Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.
When we think of gold mining we conjure up images of the Australian outback or the wilds of Alaska, never do we think of Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Truth be known, the United Kingdom has it’s own stories to tell of gold mining; gold rushes of days gone by, mining in modern times and even potential mining to come. There isn’t a lot of gold here compared to the relatively vast reserves of some countries, but it is out there. It is this very fact that makes gold from the United Kingdom so desired, at least to those who are aware it exists.
Gold has been mined in the UK since before the Roman Times and there is more to say about British gold than can be drafted into a few short paragraphs. Probably the most famous mining operation was Scotland’s very own gold rush in the year 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 historical figure systematically prospected the Helmsdale River and it’s tributaries, the findings of which sparked a gold rush which 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 midnight on 30 December, 1869 at which point the gold rush officially ended. I 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 with my father and I holding small vials of gold to our chests like paranoid miners in the wild west.
Considering the rarity which is British gold, combined with the sporadic mining activity of past, Jacqueline & Edward understand that the only sustainable source of gold is from the rivers of the United Kingdom, where gold is often deposited in the river year on year, due to natural erosion. The gold is not present in significant quantities, however commercial mines are not required, no scars are left on the landscape and the process of gold panning is very low impact environmentally. During my history as a gold prospector, I have taken a relatively significant amount of mercury out of a number of rivers which was left there due to historical mining operations. Mercury is both ecotoxic and bio-accumulative and I feel a small sense of pride in bettering the environment around me by removing this from our water courses. Possibly even cooler, I am paid in gold…
The idea that not only is the British gold we enhance our pieces with hand panned within the UK and added to 100% recycled ethical gold, but upon request can often be geographically tied into the history or interests of a Client. This is one of my favourite aspects of Jacqueline & Edward; we gift a small part of the family collection within our ethical wedding rings. All our pieces are not only hand made, but have a story which is intimately connected to the Client, no more so than when the Client also becomes involved in the design process.