Welsh Gold

Our Heritage, Present and Future

The world's rarest and most sought-after gold

Welsh gold has a history stretching back at least 2000 years. Prized for its scarcity and origin, it has become one of the most sought-after golds in the world. Within every item of Clogau is a guaranteed measured amount of Welsh gold taken from the St. David's Gold Mine in Snowdonia.

This is the same gold that has been used to create generations of pure Welsh gold wedding rings for the Royal family, including the ring worn by Catherine Middleton on her marriage to Prince William.

Introduction

Wales, with its dramatic scenery, is steeped in mystery and romance. Its majestic heather-clad hills cut by cascading waterfalls, and mountain streams rushing through gladed valleys are both the places of legends and of history running back into the mists of time.

Yet, beneath the quartzite surface of this jewelled landscape, there is another treasure, as valuable as it is beautiful – Welsh gold.

The songs of ancient Celtic bards, and archaeological records, affirm that Welsh gold has had a long and fascinating existence. Not only is Welsh gold one of the rarest previous metals in the world, but its reputation has taken on an almost magical dimension through time.

The tradition is presumed to have started by panning gold from alluvial placers in river beds, or near old rivers. By 75AD, however, large scale mining was already underway at Dolaucothi and from 1862 until 1911 the Clogau St. David's Gold Mine near Dolgellau had produced 165,031 tonnes of gold ore resulting in 78,507 troy ounces (2,442 kg) of gold in what was known as the 'gold rush' period.

Today, Welsh gold is scarcer than it has ever been. When mining took place at the Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine in the late 1990s it used to cost over £1000 an ounce to extract.

Consequently, Welsh gold is so rare it is often only used in carefully measured amounts with other gold to produce a shimmering rose hue.

Afon Mawddach near where the Clogau mine is situated


A piece of rock from the Clogau mine containing traces of Welsh gold

Where does Welsh gold come from?

Welsh gold occurs naturally in two distinct areas of Wales.

One area is in North Wales in a band stretching from Barmouth past Dolgellau and up towards Snowdonia. This was mined at several mines, the largest of which were the Gwynfynydd Gold Mine near Ganllwyd and the Clogau Gold Mine near Bontddu.

In South Wales it is found in a small area in the valley of the River Cothi at Dolaucothi where it is known to have been mined by the Romans.

Jewellery such as torcs were worn by early Welsh princes.

Our Welsh Gold Promise

Each piece of Clogau jewellery contains a touch of rare Welsh gold extracted from the Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine. The Clogau mine is situated in one of the most stunning parts of Wales – deep in the heart of Snowdonia. Welsh gold is famous for being selected to create generations of Royal Family wedding rings including those of Her Majesty the Queen, the late Diana Princess of Wales, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Her Highness Princess Margaret Countess of Snowdon, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall and most recently, The Duchess of Cambridge. This has made Clogau Gold some of the most sought after jewellery in the world.

The mine in Bontddu was opened as a copper mine in 1842 and gold was later discovered by accident in 1854 by the director at the time, Mr. Goodman. Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine has gone through mixed fortunes over the last century; the veins of gold are most inconsistent and difficult to locate, results in its eventual closure. This has made Clogau veins extremely rare.

Clogau jewellery is guaranteed to contain rare Clogau Welsh gold mined from the heart of Snowdonia. It carries a unique Welsh Dragon and “CG” mark, stamped during the creation of your beautiful Clogau item. Each piece is crafted using traditional jewellery-making techniques and painstakingly hand-finished to give the lasting pleasure which ensures your Clogau jewellery will remain as special as the day you received it, as it is passed down through generations.


Statement from the Edinburgh Assay Office on the content of Welsh gold in Clogau jewellery

In November 2015 Clogau received the following statement from the Edinburgh Assay Office in a letter headed "Assuring chain of custody when including Welsh gold in jewellery products", this refers to the internal quality systems controlling the content of Welsh gold in Clogau jewellery.

"During 2015 The Edinburgh Assay Office has continued to work closely with Clogau Gold of Wales developing and witnessing their chain of custody for the addition of Welsh gold to their jewellery products. We are satisfied that the quality management process followed by Clogau Gold of Wales provide assurance of the statement “Welsh gold is contained within each piece of Clogau Gold jewellery” by supporting:

• The validity of the source of Welsh Gold used by Clogau Gold of Wales.
• That a pre-determined quantity is being included in the production of all Clogau Gold items.
• That the quantity is consistent across their range of jewellery.
• That verifiable records are being keep to provide a clear audit trail to support these assurances."

- Edinburgh Assay Office, November 2015



Letter from the Edinburgh Assay Office confirming the content of Welsh gold within our jewellery

See PDF version of this letter

The Clogau St. David's Gold Mine

The Clogau Gold Mine (sometimes known as the Clogau St David's Mine) was once the largest and richest mine of all the gold mines in the Dolgellau gold mining area. It is situated in Bontddu, near Barmouth in Gwynedd north-west Wales.

After producing copper and a little lead for quite a number of years, the mine developed into gold production in the 1862 'rush' and continued as a major operator until 1911, during which 165,031 tons of gold ore was mined resulting in 78,507 troy ounces (2,442 kg) of gold.

It worked the St David's lode of Clogau mountain alongside the co-owned Vigra Mine.

Since 1911 the mine has been re-opened several times for smaller-scale operations.

