When Meghan Markle continued the 95-year-old royal tradition of having her wedding band made from rare Welsh gold, she gave a boost to a family-owned business that specializes in creating jewelry from North Wales. At a time when the retail business has been hammered by pressures from online shopping and changes in lifestyle, Clogau has announced plans to open four new stores. The expansion was already in the pipeline when Meghan married Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel, in Windsor Castle in May. But a spokeswoman adds that there is no doubt that recognition for Welsh gold has grown since Cleave and Company used Welsh gold, gifted to the couple by Queen Elizabeth, to make Meghan’s ring.
The “Meghan Effect” has also extended to the company behind the designer jeans she wore when she visited Cardiff in January. When Meghan slipped on the pair of jeans from Hiut Denim Company, a boutique jeans brand from Wales, it catapulted the label into global stardom overnight.
The tradition of using Welsh gold for royal wedding rings began in 1923, when Queen Elizabeth’s late mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, used gold from Clogau St. David’s mine in Bontddu, Gwynedd. It was created from a donation of a nugget of gold given to the royal family in 1923. Princess Diana also had Welsh gold in her wedding band, as did Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Clogau, probably the best-known brand that uses Welsh gold, says they will open four shops in Swansea, Llandudno and Bangor in Wales in October. They are also expanding their store at Cheshire Oaks, near Chester, over the border in England. They hope to create up to 30 jobs.