It is often suggested that Princess Diana’s engagement ring was made from Welsh Gold.
This is not the case; it was her wedding band that was made from Welsh gold – in fact made from the same gold nugget that has been used since 1923.
Princess Diana’s famous blue sapphire and white diamond engagement ring was actually made from white gold.
The tradition of using Welsh gold for Royal weddings began with the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth of England’s mother) who used Welsh gold for the rings for her own wedding to George – later George the 6th.
Since then, most Royal weddings have had rings made out of the same Welsh gold nugget. These were: Queen Elizabeth of England in 1947 at her marriage to Prince Philip; Princess Margaret in 1960 to the Lord Snowdon; Princess Anne in 1973 to Captain Mark Philips; and then Diana, Lady Diana Spencer as she then was, the future Princess of Wales to Prince Charles in 1981.
All these wedding rings were made from the same nugget.
The gold came from North Wales, from the Clogau St David’s mine at Bontddu. Unfortunately, there is little left of the original nugget left and it looked as if Diana’s wedding would be the last wedding to follow this tradition.
However, in November 1981, the British Royal Legion presented Queen Elizabeth with a 36 gram piece of 21 carat Welsh gold for future royal wedding rings.
Part of this gold went into making Sarah, Duchess of York’s ring in 1986 and the wedding rings of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were also crafted from this precious material.
The Clogau St David’s mine dates back to Roman times but it was only in the 19th century that what was thought to be a copper mine yielded gold. Welsh gold has copper tones which makes it far more valuable than gold from South Africa. In recent years, the mine has had a difficult time and had to be shut down in 1998. A number of contributing factors led to the closure of the mine in 1998. 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.
Although the mine is no longer operational, there are hopes that it will open up again – possibly to supply the demand fro Welsh gold, if the wedding of William and Kate creates a trend for this rare material.
For more information about the Clogau gold mine: