Love is golden.
When you think of gold mining, are you picturing the Australian outback or the wilds of Alaska? The fact is, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are home to some of the finest gold around – and you can display it proudly on your ring finger when you choose Jacqueline and Edward for your wedding jewellery.
With its own, rich stories to tell of gold mining, gold rushes of days gone by, mining in modern times and even potential mining to come, the UK might not hold as much gold as the relatively vast reserves of some countries, but it’s certainly out there.
It is this very fact that makes gold from the United Kingdom so desirable – at least to those who are aware it exists.
British Gold, Responsibly Sourced by Jacqueline & Edward
So, when and where did gold mining in the UK begin?
Gold has been mined here in the UK since before the Roman times – and believe it or not, there is much more to say about British gold than can be drafted into a few short paragraphs.
The industry has fascinated us so much, in fact, that it’s the reason we formed Jacqueline & Edward. Read on and be prepared to be enlightened…
Probably the most famous mining operation was Scotland’s very own gold rush back in 1869. The history books remember Robert Nelson Gilchrist – a native of Kildonan, who spent many years out in Australia prospecting for gold.
Upon his return – and with permission from the Duke of Sutherland – this notable historical figure systematically prospected the Helmsdale River and its tributaries, the findings of which sparked a gold rush. This duly brought people from as far as Italy, primarily to the banks of the Kildonan and Suisgill burns, amongst others.
A small mining town was hastily erected at Baille an Or, where 600 miners came and went before it became yet another ghost town. At which point, at midnight on 30 December 1869, the gold rush officially ended.
Crafting Your Gold Wedding Rings: Our Journey
Of course, who can delve into the history of gold mining in the UK and not be fascinated by it? Our co-founder, Mark, certainly was.
He was taught the basics of gold panning 25 years ago by an old timer on the Kildonan Burn – right across from the historic site of Baille an Or.
What started as a curious conversation with a bearded stranger ended two weeks later when Mark and his late father, Edward, held small vials of gold to their chests like paranoid miners in the wild west.
Considering the rarity which is British gold, combined with the sporadic mining activity of past, the team here at Jacqueline & Edward understand that the only sustainable source of gold comes from the rivers of the United Kingdom. It’s here where gold is often deposited in the river year on year, due to natural erosion – and we enjoy nothing more than giving it a new home.
Hard to Find
The gold isn’t present in significant quantities, though. Commercial mines are not required; no scars are left on the landscape and the process of gold panning means low environmental impact.
During his history as a gold prospector, Mark has taken a relatively significant amount of mercury – left there due to historical mining operations – from several rivers. It’s both ecotoxic and bio-accumulative and Mark continues to feel a small sense of pride in bettering the environment around him by removing it from our water courses. Even cooler yet, he is ‘paid’ in gold.
Using this British gold, we enhance our pieces by hand by panning them here in the UK.
Of course, the gold 100% recycled and ethically sourced – and, upon request, it can be geographically tied into your own history and interests.
For Mark and Jacqueline, this is one of their favourite aspects of crafting jewellery as Jacqueline & Edward. Gifting a small part of the family collection as part of their ethical wedding rings, all the pieces are handmade, and all intimately connected to the client – particularly when you choose to get involved in the design process.