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What is the World Cup Made of?

After many nail biting nights and surprising upsets, the 2014 World Cup is finally over. The German team took home the championship trophy – which we definitely had our eye on. What precious metals are in the World Cup trophy? Well, that all depends on which one, since there are three types.

From 1930 (the advent of the World Cup) to 1970, FIFA used the Jules Rimet trophy – named after a former FIFA president. When it was first cast, the trophy was made of gold-plated sterling silver with a marble base. In 1958, the marble base was replaced with one made of lapis lazuli – a gemstone known for its deep blue color. According to a regulation stipulated by Jules Rimet himself, any team that won the World Cup three times could keep the trophy permanently. The Brazilian team earned the honor with their third victory in 1970, requiring FIFA to create a new trophy.

The new trophy, known simply as the “FIFA World Cup Trophy,” is made of about 11 pounds worth of 18kt gold (un-plated) with a base made of malachite – a copper carbonate mineral with a distinct green hue. Contrary to appearances, the trophy is hollow. If it were solid 18kt gold, it would be too heavy to lift.

The German team won the World Cup for the third time this year, but that doesn’t mean they get to keep the trophy. FIFA changed that rule, likely because Brazil’s trophy was stolen in 1983. The thieves were never caught, and the trophy is presumed destroyed. Now, winners of the tournament receive a gold-plated bronze replica of the trophy.

Of the three, the FIFA World Cup Trophy contains the most gold. If it were to suffer the alleged fate of the Rimet trophy and be melted down, it would be worth about $150,000 according to today’s gold prices.

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