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Dippal Manchanda, Director of AnchorCert Analytical and Chief Assayer at the Birmingham Assay Office, will be presenting his latest paper, ‘Energy Dispersive XRF as an alternative reference technique for the quality control of jewellery & precious metal products’, at the 16th India International Gold Convention in Amritsar on Saturday 3rd August. The three-day event seeks to bring together experts from across the world to explore strategies on how to sustain gold as an asset class within the current environment and changing landscape of the precious metal industry.

In exploring the use of EDXRF technology as opposed to the traditional fire assay method in the process of hallmarking precious metal articles, Manchanda’s talk will examine how the prevalence of the use of the traditional assaying medium across all BIS approved hallmarking centres in India can be attributed to a range of misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Focusing on the one of the misconceptions - the unfounded opinion that EDXRF results cannot be used to hallmark Asian jewellery which contains a large amount of solder, a style prevalent in Indian manufactured pieces - Manchanda commented, ‘There is a widespread false assumption that jewellery containing a lot of solder cannot be accurately assayed and thereby hallmarked by using EDXRF technology when in fact this is very much not the case. Albeit, a slight procedural change is required to process this type of jewellery through EDXRF technology, but we accurately hallmark a large quantity of this type of jewellery every day at the Birmingham Assay Office’.

In the UK, around 98% of jewellery is hallmarked based on XRF results. Whilst the fire assay method does produce a more specific result of the exact metal content in a metal alloy, for the pass or fail needed for the hallmarking process the EDXRF process does accurately and efficiently assess the finesses of a metal article.

Manchanda’s talk at the Gold Convention will question the validity of concerns about the accuracy of EDXRF technology in comparison to the fire assay method, taking into consideration the idea that despite the potential of the EDXRF method for achieving fast, precise results in principle, in practice it does not always produce the desired accuracy. Exploring both the positives and negatives of EDXRF technology, Manchanda will go on to break down the factors that are negatively affecting the quality of EDXRF results, identifying particular affecting factors and suggesting a way forward for obtaining more reliable results in relation to its use in hallmarking.

Manchanda’s talk will also touch on the social and environmental responsibility that hallmarking institutions now face to invest in cleaner options for the determination of the fineness of metal articles. In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, the pollution output of the fire assay process in comparison to the much cleaner, greener EDXRF technology is a serious concern. Involving large amounts of the toxic substance lead, the fire assay method poses individual health risks for those assaying jewellery articles and contributes to the growing levels of pollution. Manchanda’s paper will briefly explore the wider global issue of the impact that the fire assay method has on the environment and offer EDXRF technology as not just a possible option, but a viable and necessary solution.

‘Knowing the harmful effects of lead on both the human body and on the environment, the use of lead in the assaying process must be limited’, Manchanda said. ‘Going green is no longer just an option but a necessity’. 

Aimed at Assay / Hallmarking Centre staff, Commercial and any laboratory using XRF for conformity assessment, Manchanda’s talk promises to be incredibly important for the future of the assaying process in hallmarking institutions in India and across the world.

Dippal Manchanda will be presenting at the 16th India International Gold Convention which will be held at Amritsar, India starting on 1st August 2019.

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