Only $250 Worth Of Gold In Rio Olympic Medal
Friday August 05, 2016 09:15
Editor's Note: REFILE – This article was originally published on July 21.
(Kitco News) - The 2016 Summer Olympics are just two weeks away with athletes from all over the world gearing up to compete for the top title: the gold medal.
Surprisingly though, the coveted prize, created by the Brazilian Mint, barely has any gold in it and is almost entirely made of silver.
According to Victor Hugo Criado Berbert, production manager of the Olympic medals at the mint, the medals are only about 1.2% gold.
Speaking with Kitco News Thursday, he said the gold prize is made up of 494g of silver and only 6g of gold. However, to give the medal its lustrous look, Berbert explained that a gold-plated layer was added on top of it at the end of the process.
Meanwhile, the second place medal is made entirely of 92.5% pure silver.
Nearly 100g heavier than the 2012 London Olympic medals, Berbert noted that the 2016 Rio Olympic medals weigh 500g each.
At current prices, with gold trading roughly at $42.80 a gram and silver at $0.63 a gram, the gold medal is worth US$568.02. The silver medal is worth about $315.
However, it is difficult to put a price tag on the intrinsic value of these exclusive sporting awards; not to mention the potential endorsement and sponsorship deals worth millions a lot of the Olympic medalists get post-Olympic games.
The third prize Bronze medal, Berbert continued, contains 475g of 93.7% pure copper and 25g of 3% pure zinc. All three medals are 85mm in diameter, 11mm high in the center and 6mm high on the edges, he added.
Berbert's team, responsible for making the medals, consists of about 100 workers, 80 of which are working around the clock. "Engineers, designers, artists, managers, and 80 people working in shifts 24 hours a day," he said.
Of course, he added, this wasn't an opportunity the Brazilian Mint was going to pass up. "When the country [and Olympic Committee] asked us if we could make them, we said 'the Olympic medal? Let's try it!' he exclaimed.
In total, the Brazilian Mint used almost 172 ounces of gold to create 812 gold medals; at the same time, more than 1.6 tonnes of silver was used in the gold medals and the 812 silver medals made. That amounts to over $228,000 worth of gold and over $1 million worth of silver at current prices.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janieiro, Brazil from August 5 to August 21.