Gold warning to Asian consumers

By on 08/04/2010 in News

Gold is traditionally an important currency amongst the British Asian community; as wedding gifts, worn as accessories at parties, and as an investment in times of economic uncertainty, when gold tends to hold its value.

Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council is warning Asian buyers in the city to be cautious about the quality of the gold jewellery they are buying, and has conducted a number of visits to jewellers in the city.

Jewellery that originates from the Asian sub-continent is not initially subject to the same hallmarking system as in Britain, but once the item is put on sale in this country, it becomes subject to the same regulations. Without a hallmark, customers have no real way of knowing the precious metal content of the item. Trading Standards have found occasions where items are being sold without a hallmark, and also where items have been marketed with the incorrect carat value.

Gold jewellery is a popular gift at Asian weddings, where the bride will often wear a number of different jewellery pieces. This jewellery also often forms part of the bride's dowry. 

Although the practice is generally in decline, some members of the British Asian community still maintain the dowry, given by the family of the bride to the husband's family. Traditionally, the dowry was a way of protecting the bride by giving her a form of security, and some status with her in-laws. It was also a way of giving women their own wealth that they could share with their children.

Chris Neville, Head of Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council, says:

“We are keen to protect the interests of Asian consumers, and since we started visiting jewellers to remind them of their obligations, I am pleased to report that there has been a rise in traders visiting Birmingham's Assay Office to get their items properly hallmarked. People should refuse to buy items that are not hallmarked, as the seller is acting illegally and the hallmark is really the only assurance they have that the item is of the correct value and quality.”

If people have any concerns about a gold item that they have purchased, they can contact Trading Standards on 0121 303 6031.

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

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  1. Ian says:

    Why are only asian people warned? I know people of all races that regularly shop for gold jewelery in sparkhill…Positive discrimination?

    • geoffc says:

      Ian, the release was in response to a specific request from a Councillor at a recent Public Protection Committee that Asian consumers be warned about this issue. While it is true that all consumers may be at risk, the predominant market for Asian gold in Birmingham is customers from the Asian community.

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