With intrigue in Welsh gold growing significantly over recent months, a heritage brand in Wales has invested £20,000 in a rare gold nugget to continue producing its jewellery for years to come.
Trends data has revealed a big increase in searches for ‘Welsh gold jewellery’ in the first half of 2021 – with average search interest up a huge 143% on the same period in 2018*, when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, placing a ring fashioned from Welsh gold on her finger.
Noticing this trend and ongoing popularity, owner of Welsh jewellery firm Clogau, Ben Roberts, has paid £20,000 for a rare gold nugget that weighs less than the average bar of chocolate at just 30.5.g.
Welsh gold, which has a history stretching back at least 2000 years, can currently be valued up to 30 times more than standard world gold. Prized for its scarcity and origin, it has become one of the most sought-after golds in the world.
Ben Roberts, Managing Director of Clogau says, “The first we heard about the golden nugget was through the media. Everyone was so excited about this rare piece; I just knew I had to get into the auction. I tracked it down and made sure I was first in line to make the purchase.”
Sat in a locked safe for over 40 years, the nugget was originally discovered in 1979 by New Zealand-born prospectors Kerry Thackwell and his father Ray during their appraisal, sampling, and mining of the Dolgellau gold belt. But it was put away for safe keeping for four decades before the father son duo decided to take it to action.
Mr Roberts adds, “With Clogau being a family-run business, I’ve been in the industry for as long as I can remember, so I’d like to think I can spot a good opportunity when I see one!
“The jewellery industry has been severely affected by the pandemic. The closure of non-essential stores was a worry, but at Clogau, we focused our efforts on digital e-commerce and made sure we were as responsive as ever to our customers’ needs and wants. As a result, the auction came on the back of one of our best years in terms of sales performance.
“Plus, with no gold mining taking place in Wales today, Welsh gold supplies may eventually run out. So, securing this piece ensures we can continue to produce hand-crafted pieces and future proof the unique experience that makes us who we are.
“Its ongoing popularity and recent surge in interest has further cemented my decision to make the purchase, ensuring it remains in Wales, where it belongs.”
Clogau, a second-generation family business, based in Dolgellau, North Wales, is often referred to as ‘The Gold of Royalty’; famously known for producing custom pieces for the likes of The Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, a tradition that first began in 1923.
Its pieces are seen as an heirloom with both a personal and cultural meaning and a permanent tie to Wales – something valuable to pass down the generations.
“To many, our jewellery signifies a deeper meaning and often hear tales of customers who have visited stores to get their loved ones their first piece, whilst proudly showing our staff the Clogau jewellery they personally received many years before,” concludes Mr Roberts.
“Who knows, we might even be lucky enough to use this nugget to produce jewellery for Princess Charlotte, baby Lillibet and other Royal family members of the future.”