The first assay office in Sri Lanka was established in 1981 with the prime objectives of achieving legally enforced compulsory hallmarking system and joining the hallmarking convention to gain higher recognition for our jewellery in competitive foreign markets.
To acheive the objective of joining the convention ,a three member standing committee delegation of the Convention on the Control and Marketing of Precious Metals (Hallmarking Convention) visited Sri Lanka on the 28th of July , 2008 on the invitation of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority Chairman, Mr Hasitha Tillekeratne.
During this visit the members studied Sri Lanka’s accession arrangements to the “Hallmarking Convention” and also the capability of the assay office to comply with technical and legal requirements laid down by the convention.
The delegation members were ,
1) Mr Ronald Le Bas – Chairman of the Standing Committee/Irish Assay Office/ Ireland
2)Mr David Evans -Member/ Former Chairman of the Standing Committee and Deputy Warden ,London Assay Office/ United Kingdom
3)Mr Daniel Brunner- Secretary to the Standing Committee/ Switzerland.
The hallmarking convention which was singed among seven countries in 1972 , is an agreement between states to facilitate international trade in precious metal articles / jewellery, while maintaining consumer protection.
The convention is open to any member state of the United Nations having the required arrangements for “the independent assaying and hallmarking system”. The convention operates parallel to the International Association of Assay Offices (IAAO) of which Sri Lanka Assay Office is a member.
When any state becomes a convention member the particular country is legally empowered to use the convention’s Common Control Mark on gold, silver and platinum articles/jewellery after the finess( Purity) of the alloys has been tested (assayed) by agreed and accepted analytical ISO methods.
With regard to the European Union (EU) countries , most are members of the convention as well as practice mandatory hallmarking system where market surveillance activities regarding jewellery are effectively enforced . The latest country to join the convention is the Republic of Slovenia (July 2008).
In the SAARC region only India and Sri Lanka currently implement assaying and hallmarking while Pakistan is planning to establish assaying laboratories in the near future.
At the moment the convention is the only worldwide instrument , which harmonizes the control and marking of precious metals , thus eliminating trade barriers in the cross-border trade of precious metal jewellery. Therefore it is imperative that Sri Lanka joins the convention for the benefit of the jewellery industry, especially the export sector and for the economic development of Sri Lanka.
This article is reproduced with kind permission from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority