What is Welsh Gold and Why You Should Own Some

Do you love wearing jewellery or know someone that does? Gold jewellery is always such a special gift to give, and even better to receive. There are many types of gold out there but surely, one of the most special among them is that of Welsh gold.

There are many things that make this type of gold unique. To find out more, Welsh gold has a robust history that goes back quite some time.

The History of Welsh Gold

Welsh gold is special because it is found naturally occurring in two areas of Wales, making it very scarce. One of the areas it’s in is North Wales. The band spans from Barmouth upward toward Snowdonia. The largest mines were the Gwynfynydd Gold Mine, which is close to Ganllwyd, as well as the Clogau Gold Mine, close to Bontddu. The other area it’s found in is in South Wales near the valley of the River Cothi at Dolaucothi. It was once mined by the Romans in this location.

The Gwynfynydd Gold Mine in the Dolgellau Gold Belt was discovered in 1860. It remained an active source for mining gold from 1884 all the way on up until 1998. From it, it produced over 45,000 troy ounces of Welsh gold. The Queen was given a kilogram ingot of it for her 60th birthday in 1986. The mine was opened to the public, complete with guided tours, in the 1990s. Everyone was invited to pan for gold.

what is Welsh gold
Gold from Gwynfynydd Gold Mine

Sadly, the mine closed just over 20 years ago in January 1999 for health and safety issues. The changing pollution control legislation made it difficult for controlling the discharge from the mine into the River Mawddach.

The Clogau Gold Mine also suffered. Often called the Clogau St. David’s Mine, it was known for being the richest of all the mines in the Dolgellau Gold Belt. It produced copper and lead for a while and then went into gold production in the rush of 1862. It continued thriving until 1911, responsible for 78,507 troy ounces of Welsh gold. Since that time, it re-opened on several occasions for much smaller operations, though it closed in 1998.

Thus, Welsh gold is particularly rare, prized, and among the most sought-after types of gold anywhere in the world. It should be of little surprise then that since it was so noble, it was made for royalty.

Welsh Gold and the Royal Family

Welsh gold has been a tradition in the wedding rings for the British Royal family since 1923. The very rare and special Welsh gold is found in every piece of Clogau jewellery making it even more exclusive. It features a Welsh dragon stamp to certify its authenticity.

The tradition of doing so began with The Queen Mother followed by Lady Elizabeth-Bowes-Lyon when she married the Duke of York. It’s a tradition that has pressed onward ever since, with Queen Elizabeth II’s marriage to Prince Phillip in 1947, Princess Margaret’s marriage in 1960, Princess Anne’s marriage in 1973, and perhaps one of the most memorable of all, Prince Charles’s 1981 marriage to the late Princess Diana. It’s still a thriving tradition that has continued in the current century. In 2005 Prince Charles’s marriage to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Welsh gold jewellery was used. It was again part of the proceedings for the 2011 marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton, and most recently when Prince Henry married Meghan Markle in 2018.

Clogau Welsh Gold

Clogau Welsh Gold is in its second generation based in Wales. In this phase, it has endured a tender history of 30 years with captivating jewellery formed from the rare Welsh Gold, a tradition of royalty that has spanned over 100 years since it was first used in 1911.

It’s ideal as an heirloom with permanent links to Wales that are personal and cultural, something that will stay in the family and be passed down for all of time. William Roberts made a lovely discovery in 1989, finding the abandoned gold mine tucked into Snowdonia’s mountains.

Unable to use the mine as a tourist attraction because of its location in Snowdonia National Park, he sought out the hidden gold buried in the mine. This precious bit of Welsh gold was then used to create the most beautiful, high-quality gold jewellery in the world.

In 1994, the first jewellery from Clogau emerged and now these rare pieces are the pinnacle of perfection for the royals as well as anyone that desires to look and feel like one. It is completely unique and bears the Welsh dragon symbol to prove its authenticity. There is also a ‘CG’ mark stamped into each piece of Clogau jewellery from rings to necklaces and bracelets to watches and more, all made by hand in the traditional way.

