt. Wearing gold jewellery and gifting gold is considered to be auspicious.

      Hence when it comes to buying gold, purity is a big criteria. There are many options to choose from, including Hallmark gold , KDM gold, and 916 varieties. We often hear suggestions to buy hallmark gold, or to check the gold’s purity through government details.

      What does one need to do when they want to buy gold? What's the difference between Hallmark and KDM gold? What's the difference between KDM and 916 gold.

      In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between these types of gold and help you determine which one is the best for you.

      What is Hallmark Gold?

      Hallmark Gold is gold jewellery the undergoes accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in the jewellery. This process is called Hallmarking.

      The BIS is a government agency that sets the standards for gold purity in India, and any gold that meets these standards is given a hallmark stamp.

      The hallmark stamp ensures that the gold is of the highest quality and purity, and it also indicates the weight and fineness of the gold. ‍

      This process in which BIS stamps a certificate of purity and fineness on your gold, and this process is known as Hallmarking. 

      This basically means that the gold that was used in making your jewellery adheres to the international standards of purity and fineness. This is a clear sign that your gold is genuine and you need not worry about the quality of it. 

      ‍‍The actual mark of a hallmark is engraved on your gold jewellery through a laser and it consists of a six digit identification code called HUID.

      Representation of Hallmark stamp on Gold
      Source: ET

      What is BIS 916?

      You must have heard about different purity levels of gold – 22 carat, 24 carat, 18 carat, 14 carat, etc. These purity levels basically depend on the composition of gold in the jewellery. 

      22-carat gold is called ‘BIS 916’ gold.  The number 916 represents the purity of gold in the final product – 91.6% pure gold in a 100 gram alloy (a mixture of metals).  

      Similarly, 23-carat gold is known as 958 (95.8% pure gold in 100-gram alloy), and 18-carat gold is known as 750 gold (75% pure gold in 100-gram alloy). 

      The purest gold (24 carat) is too soft to make intricate designs on jewellery. Therefore, alloys are used to make it hard, and designs are created using the 22-carat gold (BIS 916 gold).

      That’s why, for the best purity, people generally opt for 22-carat gold ornaments rather than other varieties. 

      What is KDM Gold?

      KDM gold is an alloy for Cadmium and Gold mixed in a ratio of 92% gold and 8% cadmium.

      To understand the use of Cadmium, we first need t learn a bit about jewellery making. Delicate designs on gold jewellery are intricate, and beautiful, and their elegance is carved out through a process called ‘soldering’. 

      ‍In soldering, two different metals (like gold and silver) are joined together with a filler metal called ‘solder’. 

      ‍When choosing this filler metal, it is made sure that the melting point is lesser than that of gold — this is done to ensure that when the jewellery is melted, gold retains its purity. 

      ‍One of the most common mixture of metals used as a solder is Cadmium and Gold. The melting point of cadmium 321.1 °C  which is much lesser than Gold’s melting point (1064 °C).

      KDM Gold does have certain benefits, but the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has banned KDM gold from being circulated because it was found that cadmium was a hazardous metal, and working with it can hamper the health conditions of the artisans. 

      Difference in KDM, Hallmark and BIS gold

      Difference between Hallmark and KDM Gold?

      Hallmark Gold:

      • Certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) 
      • Labeled with a BIS hallmark indicating purity of the gold
      • Does not contain any harmful metals
      • More expensive than KDM gold

      KDM Gold:

      • An alloy of gold, silver, and other metals like and cadmium
      • The name KDM is derived from the process used to make this alloy, which involves the use of cadmium
      • Cheaper than hallmark gold
      • Use of cadmium in KDM gold is now banned in India due to its harmful effects on health and the environment.

      Difference between KDM and 916 Gold?

      KDM Gold:

      • KDM gold jewelry contains 92% pure gold and 8% cadmium
      • The cadmium in KDM gold makes it more durable and less prone to tarnishing or discoloration.
      • KDM gold is typically less expensive than BIS 916 gold.

      BIS 916 Gold:

      • BIS stands for "Bureau of Indian Standards," and BIS 916 gold is a type of gold alloy that is certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
      • BIS 916 gold contains 91.6% pure gold and 8.4% other metals, such as silver and copper, which are added to increase its strength and durability.
      • BIS 916 gold is considered to be of higher quality and purity than KDM gold.
      • BIS 916 gold is typically more expensive than KDM gold.

      In a nutshell, when buying gold, purity is the most important segment. The purer the gold, the greater the demand and the higher the price.

      When buying gold, you must consider other factors too, like manufacturing charges, or whether it is machine made or handmade, etc.

      These factors also have a major part to play in gold rates. You can also get buyback terms on the gold that you buy and consider a hallmarking or purity certification too. 

      If you are considering starting investments and bringing variety in your financial portfolio, you must give gold investments a try. In addition to investment, gold also plays a major role in collateral in gold loans.

      You can directly invest in gold or consider investments in digital gold- one of the fastest growing investment options today. With digital gold, you can invest in 24 carat gold and even get it delivered home.

      With the advancement of technology, several online platforms like the Jar app, are available where you can make gold investments according to your goals and ambitions. If you want to know more about digital gold and why it’s a healthy investment, check out this article!

      With Jar, you can use spare change and pennies to invest directly in digital gold, and with daily spins, you can double the investment amount!

      ‍Smart investment plans like these are a small pedestal to reach your financial goal. If you are planning to make a big investment in the future, you must definitely start with such a small investment first and understand investment basics. To be financially savvy, you will need to take some risk. 


      Q) Is Hallmark 22 or 24 carat?

      Answer - "Hallmark" itself doesn't refer to the specific carat of gold. Hallmark is a certification process and symbol that guarantees the purity of gold jewellery or items in India. However, hallmarked gold can come in different purities, including 22 carat and 24 carat.

      It's important to always buy gold from a reliable jeweller who can provide you with a certificate of authenticity and purity. Additionally, look for the hallmark symbol to ensure you're getting the gold purity you paid for.

      Q) Which is better KDM gold or Hallmark?

      The answer to whether KDM gold or Hallmark gold is "better" depends on what you prioritize: purity and resale value or increased durability.

      • If purity and resale value are your top priorities, go for Hallmark gold.
      • If you prioritize strength and durability and are comfortable with slightly less purity and potential health concerns about outdated KDM alloys, KDM gold might be an option (though verify if newer, safer alloys are used).

      Remember, KDM gold is not officially recognized in India anymore due to the cadmium issue. You might encounter jewelers using the term loosely for different alloys, so always ensure you understand the specific alloy composition and potential risks before buying.