Cochin Hallmark Company Ltd establishes Biggest Gold Hallmarking Network in India
Anyone buying gold in the country today will definitely ask for hallmarked gold. It ensures that the gold is of the specified quality. But who certifies the gold and stamps the hallmark on it? Look no further than the Cochin Hallmark Company, the first and biggest gold certifier in the country.
Chemmanur Gold Refinery Pvt Ltd., and its sister concern the Cochin Hallmark Company Limited was started in 1994, after the Govt of India repealed the Gold Control Act 1993. “It was the first scientific gold refinery for manufacturing 999 bullion in India. Till then the refineries in the country operated on outdated technologies that weren’t capable of matching international standards of 999 bullion,” says Mr James Jose, Managing Director, Cochin Hallmark Co Pvt Ltd. The refining plant and assay lab was imported in 1995 with financial assistance from KSIDC.
But the refining plant that had an expensive process did not find many takers in the country. “Those were difficult times when we found the going tough,” says Mr Jose. That was when the government announced the VDIS (voluntary disclosure of income scheme). Huge gold stocks were liquidated and monetized during the period, leading to huge business for the refiners.
There was no looking back since then. The company doubled its capacity in 1999, again with KSIDC’s assistance. In April 2000, when World Gold Council announced plans for introducing gold hallmarking in India, the company pounced on the opportunity. It already had a fully imported fire assay laboratory and it became the first gold assay and hallmarking centre in the country.
Since then it has been regularly expanding its capacity and upgrading its machinery to keep pace with the changing times. It set up new units at various locations in Kerala, Tamil nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and its engagement with KSIDC has deepened over time.
Today, Cochin Hallmark Company Ltd is the biggest gold hallmarking network in India . The units are patronized by all the major jewelry groups in India and together they hallmark more than 4 million pieces of jewelry every year, surpassing the largest agencies in the world.
It has set up the biggest gold hallmarking centre in the country at Trichur and has the first gold assay laboratory in the country to be certified as per IS 17025 : 2005 – the highest accreditation for any gold testing laboratory in the world. The 10,000 sq ft facility can hallmark 10 lakh pieces per month.
The company has state of the art equipments including laser engraving machines and exports gold products to various countries in the world. The two companies together have a turnover of Rs 320 crore per year, and command around 8-10 per cent of the total market share in India.
Cochin Hallmark Company is setting up an integrated gold processing complex in Ernakulam, with all facilities for the gem and jewellery industry. The facilities will be available for the general consumers as well. The company is also upgrading all its hallmarking centres. “We have to make ourselves obsolete before others do so. The industry has a 10-year cycle and we have to keep upgrading the facilities,” says Mr Jose.