Congratulations! You Just Won an Olympic Gold-Toned Medal Made of Base Metal

Have you been watching the Olympics? Are you filled with excitement whenever your favorite athletes climb to the top spot on the prizewinners’ stand to receive their gold medals? It’s a true crowning achievement in the lives of those elite competitors. How many people, after all, earn the most important awards in their professions? How many people work that hard for years and then see their labor repaid in such a visible way?

Yes, it is thrilling, and we’re not taking anything away from those athletes when we point out that the gold medals that will be awarded at the Olympics this year will not be made of solid gold. The medals will, in fact, be silver slugs covered with a microscopically thin layer of gold. That’s okay, right? After all, we’re talking about a symbolic award that those athletes will cherish for their entire lives, not take at once to a precious metals refinery to be melted down.

The Rio 2016 Silver, Gold and Bronze medals. Credit: Rio2016/Alex Ferro.

The Rio 2016 Silver, Gold and Bronze medals. Credit: Rio2016/Alex Ferro.

But it does lead us to a practical question…

How can you estimate the value of gold-plated items?

The simple answer to that question is, there is no way determine the value so without using a qualified testing facility like Specialty Metals. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • You cannot tell how thick the gold plating is. It could be microscopically thin – applied by electroplating using sputtering targets – or it could be thicker. It takes a qualified testing lab to find out.
  • You have no way to know what the core of the medal is made of. You can do a test with an inexpensive gold testing kit that uses fluids and a stone to determine the karat rating of the gold plating that is on the outside. Those kits, however, cannot tell you the thickness of that plating or help you calculate the total weight of the gold that your medal contains.
  • The dollar value of your medal also depends on the kind of metal that makes up the core. The core could be made of almost anything, ranging from sterling silver to various alloys that contain copper or other metals. The makeup of the core has a lot to do with the overall value of your piece.

Have a Medal to Be Tested? Call Us at 800-426-2344 Today

We can conduct a few simple tests in our lab and let you know exactly what you have…and what it is worth. And by the way, our tests will not damage your piece, because we are pros with years of experience safely testing precious metal items of all kinds.

Give us a call – and then kick back and enjoy the rest of the Olympics.

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