It’s a (Welsh) gold rush. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Windsor wedding sparked numerous trends and takeaways for couples planning their weddings—from the floral arrangements to the dress style and more—with the latest twist applicable to the material used for her wedding band: Welsh gold.
Following the couple’s highly-viewed spectacle of a wedding on May 19, there has been an uptick in interest in Welsh gold since Kensington Palace revealed it was gifted by the Queen. The piece itself was crafted by Cleave and Company, the force behind Queen Elizabeth’s favorite pieces. However, Clogau, one of the biggest jewelry companies to utilize rare Welsh gold in its pieces, is benefitting from the very real Meghan Markle effect.
“Royal wedding rings are usually crafted by the incumbent Royal jeweler or a Royal warrant holder,” Clogau Managing Director Ben Roberts tells The Knot. “Although we don’t not make the wedding rings for the Royal family, there is a renewed interest in the Welsh gold story and, therefore, in Clogau.”
By association to the royals, fans have sought out bands and other pendants containing the gold for their own personal collections. “Royal traditions are always of interest,” adds Roberts. “Particularly when there is a British Royal wedding, which is celebrated all over the world.”
This correlation of using Welsh gold for wedding bands dates back to nearly a century ago when the British Royal Family started the tradition in 1923 with the Queen Mother (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) in her marriage to King George VI. It was passed down to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and then, the late Princess Diana. Current royal family members to use Welsh gold wedding bands include both Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla, as well as Kate Middleton, and now, Markle.
The value of Welsh gold exceeds others approximately by ten times its average worth. The metal is found in two regions of Wales with the Clogau Gold Mine being the largest and richest of its kind in the world during the 19th century. However, gold mining is outdated in Wales. In fact, all of the gold that has been mined from the region is now being auctioned.
In November 2017, ten lots of Clogau-mined gold were auctioned for £44,000 (approximately $56,890), a whopping contrast from the £9,000 ($11,636) it was originally expected to fetch. “The auctioneer had been told by experts that Welsh gold was ‘visibly discernible’ from other types and the ‘Clogau factor’ could increase the selling amount,” Roberts adds.
Most bands, however, only include a tiny bit of the metal. “Due to it’s scarcity, it would be very difficult to craft a ring from pure Welsh gold,” explains Roberts. “We add a small amount of Welsh gold to every piece of Clogau jewelry. Our Windsor wedding bands are particularly popular. This allows us customers to not only buy into one of the world’s rarest metals but also to buy a piece of rare Welsh heritage.”
The 2mm Windsor ring begins at £230 or about $297, while an engraved wedding ring of 5mm starts at £1,320 or $1,707.
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