Most pure gold sold in shops in the city already meets the higher standards that will take effect on Monday, according to a leading gold and jewellery store.
Under an amendment to the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, for pure gold, or chuk kam in Cantonese, the standard of fineness will be raised from 990 to 999 parts by weight of gold in 1,000 parts by weight of gold alloy.
Chow Sang Sang's director of sales operations, Lau Hak-bun, said: 'In the very old days, shops sold 990 gold as pure gold, but such practices disappeared quite a long time ago. Only very few small jewellery shops still do that.'
Marcus Lau Yiu-keung, head of trade descriptions and transshipment controls at customs, said the amendment was to give jewellery shops and customers better protection. 'With improved techniques, the standard of fineness is raised, so consumers and tourists can be assured of the quality of their gold products,' he said.
The amendment also stipulates a clear distinction between white gold, with the official Chinese term changed to pak sik wong kam , and platinum, which in Chinese will be called pak kam or to avoid confusion.
The two products were both previously called pak kam in Cantonese.
Lau Hak-bun explained that white gold was actually a gold alloy composed of 75 per cent of gold, while the rest was silver and other rare metals.
'The price of white gold is only about HK$7,000 per tael, whilst a tael of platinum is HK$12,000,' he said, adding that the requirements could offer a more standardised guideline to the trade and customers.
'People can know exactly what they buy from us so that they do not need to worry.'
Natural fei chui, commonly known as jade, will also be strictly defined under the law to show it has not been subjected to any treatment or process to alter its crystalline structure or original colour.