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What are Olympic Gold Medals Made of?

What are Olympic Gold Medals Made of?

Olympics have been around for thousands of years. Started by the Greeks in Olympia, Greece, back in 773 BC, the modern-day Olympics restarted in 1896 after Baron Pierre de Coubertin was tabled the idea in 1894.

Winners of the Olympics were given different awards back in ancient times, like olive branches as rewards. Since the inception of the modern Olympics, gold, silver, and bronze medals have been awarded to the top 3 athletes in their respective sports.

History of the Medals

Since 1896, the winners have been awarded medals made of pure gold, silver, and bronze. The medals made of pure gold are estimated to be worth 13,000 US dollars today.

Considering how 1,700 or so gold medals are awarded in every summer Olympics, the cost of the medals exceeded 22 million dollars, which is very expensive. Hence, a decision was made after the canceled 1916 Olympics to change the specifications of the medals.

a gold medal

Modern Day Medals

Modern-day gold medals are not made of gold. There’s only a little over 6 percent gold in them. The rest is silver. According to law, a gold medal must contain at least 92.5 percent silver and 6 percent gold and is valued at modern-day 800 US dollars.

Modern-day gold medals are at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm in thickness. They weigh around 550 grams. The medals must contain a number of specific designs and features. Apart from that, the host country has the right to modify the medals to their liking.

Apart from gold medals, silver medals are made almost entirely of gold, while the bronze medals are made of copper and tin, with bronze plating.

In Tokyo Olympics, Japan announced that it would make the medals for this year’s Olympics by using recycled metals. They collected small electronic devices, including smartphones, from citizens and recycled the metals to produce all the medals awarded at the event. The citizens also participated in designing the medal, as the government asked them to submit their designs for the medals.

Finding out the real materials gold medals are made of comes as a real surprise to many people. The medals might not be made of pure gold, but our precious metals are as pure as they get. At Orion Metal Exchange, you can get pure gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bullions. Moreover, you can also open a gold and silver IRA. Contact us now to know more.

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