Are the Olympics Gold Medals Really Made of Gold? August 24, 2016 – Posted in: Blog, General

See you in Tokyo!

This was the main message as the world witnessed the entertaining closing ceremony of the RIO Olympics 2016. This event will be cherished for a really long time. At least till we reach Tokyo! However, India’s performance during the Olympics was rather mixed. The entire nation was hoping for close to 6 medals during the event. But we had to satisfy for just two of them – a bronze and a silver. Both of these medals were won by female athletes (Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu). The billion Indians were hoping for one gold medal at least but they had to satisfy with the other metals.

We bet even you were excited for the medals as our athletes performed in the various events. Be it bronze, silver or gold, you would have loved to see more athletes stand on the winner’s podium with these medals around their necks. But do you know why these medals are made of gold, silver and bronze only? Why no other metal is used? Or for that matter, do you know how much do these medals actually cost? Is the gold medal made entirely of gold? Curious to know the answers to these and other interesting facts? Read on!

Why Gold, Silver and Bronze? Why not Iron?

To understand this, we need to go back in time. Metals are found inside the earth and are removed by the process of mining. Many of these metals are found in their mineral forms where the metal is present combined with other minerals and different chemical reactions need to be performed to extract the pure form of the metal. However, three of the metals, gold, silver and copper are found in their pure forms. Gold is found in the purest form, almost without any impurities while silver and copper are found bonded with small oxygen and sulfur atoms. However, humans soon figured out to extract pure silver and copper. Gold and silver is fine but why are we talking about copper? We are talking about copper because bronze is made from copper by adding tiny amounts of zinc to it. Hence gold, silver and bronze is more like gold, silver and copper.

So as humans were able to first extract gold, silver and copper in their purest form, these metals were used first. They were used as money, decorations and also as Olympic medals!

Is the Gold really gold?

No, it is not. Actually, the Gold medal is made of Silver mostly. Actually, there is a plating of gold on top of silver (1.34%). So, our silver medalist, P.V. Sindhu need not be disheartened!

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How much do these medals cost?

Each medal weighs 500 grams. While the Gold medal is a mixture of Silver and Gold, the bronze medal is a mixture of Copper and Zinc. On the contrary, the silver medal is made of pure silver. So the price of these medals will depend on the price of the respective metals. For example, silver and gold price will determine the price of gold medal.

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Gold Medal

Composition: 494g Silver + 6g Gold

Price: $562.62 (Rs: 37751.80)

Silver Medal

Composition: 500g Silver

Price: $315 (Rs: 21136.5)

Bronze Medal

Composition: 475g Copper + 25g Zinc

Price: $2.38 (Rs: 159.698)

You might be thinking, so is this what the fuzz is all about? But very honestly, it is not about the price of the medals. The true pride is in winning the event and making our own nation proud in front of the world. The medal winning moments will surely be among the best moments in the lives of the athletes.


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Cool facts about the design of the current medals

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For the first time, the center of the medal was thicker than the edges

1.The bronze and silver medals were designed using 30% of recycled materials

2.Half the plastic in the ribbons is sourced from recycled plastic bottles

3.The name of the event for which the medal is won is engraved on the edges

4.One side of the medal features an engraved image of Nike, which is the Greek goddess of victory. The background shows the Panathinaiko Stadium and the Acropolis.

5.The other side features Rio 2016 Olympic logo engraved on it, surrounded by laurel leaves in the form of a wreath. The leaves stand for the link between the Olympians and the forces of nature.


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Do you want a medal with your own design on it?

Has all this talking about the medals made you think about owning your own medal? Why not! Have you got a design in mind? If yes, AuGrav with help you realize the dream. Contact the AuGrav team today!

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PS: Team AuGrav wishes heartiest congratulations to Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu for their respective Bronze and Silver medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics. We salute their spirit!

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