The London Olympic Gold Medals – are they really gold?

Lots of people have asked me over the past 2 weeks if the Olympic gold medals are actually gold. As they looked quite large and heavy, I figured that they were unlikely to be pure gold but I decided to dig a little further.

As expected it turns out they are not pure gold.  In fact they are mostly silver! According to the London 2012 official website;

-          Each medal weighs between 375 and 400g

-          They measure 85mm in diameter and 7mm thick.

-           The gold medal contains only 1.34% gold and the rest is silver (92.5%) and a little copper.

So if they were made from pure gold how much would they be worth? If the gold medal was pure gold then this would mean that each medal contained between €15,842 and €16,898 worth of gold (at current market prices – AM 13/08/2012) based on the weight being between 375 and 400g.  As there were 302 gold medals presented at the games, it’s easy to see why the games organizers decided to skimp on the gold a little and avoid a whopping €5.1m euro bill.

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