As we head into the Royal Wedding weekend, we are reminded yet again of the integral role that metal plays in all aspects of daily and worldly life. In this case, the royal wedding rings! Traditionally, royal wedding rings are made from Clogau, or Welsh, gold. This tradition dates back to 1923 and the wedding of George VI and Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (the Queen Mother, Harry’s great-grandmother). The royal family had been gifted a nugget of gold from the now-defunct Clogau St David’s mine in North Wales. Along with the Queen Mother’s ring, it was used to make wedding bands for the Queen (1947), Princess Margaret (1960), Anne, Princess Royal (1973) and Diana, Princess of Wales (1981). In 1981, the British Royal Legion presented the Queen with a 36-gram piece of Clogau gold for future wedding rings, which were used for the weddings of Sarah, Duchess of York, the Duchess of Cornwall, and most recently, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
So why all the fuss about this particular gold? The 21-carat Welsh gold contains a higher percentage of pure gold (versus alloys) than the standard 18-carat gold, and as such has a richer, warmer color. It is also slightly softer and more likely to be scratched or marked during everyday wear. The Welsh mine is now exhausted and closed making the gold even rarer and up to five times as costly as other types of gold.
All of the royal rings made using the Clogau gold have traditionally been plain gold bands, and all of the rumors are pointing to Meghan Markle’s ring carrying on the long standing tradition. Will the rumors be confirmed tomorrow?
Writer’s Note: Not that we ever want to reveal our age, but I can remember the excitement I felt waking up at 5:00 AM to tune in to Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding back in 1981 … I may just feel the urge again to catch some of the festivities tomorrow morning! Plan to join me?