It last closed in 1998. In 1999 the mine was taken over and held by a local exploration company.

In November 2010 the mine was acquired by a new exploration company, who hope to restore the mine to production.

Within every piece of Clogau jewellery is rare Welsh gold from the Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine in Bontddu (“bont-thee”). This is undoubtedly one of the rarest, most expensive and most sought-after gold’s in the world.

During the early 20th century, the Clogau mine was Britain’s largest and richest gold mine producing nearly 2.5 tonnes of gold between 1862 and 1911.

For over 150 years, the mine went through mixed fortunes with the gold veins being most inconsistent and difficult to locate.

By the late 1990’s however, the last train carrying Welsh gold from the Clogau mine clanked to a halt. One of the miners at the Clogau mine once said:

Finding gold in most mines around the work is like finding the cream in a sponge cake.

Finding Welsh gold on the other hand is like finding the sixpence in the biggest Christmas cake you could imagine.

There’s no pattern, no logic, and you never know when you’re just inches away.

Workers at the Clogau mine


Rock samples from the Clogau mine


Entrance to the Clogau mine today

Did you know that Welsh gold has a Royal Heritage?

Welsh gold has been used by Royalty since 1911 when it was used at the investiture of Prince Edward of Wales at Caernarfon Castle. The regalia used (which consisted of a coronet, a rod, a ring, a sword and a robe or mantle with doublet and sash) incorporated pure Welsh gold, identified by the Welsh dragon stamp. The regalia were later re-used at Prince Charles's investiture at Caernarfon Castle, in 1969.

The British Royal Family has been using pure Welsh gold to create their wedding rings since 1923. This tradition was founded by The Queen Mother, then Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, on her marriage to the Duke of York on 26th April, 1923.

Other members of The Royal Family to have Welsh gold wedding rings include Princess Anne (1973), the late Princess Diana (1981), Prince Charles (1981 & 2005) and Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall (2005). Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's very own wedding ring, from her marriage to The Duke of Edinburgh on 20th November 1947, is crafted from a nugget of pure Welsh gold from the Clogau St. David's mine.

The tradition of the British Royal Family using Welsh gold wedding rings was carried into its 88th year during the most recent Royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 29th April, 2011.

It is this very same rare Welsh gold that is contained within each piece of Clogau jewellery, making it some of the most exclusive jewellery in the world. The content of Welsh gold can be identified by the Welsh dragon stamp, and other unique marks that denote a genuine piece of Clogau.


The Gwynfynydd Gold Mine

The Gwynfynydd Gold Mine in Dolgellau closed in January 1999. In January 2007, the BBC and other news organisations reported that the final traces of "economically extractable" gold had been removed from the mines and surrounding spoil. Even the local road surface had been filtered for traces, marking the end of the current mining operation.

Gwynfynydd was discovered in 1860. It was active until 1998 and has produced 45,000+ troy ounces of Welsh gold since 1884.

The Queen was presented with a kilogram ingot of Welsh gold on her 60th birthday (April 1986) from this mine.

In the 1990s the mine was open to the public and provided guided tours which included the opportunity to pan for gold. The mine closed due to health and safety issues and because of changing pollution control legislation which would have made the owners liable for the quality of the mine discharge into the River Mawddach had the mine remained open.

More about the Gwynfynydd Gold Mine

Text reads: "The Gwyn Gold Mine and Rhaiadr Mawddach Falls, Nr. Dolgelley"


A kilo of pure Welsh gold mined from the Gwynfynydd gold mine

How we discovered Welsh gold and how we use it

The Clogau Gold Mine (sometimes known as the Clogau St David's Mine) was once the largest and richest mine of all the gold mines in the Dolgellau gold mining area. It is situated in Bontddu, near Barmouth in Gwynedd north-west Wales.

In 1989, the Clogau St. David’s gold mine was discovered by William Roberts. William wanted to re-open the mine as a tourist attraction, an idea that was overturned by the Snowdonia National Park.

As a result, William decided to gamble on the idea that there would be more gold within the mine. Luckily, there was, and a few years worth of small scale mining began in 1992 where precious rose-coloured gold began to be extracted.

To make the best use of this magnificent gold, William decided to use it to the produce jewellery of the utmost beauty and quality, using the natural beauty and history of Wales as his design inspirations.

The miners who worked the mine were the direct descendants of the original workers who once struck gold at the Clogau Mine in 1854 and mined deep in the 12 miles of caverns insider the Snowdonia hillside.

To begin with just 5 lines of jewellery were created. And so in 1992 Clogau Gold was born.

The precious yellow metal extracted from the Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine is one of the rarest golds in the world. It is included within every piece of Clogau jewellery. Environmentally mined, Clogau separated out the gold using water from the adjacent crystalline streams.

Today Clogau is more beautiful than ever. William and Margaret spent many hours carefully designing these beautiful and collectable pieces along with their full time designers and craftsmen.

With no gold mining taking place in Wales today, Welsh gold supplies will eventually run out, making it possibly the rarest gold in the world. Due to the scarcity of Welsh gold, only a small amount is included within each piece of Clogau. This ensures the longevity of Welsh gold supplies, and the affordability of Clogau’s jewellery.


Bill Roberts at the Clogau mine


Inside the Clogau mine


Ben, Managing Director of Clogau, as a boy at the Clogau mine with his father Bill, now Chairman


Rock from the Clogau mine containing Welsh gold