Precious metals like gold and silver can be bought in 3 forms: physical, digital and stocks. I recommend buying physical metal.
Here’s how you can buy physical gold and silver in India:
Select an authorized seller
Check the market rate
Once you have selected a shop, you need to check the current market rate of the metal. Note that the rate varies from city to city. Get the rate of the city closest to you. Try sites like this: gold, silver.
There are different purity levels of gold, measured in Karats. As a consumer, you can buy 24K (Karat) or 22K. 24K denotes a purity of 99.9, that is out of the total weight of the metal, 99.9% is gold and the rest is impurities. If you want to keep gold as saving, go for 24K. If you want to use it as jewellery, you need to go for 22K (91.7%).
24K gold is available in the form of a rolled wire, iregular pieces (which are cut from a bigger biscuit) or coins.
Silver, according to BIS’s site, comes in purity levels of 990, 970, 925, 900, 835 and 800; with 990 denoting 99% purity, 970 denoting 97% purity and so on. But, in my experience, I was unable to find the purity marking when I was buying silver.
This document by BIS, titled Brief on Hallmarking Scheme further explains the regulations related to the purity of the metals.
Ideally, try to get jewellery with the BIS mark, but it might not be easily available in your case.
If you choose a coin or jewellery, there would be extra making charges. In the case of buying gold for savings and not for wearing, try to avoid these charges by buying in wire form.
The final price you pay will include the following layers:
- Current market rate
- Tax: 18% GST
- Making charges
Independent purity testing
You can also get your metals tested independently at Government labs at a low cost of ₹35 + GST for gold and ₹25 + GST for silver, per piece, irrespective of weight. Here’s the list of such centres.