Welsh Gold

a painting of two women in traditional dress against a mountainous landscape
William Dyce, Welsh Landscape with Two Women Knitting (1860)

Welsh Gold is considered to be among the world’s most sought after and valued gold because of its scarcity and beauty.  It comes from two areas of Wales, one in North Wales, in the areas of Barmouth, Dolgellau and Snowdonia and the other area is in South Wales, in the valley of River Cothi at Dolaucothi. At present, there are only three companies licensed to work with pure unmixed Welsh Gold (one is listed in the links at the bottom of this page).

It currently sells for approximately $1500 ounce.  There are no active gold mines currently in Wales, so all Welsh gold comes from a diminishing supply.  It is illegal to prospect for gold in Wales.

Misconceptions.

There are a number of misconceptions about Welsh Gold.  One is that it is naturally Rose Gold in color.  This is simply due to copper and gold having often been a popular alloy throughout the ages, especially in Britain.  In its natural state, Welsh Gold is either the usual yellow gold color or it can be somewhat whitish as it can be found alloyed with silver in its natural state (this is called electrum). However, I have also read that Welsh Gold used to be naturally alloyed with copper and it is only in recent years that it is always purified so I am not certain of the truth.  Regardless, Welsh Gold is not actually much different in chemical composition from gold from anywhere in the world.  It is perhaps simply the psychological appeal of having gold from Wales that gives it its value.

The other very widely spread misconception is that jewelry commonly sold as ‘Welsh gold’ contains more than a tiny percentage of Welsh gold.  Often it is literally just a touch of Welsh gold and the rest is gold bullion.  Watch out for the words ‘presence of Welsh gold’ and ‘contains Welsh gold’.  A genuinely pure Welsh gold item is very valuable and rare.  In contemporary jewelry, a piece with 10% Welsh gold is about the highest percentage available.

Assay Marks

When only gold of Welsh origin is in the piece, it will have this assay mark (Aur Cymru):

The Aur Cymru stamp is three feathers:

As with other British gold pieces, you will also see:  The Goldsmith Makers Mark, The Assay Standard Hallmark, The Assay Office Mark and The Date Letter.

The Welsh Dragon Mark on a piece means that Welsh Gold is ‘present’ but it doesn’t say by what percentage.

hm-dragon

Other unique marks you will see will be makers marks of Welsh jeweler’s but they do not mean that the gold is purely Welsh gold, only the AC mark will mean that.

Royal Connections.

Since 1923, Welsh Gold has been favored by the British royal family which has consequently enhanced the value of Welsh gold even further.

Kate Middleton wearing her engagement ring

Kate Middleton wearing her Welsh Gold engagement ring.

Sources / further reading:

http://www.clogaugoldmine.co.uk/#

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_gold

http://www.welshgoldplc.co.uk/pages/assayinfo/index.html

http://www.kelvinjenkins.co.uk/WelshGold.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-13196514

http://www.ecouterre.com/kate-middletons-royal-wedding-ring-is-made-from-repurposed-local-welsh-gold/

http://www.wartski.com/

http://americas.visitwales.com/news-and-features/hiraeth-for-beginners/welsh-gold/

http://www.rhiannon.co.uk/

http://www.rhiannon.co.uk/faq

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