HEAVY MEDAL

London’s Olympic hardware is the biggest and most expensive ever produced.

By Jesse Riseborough

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID SYKES FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

$660

What the gold medal is actually worth. If it were made of pure gold, however, it would be valued at $21,200.

90%

The rise in the price of gold since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The first-place “gold” prize consists of only 1.34% actual gold — a minimum of 6 grams. They’re actually 92.5% silver. (Don’t tell the athletes.)

David Watkins, a professor emeritus of Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalworking, and Jewellery at London’s Royal College of Art, designed them.

The images: “The goddess Nike for the spirit and tradition of the games,” says Watkins, “and the River Thames for the city of London.”

$3

Value of the bronze medal. It’s 97% copper. The rest is zinc and tin.

Almost 1 lb.

The medals weigh 375 to 400 grams (between .8 and .9 pounds).

The Olympic trophies measure 85 millimeters across (nearly 3½ inches) and are 7mm thick (a quarter inch).

The ribbons are purple — the royal color — because 2012 is the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The metals were mined by London’s Rio Tinto and processed by Cookson Precious Metals, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

The metals’ mining provenance: the Kennecott Utah copper operation in Salt Lake City, and the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

8 Tons

Amount of gold, silver, and copper used to make the 4,700 medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

$325

What the silver medal is actually worth. It’s fashioned from 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

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