Every aspect of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s impending nuptials are under intense scrutiny, so it should come as no surprise that the pair’s wedding bands are causing a whole lot of speculation—specifically, what kind of gold the pair will opt to use.
That’s because the royal family has a longstanding tradition of using the ever-rare Clogau gold in the making of their wedding bands, a practice that has been observed by everyone from the Queen Mother to Queen Elizabeth, from Prince Phillip to Prince Charles, and even, from Princess Diana to Camilla Parker Bowles to Kate Middleton.
In fact, Prince William was the first royal to break from tradition, only acquiring a Clogau gold band for his wife but not for himself.
“I anticipate that it was initially used by the royal family because the mine itself, the Clogau St. David’s Mine, was the most productive mine in the whole of the country and it still remains in the Guinness Book of World Records for that reason,” Clogau’s Managing Director, Ben Roberts, recently told Entertainment Tonight. “And, of course, the royals were looking for any gold that they could use from the country, so it would have been a natural selection.”
According to Roberts, the mine has since been “exhausted,” leading to a shortage of the valuable Welsh gold. The value of the metal has, in fact, increased exponentially to the point wherein the royal family keeps a reserve of it for special occasions—like a royal wedding.
“We’ve generally been paying anywhere between six to 10 times the value of gold, so you could see that there’s an obvious premium there,” he said. “But recently an auction up here in North Wales for two ounces of Welsh gold went for 30 times its gold value. So if you’re paying that for normal gold, say, from South Africa or Russia or recycled gold for example, you’d be paying approximately £2,000 (approximately $2,663) but this went for close to £40,000 (approximately $53,261), just in its raw form and in small nuggets.”
Harry, 33, may or may not choose to follow tradition with his and Markle’s wedding bands; judging by his decision to pay homage to his late mother, Princess Diana, however, the royal may choose to at very least consider it.
Markle’s engagement ring, which Harry personally designed with much thought and consideration, is a three-stone diamond ring crafted by Queen Elizabeth II’s go-to jeweler, Cleave and Company.
The stunning sparkler includes one large center stone that Harry acquired from Botswana, one of the couple’s favorite destinations, as well as two smaller diamonds sourced from Diana’s personal collection.
“The ring is obviously yellow gold, that’s her favorite,” he told the BBC on November 27. “The main stone itself is from Botswana. And the little diamonds on the side are from my mother’s jewelry box collection to make sure she stays with us.”
According to Kensington Palace, the pair will marry in May 2018, at St. George’s Palace on the grounds of Windsor Castle.