Welsh Gold Engagement Rings and Jewellery
The Wonderful World of Welsh Gold.
Have you ever seen Welsh gold? Just like any other gold, I hear you say. Well, in a sense, that is true. My scientific sense tells me that gold is gold no matter where it comes from. However, as with all metals, the purity is rarely 100%. Some metal compounds, such as steel, are simply iron mixed with a small amount of carbon and other trace elements. Brass is copper mixed with nickel. Welsh gold's unique quality comes from the copper in the rocks that alloyed with the gold to give a beautiful red colour to the metal. The gold, thus, becomes distinctive in Welsh gold engagement rings and jewellery, and is highly sought after for its distinctive colour.
Welsh Gold Mines
St David's Gold Mine Bont Ddu.
Once the largest gold mine in Wales, the St David's Gold Mine is located at Bont Ddu near Dolgellau on the road that leads out to Barmouth on the coast. Originally a copper mine the gold mine was developed in 1862 and continued as a major producer until 1911. Since then the mine has reopened several times and was finally closed in 1998. Recent record increases in the price of gold has once again made gold mining at Clogau viable and in November 2010 Midas Exploration bought the mine with the hopes of restarting once again. In 2012 a survey was done by the Snowden Mining Consultants who assessed the mines and drew the conclusion that there were untapped veins that could release a further 500,000 ounces of 'unrealised' gold. Again in 2013 the managing director of the Clogau Gold company championed a reopening of the mine, not just for the gold but as a tourist attraction within this area of Gwynedd. This latter stimulus may be the piece that finally makes it happen as tourists are fascinated by mining operations of this nature. As recently as February 2014, an extension of an exploration license was granted by the Crown Agents so that Stellar Resources could continue to explore the viability of the area. I live in great hope that this will all happen.
Beautiful Clogau Gold Rings
Pure welsh gold on silver.
Welsh Clogau Gold rings are very often a combination of a simple sterling silver or gold ring and Welsh gold. There are two reasons for this. First, Welsh gold is expensive so it is a way of keeping the price down and the product competitive. Second the combination is often more attractive than a plain Welsh gold ring. Welsh Clogau gold has a unique reddish colour and looks wonderful against a paler background. It does not take a lot of the gold to create a lovely finished product. Beauty and price:a winning combination!
More Welsh Gold on Amazon.com for North American viewers only - Beautiful Welsh Gold Rings
Clogau gold is often placed as a decoration on a sterling silver or yellow gold band. In this case it has been added to yellow gold. There is the economic factor of keeping the price of the ring down but I think the combination is actually enhancing. The red gold is mellowed by the silver or yellow gold to a pleasing effect. If you ever visit the area around Dolgellau in mid Wales you will find many of the Jewellers have Clogau gold displays in their windows. Rose gold is available most places in the world but the red gold of Wales is quite distinctive and worth a look in all the jewellery shops that are found in the Welsh towns especially around Dolgellau. There is a lovely shop on Elgin Square in Dolgellau that has several display cabinets and they have a relationship with the Clogau Gold Company and take direct purchase orders that can be delivered or picked up.
Clogau Gold Rings for Men
For men there are lovely signet rings as worn by my uncle all his adult life.
Clogau Gold Company
A Tradition that Continues.
Clogau Gold Company was founded in 1989 by William Roberts. They make jewellery using small amounts of Welsh Gold taken from the Clogau Hills near Bont Ddu. For a while they tried to mine additional ore but the gold seems were poor and intermittent so after the mines finally closed in 1998 the jewellery is now made with small amounts of welsh gold from the remaining supply. Welsh gold has a close history with the Royal Family making the wedding ring for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1923, Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 and more recently the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. This is now a tradition that has continued for 89 years.
Clogau Welsh Gold Leaf- Pattern Ladies Ring - I Couldn't Resist
While walking around Dolgellau in Mid-Wales the other day we came upon a shop called 'Guinevere' located in Eldon Square Dolgellau. It an ideal shop to find a gift or to just browse at your leisure. There is a display case there highlighting Clogau Gold rings, earrings, necklaces, charms etc. and I decided there and then to treat myself to a gold leaf gold ring (pictured here). It came with a Certificate of Authenticity and a two year guarantee. I know it is going to give me great pleasure and will become a family heirloom. My daughter also bought an eternity ring so we feel that as a family we have made our contribution to the restarting of the Clogau Gold Mines.
photo taken by Christine Broster
Beautiful Clogau Hills in Snowdonia Mid Wales - The hills above the Mawddach Estuary
The Clogau Hills are a magnificent collection of hills and valleys above and around Bont Ddu. Access is quite difficult often only by following the courses of mountain streams. At the top the country opens out and there are many remnants of mining times, pieces of machinery, old mine shafts and entrances. It must have been quite the site when in operation. A lot of the waste rock still lies around in piles of debris but slowly nature has reclaimed the landscape. It is a beautiful place.
Other Welsh Gold Jewellery
So what do you do if you are already married or engaged and you would still like some Welsh Gold. Well there is plenty of variety out there to choose from. Earrings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and even cuff links. I have chosen as an example a very appropriate Welsh dragon pendant or necklace. The Dragon or Ddraig Goch has very effectively captured the way that Welsh Gold is incorporated into a motif with a different metal, in this case silver, to create a very pleasing piece while at the same time keeping costs down. This same necklace in pure welsh gold would cost much more.
I could not finish off this article without including my favourite piece. The way the red gold has been intricately wound around itself and then has been en-captured within an ovoid of silver to create an exquisite piece. A beautiful addition to any lady's evening attire. Note this item costs £400 and I am not advocating everyone to go out and spend that kind of money. This is just to show you what is available. I am sure that if you seek out gold plate then the same degree of beauty could be attained at a fraction of the price. My thanks to H Samuel for these photos.