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

By Jesse Riseborough



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


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.”


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.


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


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