Clogau Gold (pronounced “clog-eye”) is a relatively young and dynamic company, yet it’s a company steeped in tradition and history that many other brands would envy.
With a range of over 400 product lines, Clogau Gold has come a long way since the idea was first conceived in 1989 and the eventual launch of five product lines in 1992. Today, Clogau are one of the fastest growing jewellery brands on the UK high street, and we stand proud amongst some of the strongest brands in the industry.
Clogau Gold holds deep ties to Welsh history and steeped in tradition which makes it so unique.
In 1854, the owner of a copper mine accidentally stumbled across glistening yellow pieces from within a piece of waste rock extracted from the mine – the first signs of Welsh gold. From this point on, the mine was no longer to extract copper and instead became the Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine.
The mine actually dated back to the Roman era when it was very first discovered, it later and proved to be one of Wales’s most productive mines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the Welsh ‘Gold Rush’.
This same mine, left abandoned, was later discovered by a Welsh family in 1989. Its founder, William Roberts, intended to open the mine as a tourist attraction. However, this idea was overturned due to strict planning restrictions within the Snowdonia National Park. William then decided to gamble on the idea that there may still be some Welsh gold left within the hills. Luckily, the risk paid off and there was enough gold left to complete a few years worth of small scale mining, beginning in 1992, where small amounts of precious rose-coloured gold was extracted.
William decided to use the extraordinary gold to produce jewellery of the utmost beauty and quality using Wales as the sole design inspiration. And so in 1994, the “Clogau Gold” brand was born with the launch of just five pieces of jewellery.
Due to the scarcity of Welsh gold, and the extraordinary cost associated with mining it – £1,000 per ounce – the decision was made to only include a small amount of the gold in each piece of jewellery. This way, the gold would last as long as possible and the jewellery would be more affordable.
Welsh gold is so precious that a single nugget of it has been used to create wedding rings for generations of the Royal Family, a tradition began by the Queen Mother in 1923. Subsequently The Queen, Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall all had wedding rings made from the same nugget of pure Welsh gold.
The high cost of mining and the diminishing quantities of gold caused the eventual closure of the mine in 1998. As a result of this, our Welsh gold supply will eventually run out making it the rarest gold in the world.
Attempts have been made to make use of the discontinued mine. The idea of re-opening the mine in the hope that there is more gold left is an extremely appealing one, but the cost of doing so would be very expensive – six times as much extracting gold anywhere else. Therefore the future of the Clogau St. David’s mine remains unknown.
The history of the company
The Clogau Gold story so far…
- 1989 Clogau St. David’s Mine acquired by William Roberts
- 1992 Started mining
- 1994 Started producing jewellery
- 1995 Clogau concentrate on direct marketing and national awareness
- 1996 Clogau launches website
- 2006 William & Ben decide to move the production overseas
- 2007 Ben becomes Managing Director
- 2008 Clogau breaks into travel retail sector
- 2009 Shortlisted as a finalist for Welsh Company of the Year in the Chambers of Commerce Business Awards
- 2009 Winner of ‘Excellence in Marketing’ in the Chambers of Commerce Business Awards
- 2009 36th fastest growing company in Wales according to the Insider Growth 100 table
- 2009 Clogau open first Clogau Gold store on the Bridgend Designer Outlet
- 2009/2010 Official licensee for the 2010 Ryder Cup & WRU
- 2010Launched the Clogau Shop-in-Shop and Retailer Web Platform
- 2011International trade grows by 360% following Royal wedding announcement
- 2011 Royal confirmation that Welsh gold will be used for April’s Royal wedding rings
Clogau Gold today
William’s son, Ben, replaced him as Managing Director of Clogau Gold in 2007, making Clogau Gold a true family-run business.
Ben reminisces, “It never fails to amaze me when I think back to the early days of Clogau Gold nearly 20 years ago.I was a young boy back then but I can remember my father being hugely excited about a gold mine he had discovered in the wild Snowdonia mountains. I didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about at the time but as I grew up I would always be inspired by his dedication to do what he really believed in.”
Today, Clogau Gold is one of the fastest growing jewellery brands on the UK high street and stands proud amongst some of the strongest brands in the industry. Clogau Gold sells through multiple channels including independent and multiple jewellery stores, department stores, travel retail in-flight magazines, TV shopping channels, and direct mail. Clogau Gold is available in over 500 outlets in the UK including retailers such as H. Samuel, F Hinds and Goldsmiths and is consistently ranked in the top 2 selling gold and silver brands in the UK.
Clogau has moved on since it first began in 1989 with only 3 employees (who were also miners) to now employing around 40 people to operate its North Wales head office. One thing that hasn’t changed significantly is the design process. Once Ben has an idea for a new piece, it is briefed and sent to one of the many Clogau designers who create an initial design concept. The design is then reproduced using computer-aided design software to send to the manufacturer. The jewellery then has to complete a 7-stage quality control process before it is approved.
Without a doubt, the natural beauty and traditions associated with Wales are the main inspiration behind the jewellery that Clogau Gold produces which is reflected in the popular collections that currently exist in Clogau’s range including the Tree of Life collection, the Milestones collection, the Sessile Oak collection and the Cariad collection.
The future of Clogau Gold
In 2011 Clogau Gold continues to release new and inspiring collections and additional pieces, keeping its customers engaged with the brand. At the beginning of the year Clogau Gold unveiled a more contemporary collection at the annual Spring Fair trade show. As Ben said “The new range is a great reflection of the direction Clogau is moving in. A little more on the contemporary side than previous renowned collections, but still emulating the natural touch that is quintessentially Clogau”.
After growing rapidly in the UK over the past 3 years Clogau Gold is now turning its focus to international markets, particularly those in America and Asia. In a bid to create Clogau Gold as an internationally recognized brand, Clogau Gold plans to further target the travel retail sector while it already sells through British Airways, Virgin and Air Canada flights.
Ben, however, believes that the volatility of the jewellery market including fluctuating gold prices will make the year an ‘interesting’ one.
“As the story of Clogau Gold continues to unfold there’s one thing that will always remain – our dedication and love for permanently capturing this beautiful Welsh gold in the most uniquely beautiful jewellery. That’s what Clogau is all about.” says Ben.