Silver offers the best value among all precious metals. Even today it is an undervalued commodity and investment in silver is very beneficial and prudent. Unlike Gold, Silver is popular not only for jewellery but also for many gift articles. Silver is the only precious metal with so many offerings; Jewellery, Stationery, Gift Articles, Showpieces, Coins & Bars, Dining Set, Cutlery and even Books. It is considered to be a luxury in India and is gifted on every special occasion to friends and family from birthdays to weddings.
But do you know what things you need to consider before buying silver? Do you know that not every silver article or coin you purchase is same? That there is a difference in purity, price and even weight? Often you do not get the purity you are paying for or a price that is current in the market. Do you know what are the components of pricing while buying a silver article? With so many things to consider, let us help you with how to buy silver in India. We will cover the following topics in the following paragraphs.
♥ Silver Purity
♥ BIS Hallmark
♥ Silver Pricing
♥ Silver Weight
♥ Silver Articles Packaging
♥ Where to Buy?
Silver Purity & Standards Table
|Purity||Name||BIS Standard||Common Items|
|99.9%||Fine Silver||999||Coins and Bars|
|99.0%||Pure Silver||990||Coins, Bars and Silverware|
|97.0%||Pure Silver||970||Coins, Bars and Silverware|
|92.5%||Sterling Silver||925||Jewellery and Fancy Items|
|90.0%||Coin Silver||900||Jewellery and Fancy Items|
|83.5%||Silver||835||Jewellery and Fancy Items|
|80.0%||Silver||800||Jewellery and Fancy Items|
Did you know silver coins, articles and jewellery are available in different purity levels? You will hear terms like 925 or 92.5%; Sterling or Fine Silver; Silver or Silver Plated, etc. Also more confusion arises when sellers use words like tunch, pure, 100% pure, etc. to specify purity of the silver which are never accurate measure of purity.
What is Silver Purity?
100% Pure Silver is too soft to produce a functional object. Therefore an alloy of Silver and other metals like Copper is used to give the object strength. It does not however effect the appearance of the object.
Silver Purity refers to the percentage content of Silver in the said item. For eg. A 92.5% Pure Silver Pen contains 92.5% Silver and 7.5% other metals.
In India, silver jewellery and items are available in many standard purity levels. These are accepted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as well. Please refer to the Silver Purity & Standards Table above.
The world-wide accepted standard is the Sterling Silver or 92.5% Purity Silver. Anything above that is obviously better. However due to old trade practices you’ll often find that, in India, silver articles are generally available with purity below sterling silver. Very few jewellers and silver dealers are following silver standards and making silver jewellery and articles with at least 92.5% purity. In Indian market, you are charged the market price of 100% silver for
silver purity of above 80%. You get a discount in the 100% market price
of Silver if you buy a lower purity item. However you have to pay a mark
up of 15% to 20% on the actual purity. So it’s always best to buy the
highest purity possible. All silver items can have their purity certified. The best way is to stamp it with BIS Hallmark.
A silver alloy is a metal that contains silver and one or more additional metals. Since silver is a very soft metal and highly reactive to the air, it is typically used as an alloy. For eg: Sterling Silver is a silver alloy with 92.5% Silver (by weight) and 7.5% (by weight) other metals, usually Copper. So 100 grams of Sterling Silver will contain 92.5 grams silver and 7.5 grams copper.
A practical definition is that it is the weight of the silver that is present in the silver article. Mostly silver articles are always made of silver. For eg. Silverware like a silver glass. In that case weight of the whole glass is weight of silver. However there are many articles which only use silver in part. For Eg. A silver pen. In case of the silver pen, only the outer body is made up of Silver and the inner structure is made of different metals and materials. In this case Silver Weight is considered to be the weight of the outer body only. i. e. Weight of only those parts which are actually made of silver.
Market Price of Silver
The market price of silver metal keeps on changing. Silver is a commodity and is traded on national and international exchanges in spot and future markets. The price of Silver at a particular time is decided by the demand and supply on these exchanges. For practical purposes and in simple terms the price of silver is different every day. This price is called market price of silver. The best way to know the current (spot) market price of silver is to ask your trusted jeweller or it can be found online. However please keep in mind that the spot price differs from city to city as well. Also the price stated online can be different from the actual market price but generally the difference is marginal.
Price of a Silver Article
The final price of a Silver Article has the following components.
- Price of silver content: Every silver article has silver in it. The weight of silver in the article is multiplied by the current market price to get the price of the silver content in that article. For eg: If the market price of silver is Rs. 40,000/kg and weight of the silver item is 100 grams (0.1 kg) then the price of silver in the article will be Rs. 4,000/-
- Labour cost: This is the cost, that the manufacturer charges for making the article from a Pure Silver Brick over and above the price of Silver. (It’s also known as Majdoori in Hindi). Labour Cost is generally charged on per gram basis of weight of silver article or per piece basis. It can differ from item to item. Generally Silverware like Glass, Bowl, etc. is charged on per gram basis while unique items and low weight items like Silver Rose, Coconut, etc. are charged on per piece basis. Labour Cost also includes the profit component.
- Other material cost: Sometimes other materials are used in a silver article like in a pen, a refill is used. Sometimes wooden, marble base are used for Silver Idols. The cost of such materials is generally included in the labour cost or maybe specified separately.
- Packaging cost: Silver is a luxury gift and every luxury gift deserves special packaging. The cost of packaging will depend on the type of packaging available. A proper packaging will definitely improve the value of the Silver Gift.
- Taxes: In India, Silver is taxed @ 3% GST.
So how do you know if the silver you are buying is pure? Well, the solution is BIS Hallmark.
BIS Hallmark is highest purity assurance for Silver in India. This means that the product is tested and certified by Government Licensed Hallmarking Centre. Only Licensed Jewellers like us can get their articles hallmarked and it is very strict and very dependable.
Where to buy?
You can buy silver from anyone who gives you the guarantee of BIS Hallmark. That’s the best way to make sure you are not being cheated. There are many options available in the form of your local jeweler to online sellers.