Jeweller delivers Scottish Gold Wedding bands for river panning couple – and Scottish PR agency shares the story of their rare love tokens
A ROMANTIC couple are celebrating their wedding by exchanging rings made from gold they panned from Scottish rivers. David Bond and Maura Kelly spent hours wading through freezing water and sifting gravel to find enough nuggets to make their bands.
Now they have returned to Scotland to have the pair of matching rings made by renowned jeweller Alistir Wood Tait, the foremost expert on Scottish gold. The couple, both geologists who live in Ilkley in West Yorkshire, first caught the gold panning bug during a university field trip near Gleneagles, led by colleague and gold expert, Dr Rob Chapman, last year.
It was then they hit on the idea of panning enough gold to make their wedding rings – and offered to buy beers in exchange for any nuggets their students could find during the expedition to Perthshire last year. However, when the students drew a blank, couple decided to stay on to keep trying – and it was then they came up with their haul of 7.5 grams.
And after lengthy research, they decided Alistir Tait, with his globally-recognised credentials as a jeweller, gemmologist and expert on Scottish precious stones and metals, was the perfect man to create the rings.
From his shop in Edinburgh’s Rose Street, Alistir has now completed the painstaking smelting, pressing and shaping the gold to create a set of stunning rings ahead of the couple’s big day. David, 26, who is a Doctor of Geology at Leeds University, said: “Wedding rings are a very special and unique thing and this is such a great idea because we will always know where our rings came from and that we found the gold together.
“It’s good to know that we will have them for the rest of our lives, and they will always remind us of our time in Scotland.” Maura, 26, an environmental consultant, added: “It was important that, having gone to all the effort to pan the gold in the first place, we were able to find someone who we could trust and knew exactly what they were doing. “Rob knew of Alistir’s expertise and put us in touch with him.
Although he is based in Edinburgh we felt this was important enough to make the effort for and now we are really excited about finally seeing the finished articles.” Alistir said: “I think this is a fantastic thing David and Maura are doing because every time they look at their wedding rings they will know exactly where they have come from as gold is unique to the area where it was found.
“There are not very many goldsmiths who have experience of working with Scottish gold.
It is important to find someone familiar with its many peculiarities because it can be very brittle and unwieldy when it comes straight out of a river. ”It is difficult and painstaking work but the results will be fantastic and I am delighted to be involved in giving David and Maura something they will be able to treasure for the rest of their lives.” The couple’s initial gold hunting expedition last year was a field trip with 20 undergraduates to learn panning techniques. David added: “Rob suggested that we might find enough gold to make our wedding rings, and he should know!
We thought this was a really romantic idea so we told the students what we were hoping to do, split them up into teams to pan various streams and offered to buy them a few pints for any gold they found. “Unfortunately we didn’t manage to find much gold when the students were there but as soon as they left we started finding plenty of gold from which to make the rings. We’re now really keen panners and will be coming back to Scotland after our honeymoon with a new group of students, but we don’t expect to find quite as much gold again!
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