More About Welsh Gold

Sometimes seeing is truly believing. Should you be near or traveling to Wales, stopping in a Welsh gold mine makes learning about the world’s rarest gold even more fascinating. The Dolaucothi Gold Mines offer underground tours and the chance to explore Welsh gold. At the National Museum of Wales, there’s a collection of Welsh gold that’s impressive to see while visiting, though from afar, you can view it on the website.

Perhaps there will be even more opportunity to enjoy Welsh gold. A recent discovery was made in Dolgellau. Until more is known though, you can explore all about Welsh gold by reading up on it. N.C. Williams’s book, WELSH GOLD: Every Cloud has a Golden Lining is a fascinating read on the subject. It would also make a great gift!

There’s something that would make an even more phenomenal gift though, and that’s pure Welsh gold jewellery itself. Here are the top 5 Welsh gold jewellery gifts, perfect for the holidays or any special occasion.

1. Clogau Women’s Heart-Shaped Chain Bracelet

For an affordable yet stunning gift that features precious Welsh gold, this 19-centimeter bracelet done in hand-polished silver features a 9-carat rose gold embellishment on the heart. It’s elegant and dainty, sophisticated and classic with a modern approach. It bears the traditional Welsh dragon and Clogau marks of authenticity to make a major impression for any occasion. The window display box allows for proper safe keeping of what will surely be a most treasured piece.

2. Clogau Women’s Tree of Life Ring

 

Rings are always a prominent reflection of wealth and prosperity as well as commitment. A fashionable and delightful gift, this Clogau ring is hand-finished and polished in silver. The ring features leaves to signify the Tree of Life, one of the most revered Welsh symbols. Alternating leaves upon the ring are made from the rare Welsh gold of the mines in Snowdonia. This solid and shining piece is a beautiful gift for any woman.

3. Clogau Tree of Life Sterling Silver and Rose Gold Hoop Earrings

Why stop at giving a Tree of Life ring by Clogau? Give her a set of hoop earrings to match and she’ll know just how loved she is. This beautiful pair of genuine .925 sterling silver hoop earrings are 2.5 centimetres by 4 millimetres in diameter. With leaves of the Tree of Life alternating in silver and in a rose gold Welsh gold, they are purely stunning. The snap-shut closure at the back assures confidence when wearing them. Arriving in a gift box, they make a luxurious gift backed by all the esteemed credentials that make Clogau jewellery fit for royalty.

4. Clogau 9-Carat Yellow and White Gold Daisy Ring

This stunning Welsh gold ring by Clogau is the highest echelon of luxury. Made with just a touch of the rare Welsh gold hailing from Snowdonia’s mountains, it is hand-crafted for pristine style. The dainty design of yellow gold with white gold daisies makes a stunning band that she’ll love to wear every day. It’s absolutely timeless and brilliantly classic, backed with the engraved authenticity markers. Let her know how much she is loved with a gift that will make holidays or anniversaries even more splendid.

5. Clogau Silver and 9-Carat Rose Gold Tree of Life Flower Ring

Some women prefer to sparkle in silver. Clogau’s .925 sterling silver Tree of Life ring features a stunning hand-crafted flower in the centre with the rare Welsh gold from Snowdonia’s mountains forming the petals. It’s an exquisite piece with rich details throughout. Along the outside of the flower is an outline in silver, enhancing the Welsh gold to make it stand out. With all the engraved indications of being pure Welsh gold and Clogau’s high standards, it’s the kind of gift she’ll love to receive.

Welsh gold might be bred for royalty, but anyone can feel like royalty with beautiful pieces that incorporate this rare and special gold. Because they contain small designs using Welsh gold, they are easily attainable yet uniquely special for any budget. Even with the discovery that more Welsh gold could be out there, it is still so endangered and relished that it will always be seen as the elite of all gold.

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