Royal Wedding Rings: The history behind the rare gold Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could use (Exclusive)

Now that the world has seen Meghan Markle's stunning diamond engagement ring, designed by Prince Harry himself, the next piece of jewelry on everyone's minds is the 36-year-old former Suits star's upcoming wedding band.

But will Markle and Prince Harry keep with the royal family's tradition? The Windsor family has used Clogau gold from the Clogau St. David's Mine in Wales since the early 1900s. The gold has been present in the wedding rings of the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, the late Princess Diana, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Kate Middleton.

Meghan Markle's engagement ring
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"I anticipate that it was initially used by the royal family because the mine itself, the Clogau St. David's Mine, was the most productive mine in the whole of the country and it still remains in the Guinness Book of World Records for that reason," Clogau Managing Director Ben Roberts tells ET. "And, of course, the royals were looking for any gold that they could use from the country, so it would have been a natural selection."

The mine has since been declared "exhausted," meaning it's difficult to mine gold from there. This makes this unique Welsh gold incredibly rare and expensive.

Related: Royal rocks

Royal engagement rings
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Royal engagement rings
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier
Prince Rainier III of Monaco announced their engagement in January 1956. The royal proposed to the actress with a stunning Cartier eternity band. 
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier
The 10.5-carat diamond, surrounded by two baguettes was the second ring given by Prince Rainier. The first ring was a simple eternity band embellished with diamonds and rubies.  
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel

Daniel Westling and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden announced their engagement on February 24, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel
The simple and single solitaire was a break from the traditional gold bands many brides sport in Sweden. However, on her wedding day, Victoria was presented with an additional diamond wedding band. 
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Prince Philip proposed in 1947 with a simple 3-carat solitaire surrounded by 5 diamonds on each side. 
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
The ring featured diamonds taken from the tiara of Philip's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. It was reportedly far too large for Elizabeth, who had it resized quickly to announce her engagement. 
Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer announced their engagement in London on Feb. 24, 1981. He proposed with a 12-carat blue sapphire ring that was surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds, made by famed jewelers Garrad. 

It cost $36,000 to make at the time. 

Prince William and Duchess Kate
In 2010, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with the same ring.
Prince William and Duchess Kate

The blue sapphire and diamond ring is reportedly worth $500,000 today. 

King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia
Crown Prince Felipe of Spain proposed to Letizia Ortiz on November 6, 2003. 
King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia

The non-traditional eternity band featured 16 diamond baguettes and a white gold trim. It was designed by Suarez jewelers.

After the wedding, Letizia swapped the ring for a simpler band. 

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia
Swedish Prince Carl Philip announced his engagement to Sofia in 2014 after four years of dating. He proposed with an 'unusual' ring that estimated over £10,073. 
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia
The center stone is surrounded by a halo and features two split diamond eternity bands. 
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

Netherland's Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander got engaged in 2001 after two years of dating. The ring features an unusual color and shape. 

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

The oval-shaped orange diamond is surrounded by two additional teardrop diamonds. The color is symbolic of the color of the Netherlands. 

Experts valued the stone anywhere from £15,000 and £150,000, says The Daily Mail

Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York
Prince Andrew, youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, proposed to Sarah Ferguson in 1986 with a ring by the same designer as Princess Diana's ring. The two had reportedly known each other since they were young children but divorced in 1996. 
Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York

The Duke proposed with an unusual ring -- an oval Burmese ruby flanked by ten diamonds arranged in a floral shape. The ring sits on a thin yellow and white band.

Ferguson's ring reportedly set the trend for ruby engagement rings throughout Britain. 

Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene
Prince Albert of Monaco proposed to Princess Charlene in 2010 with a stunning cut valued at over £50,000.
Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene
The 3-carat pear-shaped ring was designed by jewelers Maison Repossi and is embellished on both sides with white diamonds. 

"We've generally been paying anywhere between six to 10 times the value of gold, so you could see that there's an obvious premium there," Roberts explains. "But recently an auction up here in North Wales for two ounces of Welsh gold went for 30 times its gold value. So if you're paying that for normal gold, say, from South Africa or Russia or recycled gold for example, you'd be paying approximately £2,000 but this went for close to £40,000, just in its raw form and in small nuggets."

Kate Middleton's wedding ring
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The royal family has a reserve of Clogau gold and it is unknown how much they have left. The Welsh gold has a pink tint to it and most of the living members of the immediate royal family have used it in their wedding bands with one exception.

"It was always in the husband and wives' rings. William was the first to break with that tradition going just for the wife," he says of the Duke of Cambridge. "He doesn't wear one himself."

So if Meghan and Harry decide to go with the Clogau gold, what will their bands look like?

Prince William and Kate Middleton
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"[The royals] tend to go for a very deep 18 carat look, usually very plain. So it's usually very gold and very plain," Roberts explains.

And similar bands are available to the public as Clogau has their own "Windsor" line of wedding bands. They range in price from £360 to £2,200, which is about $480 to around $3,000.

As for Markle's engagement ring, the one-of-a-kind piece features two diamonds from Princess Diana's personal collection in addition to a central diamond from Botswana.

And while the Clogau rings are a tradition in the Windsor family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might already be breaking from tradition with their wedding cake. The former royal chef, Darren McGrady, told ET, "This could be the very first time where they break with tradition and don't have a traditional fruitcake."

Watch the clip below to see how the couple is preparing for the big day!


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