Handmade Gold Wedding Rings Yorskhire UK and Global
We offer free advice over the phone on +44 07792 171 847 alternatively you can send a message via our Contact Form.
Our clients are worldwide, we offer a global shipping service, as well UK Nationwide. We are based in Wetherby, Yorkshire and regularly travel throughout the United Kingdom’s waterways to pan for local gold. At present we offer Welsh Gold wedding rings and gold panned in Scotland.
Bespoke Commission Gold Wedding Rings
Mark’s passion and skills are easy to identify and when you read his journey you’ll understand in an instant. We’ve got so much family and company history we thought we’d share a Q&A session with the company Goldsmith Mark Bell.
“First of all I would like to ask you about where your love for geology, and specifically gold and gold panning began?”
Many years ago when I was a young child, my father Edward and I used to travel around Scotland during weekends and holidays in an old campervan. Well, we did it until one day we drove over the bridge which crosses the Kildonan burn way up near Helmsdale.
The Old Timer
There he spotted an ‘old timer’ working the burn… cowboy hat, shovel and all. He ejected me from the campervan at high speed to see what he was up to, and when the bearded wildman offered to teach us how to find gold in the river my father put the campervan into park, turned off the engine and did not move for the next two weeks. That was over 30 years ago.
The Geology of Scotland and Panning for Rare Gold
We both became immediately spellbound with gold, the mountains, eating cold beans out of a tin, fighting the midges, working hard, staying up around the campfire, wondering about life’s mysteries and more importantly… the mystery of where the gold was hiding. That very question spawned my interest in geology when i was very young and eventually led me to undertake a couple of degrees in the subject. Studying geology and looking for gold also helps to keep the memory of my father alive, after whom I named one half of the business…. the other being my amazing wife Jacqueline, who is integral to the entire thing…. absolutely integral.
“Did you always plan to use the gold that you found to make jewellery?”
No…. I did not imagine in a million years that I would become a ring maker. For many years I looked for gold as a way to adventure with my father and spend time with those I love. However in more recent years it felt like destiny that ring making, camping in the wilds, finding natural gold, designing, creating and using recycled materials.. which fits perfectly with my ethical standards should come together to create Jacqueline & Edward. Since then I have not looked back.
“If you didn’t have the jewellery side to the business, would you still go gold panning? Is it that kind of passion or is it more motivated by the business side of things?”
Absolutely. I still pan for pleasure because the gold I use is donated from our historical family collection as a gift to those who choose to work with us and opt for an ethical choice in wedding rings.
It is hard to explain why panning is so pleasurable. The moment you hit the road to head north, south or west… the whole world slips away and soon enough you are surrounding only by nature. It can be warm and calm or wild and relentless… it doesn’t matter… it connects with something primitive within us. Combine that WITH working to exhaustion and then finding a little of that yellow metal in the bottom of your pan before lying back on the bank of the river and looking up at the starts and… yes….. I will always be in the mountains as often as I can and within them I will always look for gold.
Also, even without Jacqueline & Edward I would always make rings and other interesting small projects. I love to design, to create, to work with my hands… to turn molten metal which was once something else into a material expression of MY imagination. I am passionate about both ring making and gold panning. The business is a bonus!
“With regard to the gold panning itself, is there a special technique to it? Is it an easy technique to master?”
I could tell you, but I would have to kill you -.No seriously, there are many techniques depending on the pan you use. Some are easy to master and some take a while. Everyone is capable of becoming a panner, but it is not for everyone. To become a master at the art … that takes many years.
Finally, I would like to ask you about how the process of gold panning makes you feel, and the achievement of finding this ‘treasure’?
Panning is food for the soul. Time spent panning has created some of my best memories alone, with family and with friends. There is a great sense of achievement when you find it. It can take hours to find that first colour on a difficult river and there is nothing quite like the sight of it in the bottom of a pan, especially when framed amongst the black of magnetite and the red of garnet…. the very heavies on the Kildonan burn where this all started. The real treasures though are the memories and I am lucky enough to have many and hope to create many more.
I’ve been panning and prospecting for gold since I was a young boy. It was my first love. Inspired by a fateful moment driving with my father over Kildonan Bridge in the wilds of northeast Scotland, I spent the next two weeks standing waist deep in a watery hole panning for gold. At the time I loved every minute, but had no idea that those two weeks would shape all the years to come. I wonder if that weather beaten old timer, when he shared his wisdom knew the effects our brief encounter would have on my entire life.
The river and its treasures have shaped most of my past from the friends I have made, the memories that I cherish, the education I have pursued to the wedding ring I wear on my finger. People often can’t understand that I need the exploration of gold to feed my soul as much as I need the consumption of food to feed my body.
The work required to extract a tangible amount of gold without mining the hills themselves often surprises. I have spent whole days finding nothing though typically not in my latter years, but then again, other days I have been rewarded well for the hours of work, the aching muscles, bracing the merciless weather of winter and the relentless midges of Summer. Even on the days a river has given nothing, anyone who loves nature will understand it never leaves you empty handed.
When I walk up the bank of a river, it tells a story. The language the river uses to tell its tale is at first foreign and unintelligible, yet enchanting and enticing. The more you listen, the more you understand. 25 years on and we are old friends speaking easily to one another the way only old friends can. As with old friends, at least the interesting ones, they still surprise you. I’ve forged similar relationships with the geomorphology of the land, the solid and drift deposits underfoot and the elements which surround me.
Chemical Properties of British Gold and Silver
Gold is dense and it is inert, malleable yet strong, always unique and beautiful, whilst being stubborn, surprising and evasive. They say if you hold a grain of natural gold in the palm of your hand and let the sun’s rays fall upon it, then gold fever works into your soul from the light reflected from its surface upon your skin. To further learn about the rarity which is British gold and silver, click here.
In more recent years I found another love, which should never have surprised me considering I have always loved art. It was when I spent time helping to make my wedding rings with an old friend in Scotland many moons ago that I was inspired to progress my art into three dimensions and the medium of metal. From this time forwards I have trained and practised as a gold and silversmith, having recently found a source of natural silver in Scotland to add to my work. It made sense to bring these two loves together as Jacqueline & Edward.
Bespoke Wedding Ring Creation – Gold and Silver Provenance
When making wedding rings, I forge both rings from one molten bead of gold and if at all possible, I will include gold or silver from an area within the UK which has meaning to the couple, so please do drop me an email if you have potential preferences to the metals origin. The rings will come with a certificate of provenance showing the origins of the gold found and be hallmarked with my company emblem to guarantee authenticity. Being a trained geologist and avid gold prospector means that the first step of producing a piece, is sometimes the exploration for the gold itself. For example, the gold in my wedding rings, comes from the first river I ever prospected away from the beaten track of the old timers.
Whilst progressing this element of my life, I took the time to become a chartered member of the Institute of Water and Environmental Management and a chartered Environmentalist
I believe my qualifications should reflect my beliefs that the recovery of precious metals should, and can, be undertaken sustainably in a manner which does not harm the environment. Many times I have found myself removing mercury from rivers, the presence of which is a stark reminder of how mining can damage the river ecosystem. Besides the moral satisfaction of bettering the world around me, I get paid for my endeavours with gold, surely it can’t get better than that.
The sustainable nature of my jewellery is further embraced by using Eco gold and silver in all my work, which is 100% recycled from the world around us. There is no large scale destruction of the natural world, simply the re-use of existing materials moving with as much grace as can be afforded from one form into the next.
I hope you enjoy my ethos as I am sure I will enjoy crafting your piece.
Mark Bell – Head Goldsmith