The Jewelry Insider

August 17, 2008

Eight gold medals. It doesn’t get any better than that. For the millions of Americans who stayed up well past our bedtimes to watch Michael Phelps make history, last night’s 4 x 100 relay made it all worth it. And while the miracle of the Olympic experience may be priceless to Michael and his teammates, I was left wondering: What are eight gold medals really worth?

NBC News reports that gold medals are made primarily out of silver. Huh? “According to the Olympic Charter, the gold and silver medals must each be made of at least 92.5 percent pure silver, and the gold medal must be gilded with at least six grams of 24 carat gold.” Six grams of gold at today’s prices is approximately $160. Add that on to the silver, which is only worth about $60 per medal, and you’re talking a $220 take home value at the end of the day.

Ok. That’s a little disappointing. But let’s face it. The true value of a gold medal has to figure in its rarity and – for athletes like Michael Phelps – the moment in history it represents. In other words, he’d get a lot more than $220 on eBay. Congratulations to Michael and the entire Olympic swim team for giving us an amazing nine-day ride. Now we can get some sleep.

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